Africana Studies

The program in Africana Studies provides a cross-culturally and historically comparative framework to study the rich connections and exchanges among African people, their descendants, and the various "new worlds" in which they have made and are making their lives. A particular strength of Carleton's Africana Studies program is the opportunity to explore these issues on the African continent as well as in numerous African diasporas--of varying historical depth--in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Africana Studies combines area studies and ethnic studies foci on the cultural, literary, political, social, and intellectual responses to slavery, colonialism, missionization, and racialization throughout Africa and its many diasporas.

Students can pursue their intellectual interests in Africa and its diasporas through on-campus courses and off-campus studies programs (including programs offered through Carleton's departments of History and Environmental Studies), and through a rich variety of courses in nearly all curricular exploration divisions. Through multidisciplinary training, students are encouraged to develop their analytic, research, and literary skills; they acquire the intellectual tools to critique and correct the distortions and silences about Africans and their descendants in both academic canons and public discourse.

The Africana Studies major thus prepares students for lifetime engagement in scholarship as well as in fields such as law, public policy, education, public health, social work, and the arts. Toward this end, and in addition to coursework, students are encouraged to take advantage of the rich array of speakers, exhibits, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities related to Africans and their diasporas.

Students majoring in Africana Studies create their own program of study by choosing courses in a structured and reflective manner from a variety of disciplinary departments. In developing their program, students should talk to the department about courses that have particularly high African, African Diaspora, and/or African American Studies content. They are particularly encouraged to choose these courses from among the list of relevant courses. Courses marked AFSTPERT can complement the major, but do not count toward the required nine courses plus comprehensive exercise without special permission of the Program Director. Because of the complexities of creating a meaningful program from a wide array of departmental offerings, students interested in majoring should draw up a program of study that has breadth and depth in consultation with the Director of Africana Studies before declaring their major.

Requirements for the Africana Studies Major

Admission to the program will depend upon the acceptance, by the Africana Studies Committee, of a written proposal outlining the student's program of study.

  • Interdisciplinary Course (6 credits). Each student must complete one interdisciplinary 6-credit course which, in part, specifically discusses African/African American Studies as an interdisciplinary field:
    • AFST 125 New African Migrations
    • POSC 275 Black Radical Political Thought, 1919-1969
  • Survey Courses (18 credits). Each student must take three of the following 6-credit courses:
    • ARTH 140 African Art and Culture (not offered in 2017-18)
    • ENGL 117 African American Literature
    • ENGL 238 African Literature in English
    • HIST 125 African American History I (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 126 African American History II
    • HIST 181 West Africa in the Era of the Slave Trade
    • HIST 182 Living in the Colonial Context: Africa, 1850-1950 (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 183 History of Early West Africa (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 184 Colonial West Africa (not offered in 2017-18)
  • Distribution Courses (30 credits). Each student should take 30 credits of distribution that are essential to Africana Studies. Among these distribution courses, students must choose at least one 6-credit course each from among the three disciplinary groups: Humanistic Inquiry, Social Inquiry and Literary and Artistic Analysis; at least four of the distribution courses must be at the 200-level or above and at least one at the 300-level. The 300-level course should be completed in one of the two disciplines in which the student writes his/her comprehensive exercise; in this course the student must produce a substantial paper or project in Africana Studies. In addition, majors are highly encouraged to take the AMST 345 junior methods course, WGST 200, or a methods course in one of the academic disciplines that contribute to Africana Studies. HIST 182 cannot double count as a survey course. 
    Literary and Artistic Analysis
    • CAMS 219 African Cinema: A Quest for Identity and Self-Definition (not offered in 2017-18)
    • DANC 266 Reading The Dancing Body: Topics in Dance History
    • ENGL 238 African Literature in English
    • ENGL 252 Caribbean Fiction (not offered in 2017-18)
    • ENGL 258 Contemporary American Playwrights of Color (not offered in 2017-18)
    • ENGL 350 The Postcolonial Novel: Forms and Contexts
    • ENGL 352 Toni Morrison: Novelist
    • FREN 225 Francophone Literature of Africa and the Caribbean (not offered in 2017-18)
    • FREN 245 Francophone Literature of Africa and the Caribbean (not offered in 2017-18)
    • FREN 308 France and the African Imagination (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 126 America's Music
    • MUSC 130 The History of Jazz
    • MUSC 131 The Blues From the Delta to Chicago
    • MUSC 132 Golden Age of R and B (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 140 Ethnomusicology: Local and Global in the World's Musical Cultures (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 141 Global Popular Music (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 245 Music of Africa
    • MUSC 332 Motown

