African and African Diaspora Studies

African and African Diaspora Studies

View African and African Diaspora Studies web site

The African and African Diaspora Studies program is designed to help students explore, examine, and critically analyze the African presence in a global context. This presence stretches back to antiquity in Europe and Asia, and for centuries in the Americas, but serious and sustained efforts to understand the profoundly rich, dynamic, and complex contributions to the world's civilizations have been lacking. Students are provided background and tools to investigate the agency, experiences, and movements of African and African Diaspora people that span time and place and bridge academic disciplines. The program is a cross-disciplinary study area with course offerings in anthropology and sociology, economics, history, political science, fine arts, literature, language, psychology, and philosophy that address the black experience in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States. The broad goals of the program are to investigate the historical and cultural linkages between African and African Diaspora people and between people of the Diaspora and other groups in the cultures where they live; to examine theories of race and ethnicity; and to explore critical issues and contributions of Diaspora people in major fields of knowledge and aspects of life.

The foundation of the program is the core course AADS 214, Africa and the African Diaspora, which serves as a gateway to the field of African and African Diaspora Studies and a common experience for all students in the program. The course includes scholarship produced by African and African Diaspora scholars that recognizes the intellectual and cultural histories of black people. It introduces students to a broader range of scholarship to provide a thorough grounding in the experiences of peoples of African origin.

The required core course is offered every spring semester and provides a broad overview of the peoples, languages, culture, history, and institutions across the African continent and the African Diaspora. Any student with an interest in pursuing study in this particular area should consult the program coordinator. Formal declaration of intent to complete the program's requirements must be preceded by completion of the core course. Students are encouraged to declare their participation and seek curricular advising early, but no later than the end of the first week of the first semester of the senior year.

Degree Requirements for the Minor

To complete a minor in the African and African Diaspora Studies program, students must satisfy the following requirements designed to provide the depth and breadth of knowledge consistent with the goals of the program.

  1. General College requirements
  2. All requirements in a major discipline of study
  3. A 4-credit core course (AADS 214)
  4. Electives: From the list below, the student must choose at least 16 credit-hours of courses, of which 8 credit-hours must be upper division (300-400 level) courses selected from at least two disciplines. Students must obtain a minimum grade of C in each course.
    • ANTH 303: The Gambia, West Africa Field Study Program (8ASu)
    • ANTH 348: African-American Culture (4AS)
    • ANTH 360: Kinship and Social Organization (4AS)
    • ANTH 390: Cultures of Africa (4AF)
    • ECON 316: Economics of Race and Gender (4S)
    • ECON 425: Econometrics (4AS)
    • ENGL 230: Literary Topics: Literature by Minorities in America (4AS)
    • ENGL 365: Studies in American Literature: Multicultural American Literature
    • ENGL 430: Topics in Literature: American Literature and Music as Social Protest
    • ILCS 363: Literature of the African Diaspora (4)
    • HIST 317: In Our Times, 1945 to the Present (4AF)
    • HIST 360: Early African Civilization (4AF)
    • HIST 361: African Civilization 1800-1900 (4AF)
    • HIST 369: The History of Apartheid (4AS)
    • HIST 400: Comparative Slave Systems in the Americas (4AF)
    • HIST 401: The Caribbean Experience (4AS)
    • HIST 419: African American History in America (4AS)
    • IDIS 316: Black Film (4AS)
    • POSC 336: Politics of Southern Africa (4F)
    • PSYC363: Cross-Cultural Psychology (4AF)
    • RELG 220: Foundations of Islam (4S)
    • SOCI 320: Sociology of the Family (4F)
    • SOCI 347: Minorities (4AF)
    • TFMS 200: Theater in History (4AF)
    • TFMS 220: Introduction to Film and Media Studies (4)
    • TFMS 251: Introduction to Traditional African Dance (4F)
    • TFMS 258: Dance in History (4A)
    • TFMS 325: Documentary Practices (4AS)

Each year the coordinator and participating program faculty will designate other courses, including new courses, topic courses, and special offerings that will satisfy elective requirements. A complete list of approved current offerings will appear in the online "Schedule of Classes."

Students are encouraged to participate in an approved field experience. Credits obtained for such activities will count toward the elective credit-hours. Activities may include study abroad, internships, independent study, directed research, and other hands-on initiatives.

Currently, study-abroad programs exist in The Gambia and Sénégal. Plans are being made to establish programs in Brazil and other countries.

Students may pursue their St. Mary's Project in African and African Diaspora Studies with the permission of their major department and an African and African Diaspora Studies faculty member serving as mentor. Project credit (8 hours) does not apply toward fulfillment of the curriculum requirements of the program.

AADS 214: Africa and the African Diaspora

This course is designed to give students a broad overview of the experiences of Africans and Africans in The Diaspora over the last 500 years and to introduce them to the broad array of concepts and techniques of analysis which have been used and are still being used to describe these experiences. The course is particularly sensitive to how Africans and Africans in the Diaspora have reflected on the processes which have created and sustained the Diaspora and challenges students to think about the ways in which the linkages between Africans and Africans in the Diaspora communities are constantly being tested and re-forged in an international community that marginalizes Africa and in local /national contexts hostile to the claims made by African Diaspora communities. The course will be team-taught by the faculty within the AADS program.