Students who choose to declare a concentration in African American Studies experience a full account of the field and gain practical knowledge of how to conduct independent research in the field. Concentrators graduate from Princeton prepared for a range of professions, as well as graduate work in African American Studies and related disciplines. Concentrators are required to complete 10 units of coursework, which include AAS 201; a junior seminar; and eight additional African American Studies courses; plus a thesis colloquium in their senior year. Concentrators must make race central in their senior thesis and pass a comprehensive oral exam based on this thesis. All courses for the concentration must be taken for a letter grade (no P/D/F).
Course Requirements for Completing the Concentration
Introductory Course (1)
Students take the departmental survey course, AAS 201Introduction to the Study of African American Cultural Practices
At this point, students may notify the Department of their intention to complete the concentration or earn a certificate. 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.
Survey Courses (2)
Students choose and complete two of the following AAS survey courses:
- AAS 353 African American Literature: Origins to 1910 (Pre-20th Century Course)
- AAS 366 African American History to 1863 (Pre-20th Century Course)
- AAS 359 African American Literature: Harlem Renaissance to Present
- AAS 367 African American History Since Emancipation
At least one survey course must be a Pre-20th Century Course.
Junior Seminar (1)
Juniors in the Concentration are required to take AAS 300 Junior Seminar: Research and Writing in African American Studies. This course introduces students to theories and methods of research design in African American Studies in preparation for the Junior Paper.
Subfield Courses (6)
African American Studies is organized into three subfields. A concentrator selects one subfield to focus their studies within.
- African American Culture and Life (AACL)
- Global Race and Ethnicity (GRE)
- Race and Public Policy (RPP)
Concentrators take at least four courses in the African American Studies subfield they have chosen. Concentrators must also take at least one course from each remaining subfield.
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 the reading period. A member of the AAS core faculty leads each colloquium meeting.
Senior Thesis & Exam
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.