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African American Studies Program

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In the African American Studies Program, you will use interdisciplinary tools and resources to study the experiences of people of African descent and to evaluate historical, cultural, social, economic and political developments in South Carolina, the South, the United States and beyond.


Our History

Much has changed in the world since 1971. The intervening decades have brought a massive and still-growing body of new scholarship on the life and culture of peoples of African descent. Increasing public interest in the African American experience has spurred radical changes in popular culture and American society. Greater awareness of black intellectual traditions has enriched current studies. More extensive access to scholarship across the African Diaspora has reconfigured the possibilities for all scholars of the African American experience.

Learn from Our Strengths

A bachelor's degree in African American Studies from USC provides excellent preparation for graduate studies, professional degrees in law and journalism, and careers in education, politics, health care delivery and administration, social work, tourism, business, non-profit management and more.

Our faculty are experts in a wide range of disciplines, and our principal strengths include black political and social movements, African-American literature and comparative cultural anthropology. We regularly offer coursework that focuses on South Carolina's black communities, particularly in the Civil Rights era, black women's history and Sea Islands literature and language. 

Learn more about a major or minor in African American Studies and apply now.


Share in Our Knowledge

The African American Studies Program is proud to share its knowledge through programs for the community. Each year, the program sponsors the Annual Robert Smalls Lecture Series, and awards students for academic excellence in African American Studies with the Grace Jordan McFadden Award and the Hayes Mizell Research Award. We also work in cooperation with the Institute for African American Research by co-sponsoring research seminars and conferences. Contact us to learn more.

Our Students

There is an increased student demand for courses about African American and African Diaspora life and meaning. Today, students of diverse ethnic backgrounds are attracted to the study of another aspect of the American experience. Most often, better-prepared students are those who have knowledge of African American cultures, which enhances job opportunities in the corporate world, the public service arena and public school education.


Our Program

The African American Studies program offers major and minors degrees to students. Our program attracts students from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, and offers exceptional preparation for high-achieving students who intend to pursue graduate study and professional degrees, particularly in law, education, politics, health and cultural studies. Students earning a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies have gone on to careers in science: (Mae Jemison, astronaut), government: (U.S. Diplomat Jendayi Frazer), medicine: (Claudia Thomas, M.D.), art and literature: (Gloria Naylor, Aaron McGruder), journalism: (Bill Whitaker, CBS news), non-profit management: (Zulayka Santiago, Latino advocacy organization) and law: former First Lady Michelle Obama.


Affiliated Programs


Become a Faculty Affiliate

If you are a University of South Carolina faculty member who is interested in becoming a faculty affiliate with African American Studies, please fill out our online application form [pdf].

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