African-American Studies Website


Chair, Professor ALEX WILLINGHAM

Advisory Committee: Professors: SINGHAM, D. L. SMITH, A. WILLINGHAM. Associate Professors: E. D. BROWN, MUTONGI*. Assistant Professors: BEAN, HICKS*, LONG. Sterling Brown Professor: M. N. MORGANž.

African-American Studies is an interdisciplinary program that examines the history, the cultures, and the social and political experiences of people of African ancestry in the Western Hemisphere. The program encourages students to take advantage of its interdisciplinary focus and to examine the vibrant and varied intellectual traditions that constitute the study of the African Diaspora.

All candidates for a concentration in African-American Studies must complete a total of five courses: one United States subject, one Caribbean or South American, one African, and two electives. At least one of these courses must be in the performing or fine arts.

Students may select their required courses from the following:

One course in a United States or Canadian subject:

English/American Studies 109 Now and Then: Classic African American Literature (Deleted 2004-2005)

English/American Studies 220 Introduction to African-American Writing

English/American Studies 367 Harlem Renaissance (Deleted 2004-2005)

History 281 African-American History, 1619-1865

History 282 African-American History From Reconstruction to the Present

Music 122 African-American Music

Music 130 History of Jazz

Political Science 213 Theory and Practice of Civil Rights Protest

Religion/American Studies 227/History 382 Religion and Revolution: Black
Theology from 1969 to the Present (Deleted 2004-2005)

Theatre/American Studies 211 Topics in African American Performance: The 1960s, the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movement*

One course in a Caribbean/South American subject:

History 242 Latin America From Conquest to Independence

History 249 The Caribbean From Slavery to Independence

History 331 The French and Haitian Revolutions

History 342 Creating Nations and Nationalism in Latin America

History 346 History of Modern Brazil

History 443 Slavery, Race and Ethnicity in Latin America

History 472 Slavery, Capitalism, and Revolution: The Impact of the New World on Europe, 1700-1900

One course in an African subject:

History 202 Early-African History Through the Era of the Slave Trade

History 203 Sub-Saharan Africa Since 1800

History 304 South Africa and Apartheid

History 308 Gender and Society in Modern Africa

History 402 African Political Thought

Music 125 Music Cultures of the World

Music 232T Latin Music USA

Two electives (from the above or the following):

AAS 491 or 492 Senior Project

Economics 204/Environmental Studies 234 Economic Development in Poor Countries

English 236 Witnessing: Slavery and Its Aftermath

English 238 American Women Writers (Deleted 2004-2005)

English 324 Black Literary Texts of the Eighteenth Century (Deleted 2004-2005)

English/American Studies 345 Black Arts

English 355 Fictions of Race

English/American Studies 372 African-American Literary Criticism and Theory

History 164 Slavery in the American South

History 165 The Quest for Racial Justice in Twentieth-Century America

History 166 The Age of Washington and Du Bois

History 364 History of the Old South

History 365 History of the New South

History 370 Studies in American Social Change

History/Women's and Gender Studies 383 The History of Black Women in America: From Slavery to the Present

History 456 Civil War and Reconstruction

History 467 Black Urban Life and Culture

Music 140 Introduction to the Music of Duke Ellington

Music 141 Introduction to the Music of John Coltrane

Music 209 Music in History III: Musics of the Twentieth Century

Music 212 Jazz Theory and Improvisation I

Music 213 Jazz Theory and Improvisation II

Political Science 235 Multiculturalism and Political Theory

Political Science 239 Political Thinking About Race: Resurrecting the Political in Contemporary Texts on the Black Experience

Political Science 318 The Voting Rights Act and the Voting Rights Movement

Political Science 331T Non-Profit Organization and Community Change

Political Science 343T Multiculturalism in Comparative Context

Psychology 341T Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination

Theatre 210 Multicultural Performance


A candidate for honors in African-American Studies must maintain at least a B+ average in the concentration and be admitted to candidacy by the program faculty. An honors candidate must complete her/his project in a semester (and Winter Study). A candidate will enroll for either AAS 491 or 492 (and Winter Study) during her/his senior year to write a forty-page thesis or to do an equivalent project in the performing and studio arts. A faculty advisor, in consultation with the chair, can change the particulars of an honors project.

An honors project should demonstrate unusual creativity, depth, and intellectual rigor. A candidate for honors is permitted and encouraged to pursue non-traditional projects, such as presentations in the performing arts, visual arts, or creative writing, as well as more traditional interdisciplinary studies. The advisor will evaluate an honors project, and the program faculty will decide whether to confer honors. A student wishing to become a candidate for honors in African-American Studies should secure a faculty sponsor and inform the program chair in writing before spring registration of her/his junior year.


Several courses in African-American Studies count for credit in the American Studies major. Therefore, students in American Studies can easily complete requirements for an African-American Studies concentration by electing one course in an African subject and by taking African-American Studies 491. Another three courses must be chosen which satisfy both American Studies and African-American Studies requirements.