Program Requirements

African Studies

By the sophomore year, a student should choose an African Studies minor advisor to guide them in planning the choice of courses to fulfill the requirements for the program.

Six courses that include the following:

1. Required course: AFS-190 Introduction to Africa
[This course introduces students to the multifaceted dimensions of the African continent and its peoples from an interdisciplinary perspective. It serves as a good background for upper level courses in the African Studies Program. The course focuses among other things on pre-colonial and colonial history, modern African states, and Africa's contemporary role in world affairs.  It also discusses human geography, emphasizing the diversity and convergence of African cultural patterns, as well as traditional cultural forms and institutions such as kinship.  Finally, the course discusses the oral and written literature and art of African peoples. Students discuss, do presentations, write research papers, and take exams. GLOBL, Fall Semester]

2. Electives: Five courses from the following list of courses. The choice of courses should reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the program. There are two categories of courses: Core Courses and Complementary Courses. Core Courses focus entirely on Africa. For the Complementary Courses, at least half of the content focuses on Africa. As a requirement, students must take three courses from those listed as Core Courses, and two courses from those listed as Complementary Courses. Interim January Term Experience courses taught on campus or in an African country that focus entirely on Africa will count as Core Courses.                     
To determine how many credits are transferable, the Director of the program will assess the content of the courses taken abroad. However, no more than three courses may be accepted as transfer credits from a study-abroad program in Africa. Also, special topic courses that are occasionally taught and that focus entirely on Africa can count toward the minor.

3. No more than four level 100 courses can count toward the minor.

4. Students must earn a grade of C or better in a course in order to receive credit toward the African Studies minor.


ENG-101 Reading in the World
[Reading in the World teaches students to appreciate the intrinsic aesthetic value of literature, while engaging its social, historical, and cultural contexts. This course treats literary texts as a canvas, mirror, and lens; recording the purposeful beauty of language, reflecting the importance of self-understanding, and inviting us as readers to consider how texts—novels, poems, plays, non-fiction, and film—participate in the issues and debates that shape our world. For the most current list of courses, please consult the individual course descriptions on the English Department website. The one entitled "African Literature and Film" counts towards the African Studies Minor.  LARS, Offered occasionally.] 

FRE-364 Francophone African /Caribbean Literatures and Cultures                                                                                                      [This course is a study of the literatures and cultures of Francophone African and Caribbean societies. Materials used for the course include literary, historical, sociological, and political texts, as well as films. The course may focus on a specific theme in a particular year but may also involve examining
 in general the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial experiences of African and Caribbean societies. Topics of interest include the clash between tradition and modernity, governance of modern nation states, gender roles, Négritude, Antillan ité, and Créolité. Students will discuss, make presentations, and write research papers. This course counts toward the African Studies minor and the LALACS major/minor. Prerequisite: FRE-251 or equivalent. GLOBL, LARS, WRITD, Fall semester, odd years.]

FRE-367 Le Maghreb                                                                                                                                                                                   [This course focuses on three countries of the Maghreb—Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco—by analyzing their community of destiny: geography, religion, history, and language. Students will examine this unity, sealed by history, throughout literature and cinema. This literary and filmic analysis will be based on short stories, novels, and films written or directed by Algerian, Moroccan, and Tunisian authors who have chosen French as their language of expression, and are living either in their country of origin or in France as a land of exile and adoption. This course counts toward the African Studies minor. Prerequisite: FRE-251 or equivalent. GLOBL, Fall semester, even years.]        

GEG-235 Sub-Saharan Africa                                                                                                                                                                      [This is a regional course providing an introduction to the physical and human geography of the region south of the Sahara. The influence of the African traditional society, the Islamic diffusion, and the European colonial period, commonly called the “triple heritage,” will be examined. This course counts toward the African Studies and the Peace Studies minors. GLOBL, Spring semester.

GWS-264 African Women: Tradition and Modernity                                                                                                                                   [This course discusses the clash of tradition and modernity as it impacts on women in Africa, the place of women in the family and in politics, and the changing economic and social dynamics that impact the role of women in society. The course discusses writers such as Mariama Bâ (Sénégal), Ama Aidoo (Ghana), Malika Mokkedem (Algeria), Buchi Emecheta (Nigeria), Bessie Head (South Africa and Botswana),and Tsitsi Dangaremgba (Zimbabwe), among others. What experiences are peculiar to African women, and how can we understand those experiences in the context of global feminist theo- ries? The course will, among other things, answer these salient questions. This course counts toward the African Studies minor. GLOBL, offered occasionally.]

HIS-150 Modern Africa                                                                                                                                                                                  [This course will explore the history of sub-Saharan Africa from roughly 1750 to the present, focusing on the forces that have shaped modern Africa, including the slave trade, the rise of Islam, economy, society, and culture under European colonialism, African independence movements, and South Africa under apartheid. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on the role Africans played in shaping their own destinies. This course counts toward the African Studies minor. Fall semester, odd years.

HIS-251 Africa Since 1945                                                                                                                                                                            [This course offers an in-depth look at African history from 1945 to the present. A primarily discussion-based course, students will read history, literature, newspaper articles, and other primary documents to delve into important questions in recent African history related to the economy, politics, society, and culture of post-colonial Africa. The course will include in-depth study of topics such as the decolonization of Belgian Congo, Biafran war in Nigeria, end of apartheid, and Rwanda genocide. In addition to active participation in class discussion, students will write a research paper on a topic of their choice. This course counts toward the African Studies minor. GLOBL, Offered occasionally.]

