African American Studies

African American Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to the varied social, economic, political, literary, artistic, and cultural aspects of the African American experience. This minor is open to all students and can be tailored to meet a student’s intellectual and professional goals. These courses benefit anyone wishing to incorporate concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion into their major areas of study.

Because this is an interdisciplinary minor, only two courses from one discipline will count toward a minor in that field. For example, a student minoring in both African American Studies and History could take four history courses for African American Studies, but only two would count toward a History minor.

Majors & Programs


AF 176: Introduction to African American Studies

This course is an introductory survey of African American Studies. Readings will include works of fiction, non-fiction, drama, and verse, from Phyllis Wheatley (b 1735) to D-Knowledge (b 1970); various forms of oral expression and music, from speeches of Sojourner Truth and Malcolm X, from spirituals to hip-hop; and artists from Jacob Lawrence to Kara Walker, and cultural critics/ intellectuals W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., bell hooks, and Cornell West. Discussions will include overlapping theoretical, artistic, and historical issues: questions of assimilation, the Middle Passage, Slave Narratives, the Abolition Movement, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights movement, Black Nationalism, Womanism, the “Sundown Towns” of Illinois, writing as witness, and political resistance, among others.