    Humanistic Inquiry
    • CCST 280 Empires, Colonies, Hegemony
    • HIST 181 West Africa in the Era of the Slave Trade
    • HIST 182 Living in the Colonial Context: Africa, 1850-1950 (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 184 Colonial West Africa (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 219 Is Obama Black?: American Mixed Race History (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 222 Slavery in Film, Literature, and History
    • HIST 225 James Baldwin and Black Lives Matter (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 228 Civil Rights and Black Power (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 280 African in the Arab World (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 281 War in Modern Africa
    • HIST 283 Christian Encounter, Conversion, and Conflict in Modern Africa (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 381 U.S. Relations with Ghana (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 382 U.S. Relations with Ghana: The Field Trip and Beyond (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 386 Africa: Art, Nation, and Politics
    • RELG 227 Liberation Theologies (not offered in 2017-18)
    • RELG 262 Islamic Africa
    • RELG 326 Religion and the Post-Colonial Imagination (not offered in 2017-18)

    Social Inquiry
    • AFST 112 Black Revolution on Campus
    • AFST 125 New African Migrations
    • EDUC 225 Issues in Urban Education (not offered in 2017-18)
    • EDUC 245 The History of American School Reform
    • EDUC 338 Multicultural Education
    • POSC 207 Global Decline of Democracy: Urban Revanchism and Popular Resistance
    • POSC 218 Schools, Scholarship and Policy in the United States (not offered in 2017-18)
    • POSC 266 Urban Political Economy
    • POSC 273 Race and Politics in the U.S.
    • POSC 275 Black Radical Political Thought, 1919-1969
    • POSC 302 Subordinated Politics and Intergroup Relations*
    • POSC 351 Political Theory of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • POSC 366 Urban Political Economy*
    • PSYC 384 Psychology of Prejudice (not offered in 2017-18)
    • SOAN 115 Inequality in American Society (not offered in 2017-18)
    • SOAN 151 Global Minnesota: An Anthropology of Our State
    • SOAN 225 Social Movements (not offered in 2017-18)
    • SOAN 256 Africa: Representation and Conflict (not offered in 2017-18)
    • SOAN 263 Terrorism
    • SOAN 272 Race and Ethnicity in the United States (not offered in 2017-18)
    • SOAN 314 Contemporary Issues in Critical Criminology
    • SOAN 395 Ethnography of Reproduction
    • WGST 265 Black Feminist Thought: The Everyday World (not offered in 2017-18)
    • WGST 266 Caribbean Queer Matters: Exploration & Research (not offered in 2017-18)

    Additional Distribution Electives: Arts Practice
    • DANC 301 Contemporary Styles and Techniques: African Dance
    • MUSC 183J Ethnic Drumming Instruction (Juried)
    • MUSC 191 African Karimba Ensemble (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 192 West African Drum Ensemble
    • MUSC 193 Mbira Ensemble (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 199 Fundamentals of African Drumming
    • MUSC 283J Ethnic Drumming Instruction (Juried)
  • Senior Seminar/Capstone Experience (2 credits)

The capstone experience consists of AFST 398, a two-credit course in which the student creates a portfolio of their work in Africana studies and writes a 5-10 page reflective essay tying these papers together. This course gives students an opportunity to seriously reflect about the courses they have taken and the work they have produced within the major, and to draw connections among them. By bringing together Africana Studies majors and minors, this two-credit course facilitates common discussion of the main themes in Africana Studies and how they are woven through the corpus of each student's undergraduate opus.

  • Comprehensive Exercise AFST 400 (6 credits)

The comprehensive exercise is a substantial (approximately 34-40 page) research paper on a topic within African, African American, and/or African Diaspora studies, grounded in two complementary disciplines, advised by two faculty members chosen from these two disciplines. The student should have completed a 300-level course in one of these two disciplines. The comps process begins with a proposal in fall term of the senior year, and ends with a final written thesis and oral presentation early in spring term.

Other Courses Pertinent to Africana Studies

  • ECON 240 Microeconomics of Development
  • EDUC 250 Fixing Schools: Politics and Policy in American Education
  • EDUC 340 Race, Immigration, and Schools
  • ENGL 234 Literature of the American South
  • HIST 121 Rethinking the American Experience: American Social History, 1865-1945 (not offered in 2017-18)
  • POSC 122 Politics in America: Liberty and Equality
  • POSC 241 Ethnic Conflict
  • RELG 122 Introduction to Islam

African Studies Minor

The Africana Studies minor is designed to complement a student's disciplinary major through an interdisciplinary specialization on the contexts and experiences of Africans and their many diasporas. Combining area studies and ethnic studies foci, the Africana Studies minor provides students the opportunity to explore the rich connections and exchanges among African people, their descendants, and the global locales--in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East--in which they have made and are making their lives. Students can do this through both on-campus courses and off-campus studies programs. In their senior year Africana Studies minors draw connections among these courses through an interdisciplinary reflective capstone experience.

