Undergraduate Study

Dr. Louis Chude-Sokei lecturing a class of students around a conference table.
Photo by Cydney Scott.

The African American & Black Diaspora Studies major and minor provide an introduction to the study of African Americans and African-descended peoples worldwide. Given the world-shaping impact of slavery and colonialism, the major 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 as 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 & Black Diaspora Studies courses are cross listed with other departments and programs such as History, English, Sociology, International Relations, Economics, Philosophy, Ethnomusicology, Art History, and Religion.

Our Program features focused mentoring for students and regular engagement with faculty. We regularly host world class writers, artists, scholars, activists and cultural/political figures and present conferences, symposia and workshops. These events introduce students to cutting-edge ideas and provide opportunities for networking. Students are able to directly plan and shape their own learning experiences.

Outside the classroom:

Our program sponsors paid internships and hosts academic initiatives outside the classroom that take students to places 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. Prof Birenbaum Quintero leads the annual Spring Break in Cuba study abroad course that allows students to spend a week studying the arts and culture in Cuba for academic credit. We also regularly host social gatherings for Majors and Minors where connections are made and friendships formed while ideas and opinions are encouraged and challenged.

Most importantly, students learn that a Minor or Major in African American & Black Diaspora Studies is a rigorous and exciting intellectual pathway with practical, professional, and cultural applications.