Department of Africana Studies


Michelle Harris, Ph.D., University of Michigan

Associate Professor
Marcia E. Sutherland, Ph.D., Howard University (Department Chair)

Assistant Professor
El-Ra Radney, Ph.D., Michigan State University

David Agum, Ph.D., Temple University
Jennifer J. Thompson Burns, Ph.D., University at Albany, SUNY

Adjuncts (estimated): 6
Graduate Assistants (estimated): 2

The objective of the department is to provide a multi- and interdisciplinary education in African/African American studies and related fields. Students are expected to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the social, political, economic, psychological, and historical consequences of institutional arrangements as they affect the life experiences of African/African American people.

The department offers full programs leading to the B.A. and M.A. degrees. Students may specialize in African studies and African American studies. Sub-areas in African studies are the history, economics, politics, and culture of the following regions: Eastern Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, and Southern Africa. Sub-areas in African American studies include: African American history and culture, urban economic development, central city politics and institutions, African American literature and criticism, and urban planning. Though the major concentrations are Africa and the United States, students may design programs that will enhance their knowledge of other Black cultures; e.g., the Caribbean and Haitian.

Students are prepared for careers in teaching, counseling, state and local social welfare programs, urban planning, administrative program direction, and international relations.

Special Programs and Opportunities
Undergraduate students in the department are provided an opportunity to apply theory through community projects, both within formal courses and other such special programs that may be designed by the department. Students participating in the latter may work directly with New York legislators or legislative committees. For further information contact the Department. Students are also provided an ongoing colloquium series featuring locally and nationally known African and African American scholars. The senior seminar enables students and faculty to explore common research interests.

Degree Requirements for the Major in Africana Studies

General Program B.A.: A minimum of 36 credits to include three of the following five courses: A AFS 101, 142, 219, 286, 287; A AFS 490; additional 24 credits with department courses as advised, to include at least 21 credits at 300 level or above.

Department of Africana Studies Honors Program

The Honors Program in the Department of Africana Studies is designed to enhance the academic excellence of its majors, to forge closer intellectual relationships between students and the faculty, and to prepare students for graduate studies and for their professional careers.

Admission Requirements:
Minimum Overall GPA: 3.25
Minimum GPA in major: 3.50

To be eligible for a degree with honors, the student must have a cumulative grade-point average in University courses of at least 3.25, with a 3.50 minimum grade-point average in the major. Students may apply for admission to the Honors Program as early as the spring semester of the sophomore year. Applications must be submitted to the Director of the Honors Program. The Director of the Honors Program and the Departmental Honors Committee will review the applications.

Required Courses
Students must complete any two of the following courses in the Department of Africana Studies: A AFS 325 (Introduction to Research Methods); A AFS 345 (The Black Novel); A AFS 375 (Black Popular Culture); A AFS 355Z (Introduction to African and African American Poetry), A AFS 320 (Black Nationalism: Political Perspective in Africa), and A AFS 322 (Developing African Nations). Students must complete A AFS 490 the Senior Seminar for African/African American Studies majors as part of the Honors program.

Required Honors Project
The Director of the Honors Program will assist students in the selection of their faculty advisor for their Honors thesis. Students must submit their written Honors project proposal to their faculty advisor for approval. Students will work on a major research project under the careful supervision of their faculty advisor. Students are expected to engage in a critical and in-depth analysis on their chosen topic. The Honors project should be between 40 and 60 pages in length. Students will begin their Honors thesis in A AFS 490. Students must also take A AFS 498 (Topics in African Studies) or A AFS 499 (Topics in African American Studies) to complete the Honors thesis. The thesis will be graded by the faculty advisor. The Honors thesis must be approved by the Director of the Honors Program and at least one other professor on the Honors Committee. Students will make an oral presentation of their thesis at a departmental seminar. The Honors course credits will be counted toward the 36 credits required for majors in Africana Studies.

Honors students in Africana Studies are required to maintain the minimum grade-point average of 3.50 in the major and at least a 3.25 minimum grade-point average in University courses. The Departmental Honors Committee will review the academic performance of each candidate at the completion of the junior year. Students who fail to meet the Honors program’s academic standards during their senior year will be ineligible for a degree with Honors. Students who have successfully completed the program requirements will be recommended to the department by the Departmental Honors Committee to receive the degree with honors in Africana Studies.

Departmental Contact: Dr. Marcia Sutherland