African and Africana Studies concentrators and students hone sophisticated global frames of reference and dynamic research methods in order to study continental Africa and the African diaspora.
Drawing on anthropology, economics, history, linguistics, literature, music, philosophy, political science, and sociology, students analyze and interpret processes of emancipation, decolonization, development, and globalization in Africa proper and in societies with populations of African origin.
African and Africana Studies is a Bi-College program, offered as a minor at Bryn Mawr or as an area of concentration for students at Haverford majoring in certain disciplines. The concentration at Haverford is open to majors in which at least two African and Africana Studies courses are offered. The African and Africana Studies program also belongs to a consortium with Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania, allowing concentrators to access resources and courses at all four participating institutions.
- Study continental Africa and various African diasporas through a global frame of reference.
- Understand how the African continent has been linked for centuries to transcontinental movements of people, money, ideas, and things.
- Study African political and cultural history and African diasporic movements and the links between them.
- Understand how a variety of methodological approaches or disciplinary perspectives, including anthropology, economics,
history, linguistics, literature, music, philosophy, political science, and sociology, can be used to analyze social life and practices in Africa and its diasporas and understand global trade, slavery, emancipation, decolonization, and development against a background of international economic change in Africa itself and in societies worldwide with populations of African origin.
- Examine the values and beliefs of persons and communities in multiple African societies as a way to critically and comparatively engage European and American history and philosophy.
- Examine African peoples’ responses to racialized Atlantic slave trade, colonization, and globalization in order to cultivate a theoretical understanding of social change processes.
The African and Africana Studies curriculum is organized to help students develop a global understanding of African societies and experiences throughout the African diaspora. A key to realizing this goal is students’ capacities to relate disparate materials from cognate disciplines to their concentrated research in African and Africana Studies. Because African and Africana Studies concentrators must take courses in various fields and disciplines, it is vital that they have an opportunity to historically, conceptually, and theoretically frame their coursework in the concentration. To that end, concentrators in the African and Africana Studies program must take a foundation course at either Haverford or Bryn Mawr College. Students may satisfy this requirement by taking either AFST 101A, “Introduction to African and Africana Studies” or HIST 102a, “Introduction to Africana Civilizations.”
Students are advised to complete one of the two foundation course options as early as possible, ideally during the first two years, and by no later than the junior year.
- Concentrators must take either AFST 101a, “Introduction to African and Africana Studies” (Haverford College) or HIST 102A, “Introduction to Africana Civilizations” (BMC).
- Other than the required introductory course, students must complete five additional courses from a list approved by the concentration coordinator.
- At least two, and no more than three, courses must be completed in the departmental major.
- At least three African and Africana Studies courses must be taken in at least two departments outside of the major.
- At least one of the required courses must deal with the African diaspora.
- Concentrators must complete either a senior thesis or seminar-length essay in an area of African and Africana Studies.
Students majoring in a department that requires a thesis satisfy the requirement by writing on a topic approved by their department and by the coordinator(s) of the African and Africana Studies program. If the major department does not require a thesis, an equivalent written exercise that is a seminar-length essay is required. The essay may be written within the framework of a particular course or as an independent study project. The topic must be approved by the instructor in question and by the coordinator(s) of the African and Africana Studies program. Successful completion of the African and Africana Studies minor/concentration is noted on students’ final transcripts.