The overall mission of the Africana studies program is to provide Lafayette students and the general Lafayette community with access to courses, symposia, lectures, exposure to the arts, and other programming that inform us about the history and cultures of the African continent and the many diverse African diaspora communities throughout the world.

Through ongoing engagement with the most recent scholarship on these subjects, as well as with traditional benchmark works that are foundational in the study of these topics in the academy, the program strives to inform and stimulate students on the subject of the role of Africa in the formation of the modern world and its ongoing impact and participation in globalization processes.

Our approach is transnational and interdisciplinary, and we seek to further understanding between and across communities as well as to motivate students to see themselves as vivid and dynamic civic leaders who further the cause of public ineffectual engagement.

While the Africana studies program commits to support and operate study abroad experiences that enhance student understanding of Africa and its diaspora communities, we also aim to help our students engage in the local and to develop a firm understanding of development and standard of living issues as they impact African Americans and other diaspora communities in our local environments.

In this interdisciplinary major, students combine methods of the traditional disciplines (history, literature and languages, music, anthropology and sociology, art history, folklore, religion, economics, philosophy, political science) in analyzing the experiences, problems, and questions at the center of the social, cultural, and political thought and actions of peoples of African heritage. They are encouraged to pursue a coordinate major.

Many students have double majors. Look under Courses for descriptions.

Majors are encouraged to participate in field work through research leading to an honors thesis, internships, course-related work in local communities, and study abroad in Africa, the Caribbean, or Latin America.

Majors are prepared for further study in Africana studies and will find programs at many prestigious graduate schools including Yale, Columbia, University of California–Los Angeles, Wisconsin, and Howard University. They are prepared for careers in business, international organizations, government, teaching, medicine, and law. Some pursue careers in diplomatic services or global corporations that require experts able to operate in culturally diverse environments.

Requirements for the A.B. major

Four core courses from Africana studies and five other elective courses or linked curriculum courses.

Requirements for the minor

Two core courses from Africana studies and two upper-level electives.

Honors: Students who meet College and major requirements may submit a written proposal for approval during their junior year or early part of their senior year for an honors thesis. Students pursuing honors will be allowed to substitute first-semester AFS 495 for AFS 400.