The African American Studies minor provides an introduction to the study of African Americans and African-descended peoples worldwide. Given the world-shaping impact of slavery and colonialism, the minor is focused also on the cultural and intellectual products produced by Black peoples globally. Courses are designed to make students aware of a myriad of approaches to this material as well as a wide range of cultural products and social and historical experiences. We are, however, ultimately geared towards a balance between critical thinking and practical applications. Our goal is to prepare students to be leaders in a world increasingly complicated by issues such as race, culture, gender and immigration as they intersect with the experiences of Black peoples.
In keeping with our interdisciplinary nature, African American Studies courses are cross listed with several other departments and programs—History, English, Sociology, International Relations, Economics, Art History, Religion, and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Other connections exist as well, such as with the Initiative on Cities, with their Urban Studies Minor, American and New England Studies and its focus on Public Humanities, and even students studying in The Questrom School of Business, Social Work and other programs including in the Sciences.
The Minor in African American Studies is composed of six courses. Two are required (AA371/HI371: African American History and AA591/EN591: Black Thought) and the other four are electives from a wide range of options. In addition, a student may double-count two of those four electives, applying them to your major’s requirements. Other options for study include the choice of one of our two courses that fulfill Core/Divisional Studies requirements: AA 103/EN 129 Introduction to African American Literature which qualifies for CAS Humanities credit and AA 207/SO 207 Race and Ethnic Relations, which likewise qualifies as CAS Social Sciences credit.
Though we have grown exponentially in the last few years, our Program features focused mentoring and regular engagement with faculty. We regularly host or co-host world class writers, artists, scholars, activists and cultural/political figures and present conferences, symposia and workshops. These events introduce students to ground zero work and cutting-edge ideas while providing opportunities for networking. They also involve students directly in planning and helping shape their own experiences of learning. Also, there are academic outings that take students throughout Boston and beyond, from the Black Heritage Trail, the Museum of Science, and Huntington Theatre productions to exhibitions and installations of African American art in Western Massachusetts. We also have an annual course that takes students to Cuba for academic credit. In our social gatherings connections are made and friendships formed while ideas and opinions are encouraged and challenged. Most important, students learn that a Minor in African American Studies is nothing less than a rigorous and exciting intellectual pathway with eminently practical professional and cultural manifestations.
The African American Studies Program is located on South Campus at 138 Mountfort Street, across St. Mary’s St. Bridge from Comm Ave.
If you’d like to know more, please contact Dr. Mary Anne Boelcskevy, Director of Undergraduate Studies, at email@example.com or 617-358-1422.