Students gather for an African American Studies’ Minors Dinner
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 other departments and programs—History, English, Sociology, International Relations, Economics, Philosophy, Ethnomusicology, Art History, Religion, and Women’s, 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 with a focus on public humanities, and with students studying in the Questrom School of Business, College of Fine Arts, School of Public Health, and the School of Social Work.
The Minor in African American Studies is composed of six courses. Three required courses, CAS AA 371 African American History, CAS AA 591 Black Thought, CAS AA 408 Seminar:Ethnic, Race, and Minority Relations, and three electives from a wide range of options. In addition, a student may double-count two of those three electives, applying them to your major’s requirements. Many of our courses are BU HUB designated courses and some also carry the CAS Core/Divisional Studies requirements: AA 103/EN 129 Introduction to African American Literature qualifies for both HUB/CAS Humanities credit and AA 207/SO 207 Race and Ethnic Relations, likewise qualifies for HUB/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 Spring Break in Cuba course that allows students to spend a week studying the arts and culture in 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, a short walk from Marsh Chapel in the center of campus, is located at 138 Mountfort Street, across the St. Mary’s St. Bridge from Comm Ave.(See map below)