Fostering interdisciplinary critical thinking, the Africana Studies minor prepares students for lifetime engagement in scholarship as well as in fields such as law, public policy, education, public health, social work, and the arts. Toward this end, and in addition to coursework, students are encouraged to take advantage of the rich array of speakers, exhibits, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities related to Africans and their diasporas.

Africana Studies Minor Requirements

The Africana Studies minors requires seven courses as follows:

One core interdisciplinary (6-credit) course which, in part, specifically discusses Africana Studies as a coherent field of study.

    • AFST 125 New African Migrations
    • POSC 275 Black Radical Political Thought, 1919-1969

Two survey courses (12 credits) that introduce the "state of the field" of African and/or African Diaspora studies within specific disciplines

    • ARTH 140 African Art and Culture (not offered in 2017-18)
    • ENGL 117 African American Literature
    • ENGL 238 African Literature in English
    • HIST 125 African American History I (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 126 African American History II
    • HIST 181 West Africa in the Era of the Slave Trade
    • HIST 182 Living in the Colonial Context: Africa, 1850-1950 (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 183 History of Early West Africa (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 184 Colonial West Africa (not offered in 2017-18)

Three distribution courses (18 credits) that combine depth and breadth in the field. Each student should take 18 credits chosen from at least two of the following disciplinary groups: Literary and Artistic Analysis; Humanistic Inquiry and Social Inquiry. Two of the three distributional courses must be at the 200-level or above. At least one of the distribution courses should be a 300-level course in which the student produces a substantial paper or project in Africana Studies encompassing African, African American and African Diaspora Studies. In rare cases, a student can petition to write a substantial paper in a 200-level course (i.e., be released from the 300-level course requirement), if that course is highly relevant to their own focus.

  • Literary/Artistic Analysis
    • CAMS 219 African Cinema: A Quest for Identity and Self-Definition (not offered in 2017-18)
    • DANC 266 Reading The Dancing Body: Topics in Dance History
    • ENGL 238 African Literature in English
    • ENGL 252 Caribbean Fiction (not offered in 2017-18)
    • ENGL 258 Contemporary American Playwrights of Color (not offered in 2017-18)
    • ENGL 350 The Postcolonial Novel: Forms and Contexts
    • ENGL 352 Toni Morrison: Novelist
    • FREN 225 Francophone Literature of Africa and the Caribbean (not offered in 2017-18)
    • FREN 245 Francophone Literature of Africa and the Caribbean (not offered in 2017-18)
    • FREN 308 France and the African Imagination (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 126 America's Music
    • MUSC 130 The History of Jazz
    • MUSC 131 The Blues From the Delta to Chicago
    • MUSC 132 Golden Age of R and B (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 140 Ethnomusicology: Local and Global in the World's Musical Cultures (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 141 Global Popular Music (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 245 Music of Africa
    • MUSC 332 Motown
  • Humanistic Inquiry
    • CCST 280 Empires, Colonies, Hegemony
    • HIST 181 West Africa in the Era of the Slave Trade
    • HIST 182 Living in the Colonial Context: Africa, 1850-1950 (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 184 Colonial West Africa (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 219 Is Obama Black?: American Mixed Race History (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 222 Slavery in Film, Literature, and History
    • HIST 225 James Baldwin and Black Lives Matter (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 228 Civil Rights and Black Power (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 280 African in the Arab World (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 281 War in Modern Africa
    • HIST 283 Christian Encounter, Conversion, and Conflict in Modern Africa (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 381 U.S. Relations with Ghana (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 382 U.S. Relations with Ghana: The Field Trip and Beyond (not offered in 2017-18)
    • HIST 386 Africa: Art, Nation, and Politics
    • RELG 227 Liberation Theologies (not offered in 2017-18)
    • RELG 262 Islamic Africa
    • RELG 326 Religion and the Post-Colonial Imagination (not offered in 2017-18)
  • Social Inquiry
    • AFST 112 Black Revolution on Campus
    • AFST 125 New African Migrations
    • EDUC 225 Issues in Urban Education (not offered in 2017-18)
    • EDUC 245 The History of American School Reform
    • EDUC 338 Multicultural Education
    • POSC 207 Global Decline of Democracy: Urban Revanchism and Popular Resistance
    • POSC 218 Schools, Scholarship and Policy in the United States (not offered in 2017-18)
    • POSC 266 Urban Political Economy
    • POSC 273 Race and Politics in the U.S.
    • POSC 275 Black Radical Political Thought, 1919-1969
    • POSC 302 Subordinated Politics and Intergroup Relations*
    • POSC 351 Political Theory of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • POSC 366 Urban Political Economy*
    • PSYC 384 Psychology of Prejudice (not offered in 2017-18)
    • SOAN 115 Inequality in American Society (not offered in 2017-18)
    • SOAN 151 Global Minnesota: An Anthropology of Our State
    • SOAN 225 Social Movements (not offered in 2017-18)
    • SOAN 256 Africa: Representation and Conflict (not offered in 2017-18)
    • SOAN 263 Terrorism
    • SOAN 272 Race and Ethnicity in the United States (not offered in 2017-18)
    • SOAN 314 Contemporary Issues in Critical Criminology
    • SOAN 395 Ethnography of Reproduction
    • WGST 265 Black Feminist Thought: The Everyday World (not offered in 2017-18)
    • WGST 266 Caribbean Queer Matters: Exploration & Research (not offered in 2017-18)
  • Additional Distribution Electives:
    • DANC 301 Contemporary Styles and Techniques: African Dance
    • MUSC 183J Ethnic Drumming Instruction (Juried)
    • MUSC 191 African Karimba Ensemble (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 192 West African Drum Ensemble
    • MUSC 193 Mbira Ensemble (not offered in 2017-18)
    • MUSC 199 Fundamentals of African Drumming
    • MUSC 283J Ethnic Drumming Instruction (Juried)