IDS-260 Myth and Reality in African Cinema                                                                                                                                              [This course examines how Africa is represented through cinema. Though the theme may vary from one year to another, generally it discusses issues such as nation building, gender relations, social and political conflict, and acculturation, among others. Students discuss, take exams, write essays, and do oral presentations. This course counts toward the African Studies minor. GLOBL, Spring semester, odd years.]

S/A-244 African People and Cultures                                                                                                                                                         [This course will offer in-depth analysis of selected topics in sociology and anthropology, such as economic anthropology, rural sociology, and geographical area courses. Special topics course entitled "African People and Cultures" will count towards African Studies Minor. Offered occasionally.

S/A-258 African Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean                                                                                                                   [The Atlantic slave
trade forced millions of Africans to Latin America and the Caribbean. This course examines
the origins, character, and persistence of diverse African cultures in the New World as well as their extraordinarily colorful and creative hybridization through interactions with European and indigenous languages and traditions. This includes African dialects, religions, music, art, dance, family structures and values, folk psychologies, healing practices, and more. The goal is to understand the origins and development of Afro-Latin and Afro-Caribbean cultural experience and the dynamics of cultural change from an anthropological perspective. This course counts toward the African Studies minor and the LALACS major/minor. GLOBL, Fall semester.]


ENG-130 Introduction to World Literature
[This course gives students a wide-ranging introduction to the literatures of Africa, Latin America, India, Asia, and/or the Middle East. Texts may include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama and film, and will be studied in their cultural and historical context. Issues that may be explored include the slave trade, colonialism, nationalism, religious and ethnic conflicts, gender, social justice, and interrogation of globalization in contemporary texts. The emphasis of the course will vary from year to year and students are encouraged to consult the department website for details. Texts studied will be read in English. This course counts toward the African Studies minor. LARS, Spring semester, even years.]

ENG-281 Postcolonial Literatures in English
[This course is a broad survey of what has come to be called “Postcolonial literature,” i.e., literature written in English by peoples who have been dominated by the British Empire and marginalized by cultural imperialism, ethnocentrism, and racism. Texts include postcolonial theory, personal narratives, fiction, and film, as well as canonical English literature interrogated through a postcolonial lens. We will explore the complex relationship between texts and their social context as well as such themes as identity and community, gender, migration, hybridity, the colonized mind, and self-determination. This course counts toward the African Studies and the Peace Studies minors. GLOBL, LARS, offered occasionally.]

GEG-102 World Regional Geography
[This course helps students make sense of the world and its diversity of peoples, environments, places, and regions. Central to the course
is the exploration of the relationships between global processes and local outcomes In select regions including Africa, Latin America, South and East Asia, the Middle east, and Europe. This course counts toward the African Studies and the Peace Studies minors. GLOBL, Fall and Spring semesters.]

HIS-201 Modern European Imperialism
[This course focuses on the “new imperialism” of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in which Europeans conquered vast parts of Africa and Asia and attempted to impose a new political and cultural order on the people there. Students will learn about the motives for colonial conquest, politics, and economy of colonialism. They will also study the ways people under colonial rule resisted, contested, or co-opted colonial forms of rule. A considerable amount of the course will focus on imperial culture including the study of issues such as sexuality, architecture, consumption, and medicine. Our course will combine theoretical interpretations with secondary sources and literary primary sources to probe some of the key issues at stake in understanding the politics, culture, and societies of imperialism. This course counts toward the African Studies minor. Offered occasionally.]

HIS-202 Slavery and Freedom in the Atlantic World                                                                                                                             [Slavery and Sugar: One brutal, the other (literally) sweet, together they transformed the Atlantic world—Europe, Africa, the Americas (including the eventual United States)—creating simultaneously unimaginable misery for slaves and unimaginable wealth for the planters and merchants who profited by their labor. This course explores over several centuries and across four continents the emergence, operation, and ultimate demise of the world-altering Atlantic slave system in which Africa centrally figured. The history involved is at once political, social, cultural, economic, legal, and environmental, and encompasses human cruelty, suffering, resilience, resistance, courage, and compassion. Readings include primary and secondary sources. GLOBL, Spring semester, even years.]

POL-250 The Politics of Developing Nations
[The gap between the rich and poor on
a global scale and within domestic contexts is growing. As students of politics, this should concern us. What role does government play in the quality of life of the people of developing nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America? We examine the networked causes of human suffering in these nations stemming from: poverty, violent conflict, culture, corruption, and political and economic instability. We will evaluate the conflicting theories about the North-South gap and how to bridge it. Who is to blame for conditions in the Global South? How do Third World regimes impede human dignity? How has the international power structure through colonialism and neocolonialism contributed to stagnation and/or progress? This course counts toward the African Studies and the Peace Studies minors. GLOBL, Fall semester.]

S/A-244 Extraordinary Lives: Nomadic Pastoralists of Africa & Asia                                                                                                       [This course will offer in-depth analysis of selected topics in sociology and anthropology, such as economic anthropology, rural sociology, and geographical area courses. Special topics course entitled "Extraordinary Lives: Nomadic Pastoralists of Africa & Asia" will count towards African Studies Minor. Offered occasionally.]

S/A-259 The Anthropology of Religion
[This course reviews comparative anthropological approaches to the study of magic, witchcraft, and religion, primarily in non-Western societies. Focus is on the nature, roles, and varieties of belief and myth; ritual and symbolization; religious experience, including drug and non-drug induced trance states and their psycho-cultural dimensions; and magico-religious social organization. The course will emphasize shamanic and spirit possession religions and radical religious movements, such as nativistic and messianic cults. In relation to all of these, anthropological theories of the origins and functions of magic, witchcraft, and religion in social life and personal experience will be critically examined. This course counts toward the African Studies minor and the Religion major/minor. GLOBL, Spring semester.]