African and African American Studies

African and African American studies (AAAS) majors critically examine African and Diaspora experiences, institutions and perspectives, with particular focus on the ways in which gender/sex, class, racial capitalism and ideological theories have shaped the lives of Black peoples.

Collage of historical and prominent African and African American figures
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100%
of 2017-2019 graduates from the African and African American studies program reported a career outcome within six months of graduation.
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Careers
Top job industries for African and African American studies majors include education and community and social services.
Outcomes

African and African American studies majors go on to pursue law school, medical school and graduate school at institutions such as the University of Rochester, Columbia, Tufts, Northwestern, Ohio State, Northeastern and Boston universities.

Tracking and engaging Black humanity

Our faculty includes the authors of an award-winning text Along the Streets of Bronzeville: Black Chicago’s Literary Landscape and a revelant publication (Everywhere) Ferguson and the Socio-Religious Challenge of Hip Hop Culture.

As a student, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue courses and small-group collaborative faculty-student research with faculty whose teaching and scholarly interests from Civil Rights history to the culture of Hip Hop. African and African American studies majors have participated in off-campus study and research in Tanzania, Senegal, London, Ghana, Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, South Africa, Haiti, New York City, Martinique and Ecuador.

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Multiple perspectives

Our faculty and courses come from a range of departments, including history, English, languages and cultures, philosophy, politics, religion and sociology/anthropology.

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Popular course

Religion and Culture of Hip Hop explores written texts, music, film and other media sources to better understand the definition and moral significance of Hip Hop as a religious and wider cultural phenomenon.

AAAS Faculty

Our faculty

Because they also teach in the departments of history, English, languages and cultures, philosophy, politics, religion and sociology/anthropology, our faculty bring a diverse range of academic perspectives to this major.

Program details

African and African American studies students take courses in history, literature, politics and culture and complete a senior capstone experience.

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of their general education, students complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, students meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in African and African American Studies, you must complete the following courses, in addition to general education requirements:

  • AAAS 114 Introduction to African and African American Studies
  • AAAS 488 Senior Capstone Experience
  • At least one of the available courses entitled AAAS 240/340 Topics/Advanced Topics in African and African American Studies
  • Four African American core courses:
    • AAAS 204 African American Literature
    • AAAS 230 History of African American Religious Experiences
    • AAAS 368 African American History to Emancipation
    • AAAS 369 African American History since Emancipation
  • At least two of the following African courses, one from each grouping:
    • Group one:
      • AAAS 231 History of Africa to 1880
      • AAAS 232 History of Africa since 1880
    • Group two:
      • AAAS 376 West Africa
      • AAAS 377 East Africa
      • AAAS 378 History of South Africa
      • AAAS 352 Politics of Africa
      • AAAS 359 African Democracy and Dictatorship

View a full list of AAAS courses and their descriptions.

Yes! To earn a minor in AAAS, you must complete the following courses:

  • AAAS 114 Introduction to African and African American Studies
  • AAAS 204 African American Literature
  • AAAS 231 History of Africa to 1880 OR AAAS 232 History of Africa since 1880
  • AAAS 368 African American History to Emancipation OR AAAS 369 African American History since Emancipation
  • One additional AAAS course

View a full list of AAAS courses and their descriptions.

African and African American studies graduates pursue law school, medical school and graduate school at such institutions as the University of Rochester, Columbia, Tufts, Northwestern, Ohio State, Northeastern and Boston universities.

Recent graduates have landed jobs with the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Legal Rights Center, and the University of Georgia. Their jobs have been in a range of fields, including education, community and social services, law, research and administration.

If you’re looking for a multi-disciplinary major that will let you explore the experiences of Black people, this is the major for you. The African and African American Studies major will prepare you to critically examine today’s society. Many graduates go on to work in fields that allow them to help others through law, social services, research, education and even business and entrepreneurship.

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