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The African and African Diaspora Studies program is designed to help students explore, examine, and critically analyze the African presence in a global context. This presence stretches back to antiquity in Europe and Asia, and for centuries in the Americas, but serious and sustained efforts to understand the profoundly rich, dynamic, and complex contributions to the world’s civilizations have been lacking. Students are provided background and tools to investigate the agency, experiences and movements of African and African Diaspora people that span time and place and bridge academic disciplines. The program is a cross-disciplinary study area with course offerings in anthropology and sociology, economics, history, political science, fine arts, literature, language, psychology and philosophy that address the black experience in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States. The broad goals of the program are to investigate the historical and cultural linkages between African and African Diaspora people and between people of the Diaspora and other groups in the cultures where they live; to examine theories of race and ethnicity; and to explore critical issues and contributions of Diaspora people in major fields of knowledge and aspects of life.
The foundation of the program is the core course AADS 214, Africa and the African Diaspora, which serves as a gateway to the field of African and African Diaspora Studies and a common experience for all students in the program. The course includes scholarship produced by African and African Diaspora scholars that recognizes the intellectual and cultural histories of black people. It introduces students to a broader range of scholarship to provide a thorough grounding in the experiences of peoples of African origin.
The required core course is offered every spring semester and provides a broad overview of the peoples, languages, culture, history, and institutions across the African continent and the African Diaspora. Any student with an interest in pursuing study in this particular area should consult the program coordinator. Formal declaration of intent to complete the program’s requirements must be preceded by completion of the core course. Students may declare their minor at any time prior to the final semester of their senior year, but are encouraged to declare their participation and seek curricular advising as soon as possible.