Concentrators are required to complete 10 courses: AAS 201; a junior seminar; and eight additional African American Studies courses. Of the eight African American Studies courses, students are required to take two survey courses, one with pre-20th century emphasis (AAS 353, AAS 366), the other with emphasis on the 20th century to the present (AAS 359, AAS 367). All students are required to complete four courses in their chosen subfield and one course in each of the two remaining subfields. Students are permitted to take two approved cognate courses in other departments. Concentrators will complete the junior and senior independent work and a departmental comprehensive examination. Students must also participate in the Senior Colloquium.
Admission to the Program
Prerequisite for entry into the African American Studies concentration is the successful completion on a graded basis of the core course, AAS 201 Introduction to the Study of African American Cultural Practices.
Early concentration is open to spring semester sophomores who have completed the prerequisite for entry into the department by the end of the fall semester of sophomore year. It allows students to make an early start on independent work and is especially useful for students planning to study abroad junior year.
AAS Concentration Course of Study
Students who choose to declare a concentration in African American Studies experience a fuller account of the field, preparing them for a range of professions, as well as graduate work in African American Studies.
The exact steps to complete the concentration are as follows:
1.) Students take the departmental survey course, AAS 201 Introduction to the Study of African American Cultural Practices.
2.) Students choose and complete two AAS survey courses. (Either two pre-20th century courses, or one pre-20th century course and one 20th century course.)
Pre-20th Century Survey Course Options:
• AAS 353 African American Literature: Origins to 1910
• AAS 366 African American History to 1863
20th Century Survey Course Options:
• AAS 359 African American Literature: Harlem Renaissance to Present
• AAS 367 African American History from Reconstruction to the Present
At least one survey course should be a pre-20th century course.
Together, these core survey courses give concentration students a strong base in African American Studies.
3.) Students prepare for independent writing and researching by choosing a subfield in African American Studies to focus their studies.
African American Studies Subfields:
• African American Culture and Life
• Global Race and Ethnicity
• Race and Public Policy
Subfields are clearly defined and associated with specific courses. The scholarly work of faculty members are also generally associated with subfield(s). Students should take this into account as they consider who they will seek as advisors for their independent writing and research.
4) Four courses must be taken in the chosen subfield, with one course taken in each of the remaining two subfields. The remaining two courses may be approved cognate courses in other departments.
5) In addition, the AAS junior seminar must be taken in the fall term of the junior year for a total of 10 courses.
In total, ten courses are required for the concentration.
Concentrators are also required to demonstrate proficiency by completing independent writing and research.
1.) In the fall of their junior year, students participate in a junior seminar with African American Studies faculty members and write a paper.
2.) In the spring of their junior year, students follow-up on the work of the junior seminar and complete independent research in order to write a junior paper that incorporates African American Studies.
3.) Seniors complete independent reading and research to develop a senior thesis that incorporates African American Studies and their chosen subfield.
4.) Seniors workshop the senior thesis they are in the process of writing in a Senior Colloquium with peers who are also concentrating in African American Studies.
5.) Seniors take a comprehensive oral exam derived from the work of their thesis.
Junior Year. During the fall term all juniors will participate in a colloquium with a member or members of the faculty. Students are expected to produce a research paper at the conclusion of the colloquium. The paper should be related to the topic of the junior seminar. In the spring term, juniors will complete independent work that includes independent reading and the writing of the junior paper working with a faculty advisor.
Senior Year. During the senior year each student, with the guidance of a faculty advisor, must complete independent work, which consists of writing a thesis. The senior thesis will then serve as the basis of the senior comprehensive exam.
Concentrators are required to participate in the Senior Colloquium, which seeks to provide a space for seniors concentrating in African American Studies to reflect upon their experiences within the Department, and upon how the understanding and insight they have gained here can and should influence their lives beyond graduation. The Senior Colloquium meets a total of six times per term, and once during reading period. A member of the AAS core faculty leads each colloquium meeting.
Senior Departmental Examination
The comprehensive examination in the department consists of an oral examination based on the senior thesis and related topics.