African, African American, Diaspora Studies

As a field of inquiry, African, African American, diaspora studies examines the experiences of people of African descent in the United States, Africa and the Caribbean, as well as in Latin America, Europe and Asia. The program allows students and faculty to explore the range of interrelated cultures, histories, art, and intellectual contributions of Africans and people of African descent throughout the diaspora.

The faculty also views participation in co-curricular activities (student and faculty colloquia, guest lectures, campus projects) as vital to the development of students as responsible citizens of the college community and the world. The interdisciplinary program in African, African American, diaspora studies is an essential component of the college’s mission to enable students to understand and participate in shaping the multicultural, interdependent world of which they are a part. It encourages students to complement classroom learning with study, research and internship opportunities abroad and in the United States.

Major Requirements

African, African American, Diaspora Studies major worksheet (pdf)

The major in African, African American, diaspora studies consists of 10 courses. At least one course from each of the five areas listed below must be taken, along with two courses that focus on the continent of Africa and are marked with an asterisk. AFDS 103 Introduction to African, African American, Diaspora Studies and AFDS 201, Witnessing Contemporary African Society* are recommended but not required. Three 300-level courses must be taken, one of which can be a capstone course or project. The final requirement is to complete a capstone project. Capstone projects may involve study abroad and/or independent study work. Please speak with the coordinator to discuss possible capstone projects.

Area A: Art History and Music

ARTH 212 African Visual Cultures*
ARTH 263 African American Art
ARTH 312 Contemporary African Arts*
ARTH 334 Exhibiting Africa: Past and Present*
MUSC 204 Innovative Music Traditions of Trinidad and Tobago
MUSC 212 World Music: Africa and the Americas*
MUSC 215 Jazz Theory
MUSC 222 West African Mande Dance and Music*
MUSC 224 Music of the Caribbean Basin: A Continent of Islands
MUSC 262 Vernacular Dance in America
MUSC 272 African American Originals I: Spirituals, Blues and All That Jazz*
MUSC 275 A History of Popular Music in the U.S.A.

Area B: Anthropology, Psychology and Sociology

ANTH 210 Feast or Famine: The Ecology and Politics of Food
ANTH 215 Tanzania: Education and Development*
ANTH 225 Peoples and Cultures of Africa*
ANTH 226 Anthropology of Art
ANTH 230 Language and Culture
ANTH 235 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America
ANTH 240 Urban Anthropology
ANTH 255 Gender in Africa*
PSY 251 Multicultural Psychology
PSY 328 Psychology and Law
SOC 230 Race and Ethnicity
SOC 240 Conflict and Genocide
SOC 260 Gender Inequality
SOC 285 Latino Community

Area C: Economics and Political Science

ECON 222 Economics of Race and Racism
ECON 241 Women in United States Economy
ECON 252 Urban Economics
ECON 298 African Economic Development*
ECON 305 International Finance
ECON 306 International Trade
POLS 201 Contemporary Urban Politics
POLS 203 African Politics*
POLS 333 Popular Movements and Religious Sentiment in the Americas

Area D: Literature

ENG 209 African American Literature and Culture
ENG 235 Empire, Race and the Victorians
ENG 245 Childhood in African Fiction*
ENG 250/FNMS 250 Film History I: Cinema to 1940
ENG 256 The Novel in Multi-Ethnic America
ENG 257 Race and Racism in United States Cinema
ENG 347 The Mothership has Landed: Black Speculative Fiction
ENG 349 Harlem Renaissance and Modernity
FR 235 Postcolonial Encounters
FR 331 Other Voices, Other Stories: Great Works by Women from France and the Francophone World

Area E: History

HIST 143 Africans on Africa: A Survey*
HIST 201 North American Colonial History
HIST 209 African American History to 1877
HIST 210 African American History: 1877 to the Present
HIST 213 The History of the Civil Rights Movement
HIST 337 Power and Protest in the United States
HIST 338 United States Labor History
WGS 315 Black Feminist Theory

Courses in other departments:

REL 102 Introduction to the Study of World Religions
REL 180 #BlackLivesMatter, Religion and Politics
REL 357 Indigenous Religions

*Courses that focus on the continent of Africa.

For more information, contact Fall 2018 James A. Freeman, Spring 2019 Dolita Cathcart, coordinator(s).


Minor Requirements

African, African American, Diaspora Studies minor worksheet

The minor in African, African American, Diaspora Studies consists of five courses, including at least one course that focuses on the continent of Africa and a 300-level course. The remaining courses may be taken from any of the five areas listed in the major requirements. AFDS 103 Introduction to African, African American, Diaspora Studies  and AFDS 201 Witnessing Contemporary African Society* are recommended but not required.

Matthew Allen

Professor of Music

John Bezis-Selfa

Associate Professor of History; Chair of the History Department

Claire Buck

Professor of English; Coordinator, Women's & Gender Studies

Dolita Cathcart

Associate Professor of History

Shawn Christian

Associate Professor

R. Tripp Evans

Professor of the History of Art

Peony Fhagen

Associate Professor of Psychology; Associate Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development

James Freeman

Associate Professor of Economics, Coordinator for African, African American, Diaspora Studies

Gerard Huiskamp

Professor of Political Science

Donna O. Kerner

Professor of Anthropology; William Isaac Cole Professor of Anthropology

Kim Miller

Jane Oxford Keiter '64 Professor of Women's & Gender Studies and History of Art; Women's & Gender Studies Program Coordinator; Peace & Social Justice Studies Coordinator

Leah Niederstadt

Associate Professor of Museum Studies, History of Art; Curator of the Permanent Collection

Julie Searles

Instructor of Music, Director of World Dance

Ann Sears

Professor of Music; Chair, Music Department

Jonathan David Walsh

Professor of French Studies