Academics > Curriculum

African American Studies Curriculum

The African American Studies program provides students with a detailed understanding of the African American experience.  The program is designed to provide students with flexibility in creating their plan of study while emphasizing analysis, critical thinking, research, and writing.  African American Studies majors and minors will gain:

  • a critical knowledge of the major developments in African American culture and history
  • knowledge of the concepts and theories specific to African Americans Studies as well as an awareness of its interdisciplinary nature

African American Studies Major

  1. AAM-107 Introduction to African American Studies
  2. AAM/ENG-267 African American Literature
  3. HIS-145 History of the United States to 1865
  4. HIS-155 History of the United States Since 1865 or HIS-227 The American Civil War
  5. Two terms of AMS-100 Interdisciplinary Studies Colloquium
  6. Four additional courses relevant to African American culture, chosen in consultation with the African American Studies program coordinator
    a) Two courses must be numbered 300 and above and chosen in consultation with the African American Studies program coordinator.
  7. AAM-8_5 Independent Study (completed during the senior year)

African American Studies Minor

  1. AAM-107 Introduction to African American Studies
  2. AAM/ENG-267 African American Literature
  3. HIS-145 History of the United States to 1865 or HIS-155 History of the United States Since
    1865 or HIS-227 The American Civil War
  4. One term of AMS-010 Interdisciplinary Studies Colloquium
  5. Two additional courses chosen from departmental offerings

Courses in African American Studies

AAM-107 Introduction to African American Studies
What is African American culture, and what accounts for its cultural distinctions?  This course introduces students to the study of African American culture and the field of the African American Studies.  Through an interdisciplinary approach (literature, history, music, art, film) students will examine central themes and key debates pertinent to African American culture and history from its beginning to the present.

AAM/AMS-217, -317 Topics in African American Studies
Specific topics vary from year to year. Students apply theories and methods of culture studies to a selected major topic in American culture.  This course focuses primarily on literary and historical texts.

AAM/ENG-267 African American Literature
Reading and discussion of the writings of African Americans, with emphasis on the 20th century. May include some relevant writings on African Americans by other groups. Study of the artistic values and of the social and cultural significance of these writings.

AAM/ENG-367 Topics in African American Literature
This course will focus on specific literary genres or time periods and is meant to function as an intermediate course between the introductory AAM/ENG-267 African American Literature and the advanced English seminar (particularly AAM/ENG-777 Seminar in Black Literature). Students will read and discuss both primary and secondary sources in an effort to gain a fuller understanding and appreciation of the artistic values and of the social and cultural significance of these writings. Specific topics vary from year to year and may include: African American Historical Fiction, African American Speculative Fiction, Literature of the Civil Rights Era, and the African American Bildungsroman.  May be repeated, with consent of program coordinator, provided the topics are substantially different.

AAM-447 Directed Studies in African American Studies
Study of selected topics and primary texts not available within the regular offerings. Prerequisite: two courses in African American studies. Registration by consent of program coordinator after submission of a written project proposal. Conferences with instructor and papers are required. May be repeated for credit with consent of program coordinator.

AAM-777, -787, -797 Seminar in African American Literature
Intensive study of selected works and subjects in African American literature. May be repeated, with consent of administrative coordinator, provided the topics are substantially different. Prerequisites: junior standing and Literary Analysis (ENG-615).

AAM-815 Independent Study
Study of individually chosen research topics in African American studies under the direction of a faculty member in the area. With permission of instructor prior to registration, may be taken for an X status grade. Prerequisites: Introduction to African American Studies (AAM-1X7), or African American Literature (AAM-267); consent of administrative coordinator and submission of a written proposal for a project.

AAM-895 Internship in African American Studies
Exploration of a career area related to African American studies. A minimum of 140 hours on-site experience is required. S/U basis only. Supervision by the African American Studies program coordinator in cooperation with Director of Internships. This course may count toward elective credit for a major or minor in African American studies with consent of administrative coordinator.  Prerequisite: junior standing.