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African American Studies

Cleveland Sellers Jr., Director

Andrew Billingsley, Ph.D., Brandeis University, 1964
Jon Michael Spencer, Ph.D., Washington University, 1982

Assistant Professors
Pamela Barnett, Ph.D., Emory University, 1996
Bobby Donaldson, Ph.D., Emory University 1999
Valinda Littlefield, Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1999

Cleveland Sellers Jr., Ed.D., University of North Carolina-Greensboro, 1987

Professor Emeritus
Grace Jordan McFadden, Ph.D., Antioch-Union, 1975


The interdisciplinary major in African American Studies is designed to assist students in developing facility in several related disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities in order to gain a deeper understanding of the culture, experience, and contemporary situation of the African diaspora. A specific course of study will be designed to meet the needs of each student accepted for the program. Students interested in the major should consult with a member of the Faculty Curriculum Committee on African American Studies. The program offers a B.A. in African American Studies.

Program Requirements

(120 hours)

1. General Education Requirements (53-62 hours)

The following courses fulfill some of the general education requirements and must be completed for an interdisciplinary major in African American Studies: AFRO 201-202 (prereq. to rest of courses).
The six hours for the courses AFRO 201 and 202 are not included in the overall hours required for a major in African American Studies. For an outline of other general education requirements, see "College of Liberal Arts"

2. Major Requirements (30 hours)

Four courses in the humanities (e.g., history or English) (12 hours)
Three or four related courses in the social sciences (e.g., political science or sociology) (9-12 hours)
An independent study project undertaken with a faculty member; additional course work may be substituted with agreement of the faculty curriculum committee (3-6 hours)
AFRO 498-499, Senior Seminar (6 hours)

3. Cognates, see College of Liberal Arts (12 hours)

4. Electives, see College of Liberal Arts (16-25 hours)

Course Descriptions (AFRO)

  • 201 -- Introduction to African-American Studies. (3)
  • 202 -- Introduction to African-American Studies. (3)
  • 303 -- African-American Cultures. {ANTH 303} (3) An examination of African-American cultures in the New World.
  • 308 -- African-American Feminist Theory. {=WOST 308} (3) An interdisciplinary survey of the contributions of African-American women to feminist theory.
  • 335 -- Survey of Civil Rights Movements. (3)
  • 344 -- The Theology of Martin Luther King Jr. {=AFRO 344} (3) Encounter with the theology of Martin Luther King Jr., including influences originating from Walter Rauschenbusch, Howard Thurman, and Mahatma Gandhi.
  • 360 -- Rastafarians and Reggae. {=RELG 343} (3) The 20th century, Jamaica-born, now international Rastafari religion and its popular music, reggae, approached from the perspective of comparative religion.
  • 374 -- Creativity. {=RELG 374} (3) Study and application of various theoretical perspectives on creativity with a view to approaching creativity as a virtue in religious life, exemplified especially in African-American culture.
  • 376 -- Religious Expression in African-American Music. {=RELG 376} (3) Encounter and engagement with the folk and popular music of African Americans from the point of view of religion and spirituality.
  • 398 -- Special Topics in African-American Studies. (3) Reading and research on selected topics in African-American studies. Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of courses by suffix and title.
  • 399 -- Independent Study. (3-6) Contract approved by instructor, advisor, and department chair is required for undergraduate students.
  • 442 -- African-American English. {=ANTH 442, =ENGL 457, =LING 442} (3) Linguistic examination of the structure, history, and use of African-American English, as well as literary presentations, language attitudes, and issues relating to education and the acquisition of Standard English.
  • 498 -- Seminar in African-American Studies. (3)
  • 499 -- Seminar in African-American Studies. (3)
  • 517 -- An Anthropological View of Blacks in Film. {=ANTH 517} (3) Cultural representations, constructions, production, and consumption of African-American identity in the popular culture medium of feature films.
  • 550 -- Comparative Black Religion. {=AFRO 550} (3) The comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Rastafari among African Americans from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The following courses are related and recommended but not cross-listed with African American Studies courses:

ANTH 303--African-American Cultures
ANTH 307--Cultures of Africa
ANTH 576--African-American Folklife and Archaeology
ENGL 428--African-American Literature
GEOG 428--Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa
GINT 432--Race, Ethnicity, and World Politics
GINT 446--International Relations of Africa
HIST 106--Introduction to African History
HIST 351--Africa to 1800
HIST 352--Africa since 1800
HIST 415--Black Americans
HIST 479--Oral History
HIST 648, 649--The Black Experience in the United States
PSYC 330--Psychology of the Black Experience
RELG 342--The African-American Religious Experience
RELG 373--Religion in the South
SOCY 355--Minority Group Relations

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