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Africana Studies

Coordinators:
Robert Washington, at Bryn Mawr
Tracey Hucks, at Haverford College

Core Bryn Mawr Faculty:
Michael H. Allen
Linda-Susan Beard
Francis Higginson
Philip L. Kilbride
Lázaro Lima
Elaine Mshomba
Kalala Ngalamulume
Mary Osirim
Robert Washington

Affiliated Faculty:
Koffi Anyinéfa, at Haverford College
Kimberly Benston, at Haverford College
Jody Cohen
Alison Cook-Sather
Vernon Dixon, at Haverford College
Ignacio Gallup-Diaz
Harvey Glickman, at Haverford College
Tracey Hucks, at Haverford College
Anita Isaacs, at Haverford College
Paul Jefferson, at Haverford College
Emma Lapsansky, at Haverford College
Rajeswari Mohan, at Haverford College
Robert Mortimer, at Haverford College
Harriet B. Newburger
Zolani Ngwane, at Haverford College

Africana Studies is a developing field that brings a global frame of reference and a variety of disciplinary perspectives to the study of Africa and the African diaspora. Drawing on the analytical perspectives of anthropology, economics, history, literature studies and linguistics, music, philosophy, political science and sociology, the field encompasses the study of African people and cultures against a background of global social and economic change, both in Africa and in societies worldwide.

Africana Studies is a bi-college program, supported jointly by faculty at both Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. Bryn Mawr offers Africana Studies as a minor that the student can combine with any major. Haverford offers Africana Studies as an area of concentration anchored in the student’s major with additional courses taken in at least two other departments.

Consortium of Universities
The bi-college Africana Studies Program is part of a U.S. Department of Education consortium that also includes the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College. Bryn Mawr and Haverford have the distinction of belonging, with Swarthmore, to the only Africana Studies national consortium that brings together a major research university and liberal arts colleges. As a result of this alliance, students are able to complement offerings at Bryn Mawr and Haverford by taking courses for credit at all four consortium institutions. This may include, for example, undergraduate courses in such areas as African dance and drumming or the study of African languages. Swahili is offered annually as a year-long course at Bryn Mawr. Bryn Mawr sponsors a study-abroad program at the University of Nairobi and participates, with consortium members and other colleges and universities, in similar programs in Zimbabwe, Ghana and Senegal. The bi-college program also offers students opportunities to do study in South Africa.

Both Bryn Mawr’s minor and Haverford’s concentration introduce students to theoretical perspectives and empirical studies of Africa and the African diaspora. In designing an intellectually coherent program, students are advised to organize their course work along one of several prototypical routes. Such model programs might feature:

1. Regional or area studies; for example, focusing on Brazil, the English-speaking Caribbean or North America.
2. Thematic studies; for example, exploring decolonization, class politics, ethnic conflicts and/or economic development in West and East Africa.
3. Comparative studies; for example, problems of development, public health and governance.

Minor Requirements

The requirements for Africana Studies are the following:
1. Students take six semester courses from an approved list of courses in Africana Studies.
2. Students take the one-semester interdisciplinary course Bryn Mawr/Haverford General Studies 101: Introduction to Africana Studies.
3. Students write a senior thesis or seminar-length essay in an area of Africana Studies.

Students are advised to enter this program by taking Bryn Mawr/Haverford General Studies 101: Introduction to Africana Studies. Students are expected to have completed this requirement by the end of the junior year. This course provides a foundation and a frame of reference for students continuing in Africana Studies. This introductory-level work provides students with a common intellectual experience.

The final requirement for the program is a senior thesis or its equivalent. If the student is majoring in a department that requires a thesis, she satisfies the requirement by writing on a topic approved by her department and by the coordinator/committee on Africana Studies. 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/committee on Africana Studies.

Africana Studies courses currently offered at Bryn Mawr include (see descriptions under individual departments):

Anthropology
253. Childhood in the African Experience

History
237. Urbanization in Africa

Political Science
243. African and Caribbean Perspectives in World Politics

Sociology
225. Women in Society: The Southern Hemisphere
229. Black America in Sociological Perspective
330. Comparative Economic Sociology: Societies of the North and South

Africana Studies courses currently offered at Haverford include:

Anthropology
247b. Anthropology and Literature: Ethnography of Black South African Writing 1888-1988

English
270b. Portraits in Black: The Influence of an Emergent African-American Culture
281a. Fictions of Empire
361b. Topics in African-American Literature

French
255a. Cinema français/francophone et colonialisme
312b. Advanced Topics in French Literature

General Programs
101a. Introduction to African and Africana Studies

Philosophy
232a. African-American Philosophy

Political Science
123b. American Politics: Difference and Discrimination
235a. African Politics
264b. Political Economies in Developing Countries

Religion
231b. Religious Themes in African-American Literature
242b. Topics in African-American Religious History
330a. Seminar in the Religious History of African-American Women

Sociology
235b. Class, Race and Education

 
     
 
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