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updated 8/15/2007

African American Studies

Cleveland Sellers Jr., Director

Andrew Billingsley, Ph.D., Brandeis University, 1964

Associate Professor
Patricia Sullivan, Ph.D., Emory University, 1983

Assistant Professors
Glenda Coleman, J.D., Georgetown University Law School, 1989
Bobby Donaldson, Ph.D., Emory University 2000
Valinda Littlefield, Ph.D., University of Illinois, 2003
Todd Shaw, Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1996
Kimberly Simmons, Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2002

Cleveland Sellers Jr., Ed.D., University of North Carolina-Greensboro, 1987, Senior Fellow in History


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)

For a general outline of these requirements, see "College of Arts and Sciences."

2. Major Requirements (30 hours)

AFRO 201 Introduction to African American Studies before 1900 (3 hours)
AFRO 202 Introduction to African American Studies after 1900 (3 hours)
Any 300-level AFRO approved course (3 hours)
AFRO 498 or 499, Senior Seminar (3 hours)
Three approved courses in the humanities (e.g., history or English) (9 hours)
Three approved courses in the social sciences (e.g., government and international studies or sociology) (9 hours)

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

4. Electives, see College of Arts and Sciences (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.
  • 330 -- Psychology and the African American Experience. {=PSYC 330} (3) Psychological theory and research as it applies to African Americans. Explores Africentric and other perspectives and roles of culture, racism, and historical phenomena.
  • 335 -- Survey of Civil Rights Movements. (3)
  • 342 -- The African American Religious Experience. {=RELG 342} (3) Introduction to the study of the religious traditions of African Americans; special emphasis on the sociopolitical contexts in wihch these religious traditions have developed.
  • 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 R auschenbusch, Howard Thurman, and Mahatma Gandhi.
  • 350 -- Antiracist Education. {=EDFN 350} Basic concepts, issues, and practices of antiracist education. Topics include individual and institutional racism, overt and covert racism, curriculum, textbooks, power relationships, teacher-student relationships, and privacy.
  • 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.
  • 402 -- African American Political Thought. {=POLI 402} (3) Survey of many of the major schools of historic and contemporary African American political thought.
  • 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.226 -- Socio-Cultural Variations in Health and Illness. (3) Diverse health care belief systems and how they influence human responses to health and illness. Focus on African-American and other cultural groups.
  • 580 -- Culture annd Identity in the African Diaspora. {=ANTH 580} (3) Students will explore the African Diaspora as a social, cultural, and historical formation with Africa at its center, focusing on U.S.-, Latin American-, and Caribbean African-descended communities.

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
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
POLI 432--Race, Ethnicity, and World Politics
POLI 446--International Relations of Africa
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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