Senior Seminar/Capstone Experience (2 credits)

  • AFST 398 Africana Studies Capstone
A two-credit course in which the student creates a portfolio of their work in Africana studies and writes a 5-10 page reflective essay tying these papers together. This course gives students an opportunity to seriously relfect about the courses they have taken and the work they have produced within the minor, and to draw connections among them. By bringing together Africana Studies majors and minors, this two-credit course facilitates common discussion of the main themes in Africana Studies and how they are woven through the corpus of each student's undergraduate opus.

Minors are highly encouraged to take the AMST 345 junior methods course.

Africana Studies Courses

AFST 112 Black Revolution on Campus This course explores the activist roots of Africana Studies. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, students organized hundreds of protests that sparked a period of unrest, retaliation, negotiation, and reform that fundamentally reshaped college campuses across the United States. Black students, along with their “Third World” and progressive white allies, demanded that academe serve their communities and provide a “more relevant education.” The course will consider the influence of various movements, including Black power, anti-war, second wave feminism, and decolonization, on the creation of interdisciplinary fields including Black Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Women and Gender Studies. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IDS; Winter; Charisse E Burden-Stelly
AFST 125 New African Migrations African societies have long been shaped by migration--including quests for new knowledge, land, and livelihoods as well as the coercive migrations of slavery and refugee flight. Recent transformations in global political-economies and local conditions have made migration a central feature of contemporary African life. This course introduces students to African and African diaspora studies through an examination of new African migrations. Starting with the formation of "domestic diasporas" through rural-urban migration within African countries, we will explore connections and ruptures created by south-south international migrations within the African continent, and transnational migrations to the United States and Europe. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IS; Fall; Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg
AFST 320 Cameroon Program: Traditional and Modern Perspectives on Cameroonian Cultures This course is designed to provide students with a robust theoretical and practical grounding in anthropological fieldwork and participant observation research techniques, and a broad understanding of the multifaceted nature of historical and contemporary Cameroonian cultures. Extensive primary research opportunities, readings, and written assignments are paired with lectures, seminars, and field trips to museums, cultural centers, heritage sites, and selected cities, towns, and villages. Prerequisite: Acceptance in Carleton/Antioch OCS Program. 7-8 credits; NE, IS; Fall; Nick Hockin
AFST 398 Africana Studies Capstone What relationships can you draw among your varied coursework and papers in African and African American Studies? How does interdisciplinarity affect your thinking about the study of the African continent and its numerous diasporas? In this two-credit course students will create a portfolio of their work in African and African American studies and write a 5-10 page reflective essay tying these papers together. Guided by a faculty member, this course gives students an opportunity to reflect seriously about the courses they have taken and the work they have produced within the major or concentration, and to draw connections among them. Prerequisite: Africana Studies Senior major or minor. 2 credits; NE; Winter; Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg
AFST 400 Integrative Exercise Not offered 2017-18