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.
See faculty who teach in Cultural Studies.
How to Choose Your Path
You’ll choose what you study to earn a Bachelor’s degree that’s meaningful to you. Some students decide their programs as they go, while others chart their course in advance.
Aim for both breadth and depth; explore fields that may be related or that may seem very distant. You'll be surprised at what you discover.
If you're new to college, look for programs where you can gain a foundation, build key skills, and broaden your knowledge (FR only, FR-SO, or FR-SR).
If you already have a foundation in this field, look for programs with intermediate or advanced material (SO-SR, JR-SR, or FR-SR). These programs may include community-based learning and in-depth research. Some of these programs have specific prerequisites; check the description for details.
Talk to an academic advisor to get help figuring out what coursework is best for you.
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