African American Studies

Black Studies encompasses many academic fields that explore the lives, arts, stories, experiences, and politics of African, African American, and African diasporic people. Central to the academic inquiry of Black Studies and related fields are questions of identity, power, othering, belonging, and justice.

As a student in a Black Studies class, you will interrogate how cultures, communities, and identity categories change, shift, and are constructed. You will encounter new ideas about how identity relates to access and power. Not only will you be better prepared with practical skills for careers in an ever-changing world, participating in programs that include Black Studies will transform your existing cultural wealth and knowledge through critical theory.

Black Studies are by their nature interdisciplinary. Programs explore:

  • African American literature and literary arts
  • Black agrarian traditions and Black farmers
  • Black movements in the U.S. and their international connections
  • Politics and political economy, including the role of mass incarceration and transformative justice
  • Black history, including enslavement, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights activism

You will have the chance to link theory to practice through applied, community-based learning opportunities that deal with these topics and more.

Black Studies are explored in related fields of study, especially Ethnic Studies and American Studies.

Faculty Associated With This Field
Title Expertise
Coffey, Kristin creative writing, historical fiction, ethnic american literature
Lal, Prita food justice, social movements, race/gender/class inequality, Black studies
Proctor, Bradley U.S. history, African American history, American studies
Rognas, Liza American history, information resources and library science
Selected Programs 2022-23
Title Class Standing Credits
Capstone in Humanities
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Reclaiming the Commons: Black, White, and Indigenous Peoples Reconstructing Community
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Selected Programs 2023-24
Title Class Standing Credits
America to 2025: Expressive Culture, History, and Identity
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Stylistic Choices: Reading the Works of Melville and Morrison
  • Junior
  • Senior
16