African Studies (AFS)

Academic Catalog: 2013–2014

  • Kate Keller (History), Program Director (Fall 2013)
  • Paschal Kyoore (Modern Languages, Literatures, & Cultures), Program Director (On leave, Fall 2013 and January 2014)
  • Elizabeth Baer (English)
  • Lencho Bati (Geography)
  • Mimi Gerstbauer (Political Science)
  • Patric Giesler (Sociology/Anthropology)
  • Anna Jacobson (Sociology/Anthropology)

The African Studies Program has as its mission to create and foster an understand- ing and an appreciation of African societies and cultures In a manner that highlights their past and contemporary contributions. We celebrate and explore the unique- ness, complexity, and the broader implications of African history, artistic perfor- mance, social and cultural forms, politics, economics, and other topical areas. The program is interdisciplinary, seeking Interconnectedness among courses of diverse disciplines, as well as between the African continent and tis global diasporas. The program aims to reinforce how knowledge about Africa is important in the College’s mission to instill an international perspective and a commitment to social justice in our students. As part of its strategic mission, the program hosts guest speakers and performers who are specialists In one or more disciplines with a focus on Africa for the benefit of the campus and the wider community.

The African Studies minor is designed to offer students an opportunity to study about the African continent and its peoples through varied courses across the cur- riculum. The wealth and the diversity of cultures and experiences of African peoples and nations is the focus of these courses. In taking these courses with a focus on Africa, students are encouraged to critically examine the connections between African phenomena and the heritage that was carried over to the African diaspora in the Americas and other parts of the world. As a program that embraces interna- tional experience, it also encourages students to take advantage of opportunities that the college offers to study abroad in an African country.

African Studies is an interdisciplinary field that engages the historical, political, social, economic, and cultural experiences of Africans and peoples of African descent, as well as the aesthetic dimensions of these experiences through their art and literature. In that, the program enhances the educational development of students and enables them to develop an appreciation for the contributions that Africans have made to world history and civilization.

Career Opportunities: A minor in African Studies offers graduates career opportu- nities in areas such as psychology, education, human development, history, anthro- pology etc. Graduates with an African Studies background can find employment
in government, international development agencies, human service especially in immigrant communities, counseling service, Foreign Service, and the Peace Corps, among others. Moreover, a minor in African Studies helps to develop the whole person as it is the college’s mission to prepare graduates to be educated and well- informed citizens of the world. Africa is a continent that is often misrepresented and its people misunderstood. This program offers wonderful opportunities for students to develop their critical and analytical skills in assessing the perceptions, under- standings, and misunderstandings of African peoples as well as their significant contributions to humankind. Graduates of the program will be in a better position to understand the complex experiences of Africans over space and time.

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

Requirements for the Minor in African Studies: Six courses that include the following:

  1. AFS-190 Introduction to Africa
  2. Electives: Five courses from the list of approved 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 may 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. No more than three courses may be accepted for transfer from a study-abroad program in Africa. Also, special topic courses that focus entirely on Africa can count toward the minor.

Core Courses: (take 3 courses)

  • ENG-101 Reading in the World, “African Literature and Film”
  • FRE-364 Francophone African /Caribbean Literatures and Cultures FRE-367 Le Maghreb
  • GEG-235 Sub-Saharan Africa
  • GWS-264 African Women: Tradition and Modernity
  • HIS 150 Modern Africa
  • HIS-251 Africa Since 1945
  • IDS-260 Myth and Reality in African Cinema
  • S/A-258 African Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean

Complementary Courses: (take 2 courses)

  • ENG-130 Introduction to World Literature
  • ENG 281 Postcolonial Literatures in English
  • GEG-102 World Regional Geography
  • HIS-201 Modern European Imperialism
  • POL-250 The Politics of Developing Nations
  • S/A-259 The Anthropology of Religion

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

African Studies Courses

190 Introduction to Africa (1 course) The 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 role in contemporary 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. This course is required for the minor in African Studies. NWEST. Fall semester.