The primary or central mission of the African and African American Studies program is academic. It serves those students interested in acquiring a more intellectually holistic understanding of the cultural contributions and historical legacies of peoples of predominantly African ancestry. This is done using an interdisciplinary approach whereby students engage in critical thinking across the spectrum of various disciplines such as history, literature, music, psychology, environmental studies, women’s studies, peace and social justice etc. A major component of our mission is to teach and encourage students how to critique the world from the perspective and world view of Africana (“Black”) peoples. This allows for greater clarity in properly assessing the impact Africana peoples have had upon countless aspects of the collective human experience.
The African and African American Studies major teaches students how to:
- identify, study, and clarify African contributions to human history;
- analyze and describe/express the various conditions that have impacted upon and influenced both the individual and collective development of African peoples; and
- identify solutions as well as actions, which free all peoples from any socialized notions of inherent inferiority predicated on the basis of their African ancestry.
The minor in African and African American Studies is intended to supplement the student’s academic major with a scholarly understanding of African Diasporic history, social and political life, economics, culture, and art. This minor program also addresses issues and topics pertaining to the physical and psychological health of the African Diaspora. The program seeks to provide students with clear, culturally based knowledge about African Diasporic communities throughout the world. This includes not only the African continent, but the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, and even Asia. The program is interdisciplinary and fits within the framework of a liberal-arts education.
Why Study African and African American Studies?
African and African American Studies is multidisciplinary. It focuses globally on the life, culture, and social organization of persons of African descent in Africa, North America, Latin America, Caribbean, etc.; thus, anywhere peoples of the African Diaspora find themselves. Courses in African and African American Studies will engage students as they seek to learn about society in general and the experiences of the African Diaspora in particular.