Directors: Chielo Eze

Educational Associate: Cameron Kelley

Africana Studies, or AFST, provides a cross-cultural and historically comparative framework to study the rich connections and exchanges among African people, their descendants, and the various “new worlds” in which they have made and are making their lives.

Can I major in it? Students may pursue this interdisciplinary course of study as a major or a minor.

Topics explored: Combining area and ethnic studies, AFST examines the cultural, literary, political, social, and intellectual responses to slavery, colonialism, missionization, and racialization throughout Africa and its many diasporas.

Through multidisciplinary training, students are encouraged to develop their analytic, research, and literary skills. Doing so, they acquire the intellectual tools to critique and correct the distortions and silences about Africans and their descendants in both academic canons and public discourse.

How to get started: We offer a number of pathways into Africana Studies. The best way to get started is to take one of our interdisciplinary gateway courses, marked with the AFST prefix. These courses change from year to year.

Another great way to get started is by taking a “survey” course, which is an introduction to Africana Studies within a specific discipline, e.g. History, Art History, or English. You can follow that by sampling from our wide array of distribution courses.

New Courses to Consider

AFST 120 Race and Racism Outside the U.S. – Professor Daniel Williams (6 credits)

In this course, we examine the ways that race structures difference and inequality in non-U.S. contexts with varying degrees of racial “diversity.” As a construct fundamentally grounded in white supremacy through encounters between Europe and its “Others,” race from its inception has been a global construct for organizing and stratifying human difference. Yet the specific ways that race is constructed varies across societies, with ethnicity and other related concepts of difference substituting for race. Foundational to this course will be how the notions of blackness and whiteness figure into the creation of racial categories, boundaries, and inequalities. Course topics include skin color stratification, “colorblindness,” ethnicity and nationhood, migration and citizenship, media representations, anti-blackness as a global phenomenon, transnational and global flows of racial ideas and categories, and social movements for racial justice.

SOAN 214 Neighborhoods and Cities: Inequalities and Identities – Daniel Williams (6 credits)

Inequalities and identities are well understood yet too often disconnected from the context of space and place. In this class, we discuss the ways that neighborhoods and cities are sites of inequality as well as identity. Neighborhoods are linked to the amount of wealth we hold; the schools we attend; the goods, services, and resources we have access to; and who our neighbors are. Neighborhoods are also spaces where identities and community are created, claimed, and contested. They can also be sites of conflict as they change through gentrification or other processes that often reflect inequalities of power, resources, and status. In this course, special attention will be paid to how race, gender and sexuality, and immigration shape inequalities and identity in neighborhoods and cities. This course will also include an academic civic engagement component, collaborating with local communities in Minnesota.

Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above.