The undergraduate major in African American Studies is designed to provide students with a solid disciplinary understanding of African American Studies and critical interdisciplinary scholarship.

The major features three distinctive areas of curricular emphasis:

  1. Arts, Aesthetics, and Expressive Culture focuses on the forms, frames, theories, and traditions of African American and African diasporic artistic and cultural productions;
  2. Ethics, Politics, and Society focuses on the normative, ideological, and institutional dimensions that form and inform experiences and expressions of individual and collective life of African Americans and of people of African descent in the diaspora; and
  3. History, Culture, and Theory focuses on the intellectual, material and theoretical expressions and (self) representations of the experiences of people of African descent in the United States and in the diaspora across space and time.

This curricular feature offers students the opportunity to develop distinct competence in a particular area of concentration in African American Studies.

The African American Studies Atelier is the capstone experience for African American Studies majors. The Atelier enables African American Studies majors to develop a significant capstone project. The Atelier brings together students, faculty, artists, writers, and activists to create new knowledge grounded in the critical and comprehensive study of African and African diasporic peoples, cultures, and ideas across space and time. The Atelier is also a space for faculty to rethink their conception and approach to their research and teaching in a unique space underwritten by an ethics of community, creativity, and collaboration.

African American Studies, B.A. Requirements

Requires a minimum of 30 hours in the major.
Core Courses (12 Credits)

Course NumberCourse Name
AAS 100Introduction to African American Studies
AAS 200Theories and Methods in African American Studies
One course which substantially engages slavery and race in the making of the modern world
AAS 399African American Studies Atelier
Select at least three courses from among the following areas (at the 200 or 300 level) (9 Credits)
I. Arts, Aesthetics, and Expressive Culture
II. Ethics, Politics, and Society
III. History, Culture, and Theory
Select nine hours of electives (9 Credits)

I. Arts, Aesthetics, and Expressive Culture

Course NumberCourse NameCredit
AAS 207Black Popular Culture3
AAS 220African American Cultural Criticism3
AAS 294Black Art in the US and Great Britain since 19453
AAS 370Special Topics in Arts, Aesthetics, and Expressive Cultures in African American 3 Studies3
HMN 223African and Caribbean Literature3
ENG 301Individual Authors (when topic is Toni Morrison)3
ENG 302Ideas in Literature (when topic is Black is Beautiful: African American Poetics 3 and Aesthetics 1919-2019)3
ENG 356Literature of the Caribbean3
ENG 381Studies in African-American Literature (when topic is appropriate)3
ENG 387African-American Fiction (when topic is appropriate)3
ENG 389African-American Poetry3
REL 376Race, Religion, and Film3
THE 376Multicultural American Drama3

II. Ethics, Politics, and Society

Course NumberCourse NameCredit
AAS 310Organic Leadership: Lessons from the Black Freedom Struggle3
AAS 330Politics of Black Religion3
AAS 340Ethics of Black Power3
AAS 350Politics of Black Liberation3
AAS 380Special Topics in Ethics, Politics, and Society in African American Studies3
ANT 335Anthropology of Space and Place in the U.S3,4
SOC 364Power, Politics, and Protest3
SOC 384Special Topics Seminar in Crime and Criminal Justice (when topic is 3 appropriate)3
POL 213Economic Inequality and American Politic3
POL 223African American Politics3
POL 226American Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties3
REL 246Religion and Race3
REL 338 Religion, Ethics, and Politics3
REL 374Black Messiahs and Uncle Toms3
REL 375Race, Myth, and the American Imagination3
WGS 364Women of Color, Feminisms, and the Politics of Resistance in the U.S.3
WGS 383Race, Gender, and the Courts3

III. History, Culture, and Theory

Course NumberCourse NameCredit
AAS 106Atlantic World since 15003
AAS 105Africa in World History3
AAS 110Introduction to Africana Philosophy3
AAS 120Introduction to Black Women’s Studies3
AAS 205Black Cultural Studies3
AAS 210African American Intellectual Traditions3
AAS 266The History of the Slave South3
AAS 271African American History to 18703
AAS 300Black Feminist Theory3
AAS 272African American History since 18703
AAS 315African American Social and Political Thought3
AAS 320Philosophy and Race3
AAS 322Critical Theories of Race3
AAS 324Race and the Modern World3
AAS 341Africans in the Atlantic World, 1750-18153
AAS 355Africana Political Philosophy3
AAS 375Black Lives3
AAS 387Black Radical Tradition3
AAS 378Race, Memory, and Identity3
AAS 376Civil Rights and Black Consciousness Movements3
AAS 391Themes in Africana Philosophy3
AAS 392Seminar in African American Studies3
AAS 396Independent Study in African American Studies3
AAS 397Directed Reading in African American Studies3
ANT 111Understanding Culture Through Ethnography3
ANT 325Roots of Racism: Race and Ethnic Diversity in the U.S.3
ENG 387African-American Fiction (when topic is appropriate)3
HMN 200Introduction to Humanities: Themes in Literature, Culture, and Film3
REL 107Introduction to African Religions3
REL 345The African-American Religious Experience3
REL 348Race, Memory, and Identity3
REL 373Special Topics in African-American Religious Traditions3
REL 393Topics in Religions of Africa3
SOC 359Race and Racism3
WGS 322Feminist, Womanist, Murjerista Theologies: Constructive Perspectives on 3 Christian Thought3

2022-23 Courses

Take a look at our 2022-23 undergraduate courses.