Undergraduate Concentration

Undergraduate Concentration

Africana Studies presents a different conceptual paradigm  that connects  the global black experience.  Africana  Studies engages issues about historical and contemporary responses to local and global crises.  It engages with how people of color create their own knowledge culturally and politically.  It is  oftentimes a critique of how forms of knowledge are produced. Concentrators acquire a host of interdisciplinary skills that allow them to ask questions about the world around them, and forms of  knowledge production while  developing critical analytical skills.  Our concentrators deploy these skills in  other classes, enriching  their own general intellectual development. 

In order to develop requisite competency in the discipline of Africana Studies, concentrators must complete eight (8) semester-long courses offered by or cross-listed with the Department. Six (6) courses must have an AFRI prefix or be offered by Africana Studies core faculty.  Two (2) courses can be cross-listed.  In some cases, Concentrators may petition the Department to accept other appropriate courses. Of these 8 courses, the following Africana Studies courses are required:

AFRI 0090 An Introduction to Africana Studies

AFRI 1360 Africana Studies: Knowledge, Texts, and Methodology 
Senior Capstone Seminar. Spring ONLY

Please note: Beginning with the class of 2021, the concentration will be comprised of a total of 9 courses, which will include a junior seminar.

The Department strongly encourages foreign study in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America, during the student’s junior year of concentration. Although the Africana Studies Department actively supports programs in South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Brazil, and the English-Speaking Caribbean, at least six (6) courses must be completed in the department and taught by core faculty.

The Department also encourages the acquisition of language competencies, in addition to English, which are spoken in Africa and the diaspora. Since no continental African language is currently offered at Brown, concentrators who study abroad and acquire certified competency in any African language are welcome to petition the department for competency credit.

For more information about the concentration, please contact Professor Lundy Braun, Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Honors in Africana Studies

Africana Studies’ concentrators with outstanding academic records (demonstration of excellent research and writing skills from course selections to grades) may be admitted to the department’s Honors Program.

Students interested in pursuing honors should identify a faculty sponsor in Africana Studies (chosen from Core Faculty or affliliated faculty after Chair agreement) in their 6th semester and begin working on their thesis project during the summer before their senior year. By the end of the sisth semester, while working in consultation with a faculty advisor, the student must submit a rough draft of the project proposal. Click here for proposal guidelines. This preliminary plan should include a timeline for completion of the thesis and is not to exceed one (1) typewritten page. This plan should also include a bibliography that students have developed with their thesis advisor to guide their summer reading.

By the end of the summer, 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.) 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 tow, semesters of independent study to work on their thesis.

For students completing graduation requirements by the end of Semester I (Fall), a first complete draft of the thesis should be completed by November 9, 2017. Final drafts must be submitted by December 1, 2017. For students completing graduation requirements by Semester II (Spring), a first complete draft of the thesis should be submitted by March 16, 2018. The final draft of the thesis should be submitted by April 20, 2018. 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 April 27, 2018 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.