Undergraduate Concentration

Undergraduate Concentration in Africana Studies

Africana Studies presents a broad range of courses that engage with the histories, ideas, social and political life of Africa and the African Diaspora, including literature, the arts, cultural studies, history, politics, philosophy, feminism, and the legacy of scientific racism. This array of topics serves our concentrators (and others who take our classes) as they build an intellectual foundation of critical thinking and analysis that supports them in their academic, professional, and personal lives.


The concentration has four main objectives:

  • To understand the evolution of artistic, cultural, intellectual, and political traditions of Africa and the Diaspora.

  • To gain a deeper understanding of how and in what ways slavery, colonialism, and conceptions of race have shaped the modern world.

  • To acquire competency in the theories, epistemologies, and methodologies of the Africana Studies discipline and broader interdisciplinary scholarship.

  • To prepare students to assume roles as skilled and informed citizens, scholars, and career professionals informed by critical thinking and global perspectives.

Concentrators are expected to complete nine semester-long courses offered within or cross-listed with the Department. Six of the nine must be taught by Africana Studies core faculty (and have AFRI-prefixes). Up to two can be cross-listed. In some cases, Concentrators may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the acceptance of other appropriate courses. 

The following courses are required as part of the six core-faculty courses:

  • AFRI 0090: An Introduction to Africana Studies

  • AFRI 1330: Junior Seminar

  • AFRI 1360: Knowledge, Texts, and Methodology (Spring Senior Seminar)

As a supplement to this coursework, the Department strongly encourages study in Africa, the Caribbean, or Latin America during the student’s junior year. The Department also encourages the acquisition of languages spoken in Africa and throughout the Diaspora. Concentrators who study abroad or acquire certified language competency in some other fashion are welcome to petition the Department for credit, pending assessment. 

Have questions? Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Françoise Hamlin.


Department Honors Program

Concentrators with outstanding academic records, those that demonstrate excellent research and writing skills from course selections to grades, may be admitted to the Department’s Honors Program. Proposal guidelines are available here.

By the end of the summer of the third year, the Honor's candidate should be familiar with the secondary works in the field. (Secondary readings should be extensive and be incorporated into the final proposal, due Monday, September 14, 2020.) The student should also identify a second reader at this point.  The final work plan/proposal, not to exceed three (3) typewritten pages, should incorporate the summer research findings and updates to the completion deadline.  The final proposal must be approved and signed by a committee, comprised of the faculty advisor who is to direct the Honor's thesis, the second reader, and the concentration advisor. By the end of week three of the first senior semester, the thesis advisor should inform the Director of Undergraduate Studies by email that the proposal has been approved.

The Honor's candidate should complete at least one chapter of distinguished quality while enrolled in an independent study with their faculty advisor during the first semester of the senior year.  Students must enroll in at least one, preferably two, semesters of independent study to work on their thesis.

For students completing graduation requirements by Semester II (Spring), a first complete draft of the thesis should be submitted by Friday, February 26, 2021. The final draft of the thesis should be submitted by Friday, March 19, 2021. Students must submit bound copies of the final thesis to the department and to each of their readers, along with an electronic copy of the completed thesis to the Academic Department Manager. All students are expected to formally present their thesis projects in the Department of Africana Studies on Friday, April 9, 2021 at a time to be determined. After this presentation, a department committee will make recommendations for honors to the Director of Undergraduate Studies and students will receive notification of the recommendation.


Important Dates

Monday, September 14, 2020 - Final Proposal Due, Second Reader Identified

Friday, February 26, 2o21 - Full Thesis Draft Due

Friday, March 19, 2021 - Final Thesis Due

Friday, April 2, 2021 - Presentations/Concentration Day

Friday, April 9, 2021 - Deadline to Notify DOC of Honors