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Africana Studies

Students may complete a minor in Africana studies.


Robert Washington
Tracey Hucks, at Haverford College

The Africana Studies Program brings a global outlook to the study of Africa and the African diaspora. Drawing on analytical perspectives from anthropology, history, literary studies, political science and sociology, the program focuses on African people and African cultures against a background of increasing globalization and dramatic social, economic and political change.

Bryn Mawr’s Africana Studies Program participates in a U.S. Department of Education-supported consortium with Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges and the University of Pennsylvania. Through this consortium, Bryn Mawr students have an opportunity to take a broad range of courses beyond those offered at Bryn Mawr by enrolling in courses offered by the three other participating institutions. Bryn Mawr’s Africana Studies Program sponsors a study abroad semester at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and participates in similar study abroad programs offered by its consortium partners in Zimbabwe, Ghana and Senegal.

Students are encouraged to begin their work in the Africana Studies Program by taking Introduction to Africana Studies (General Studies 101). This introductory level course, which provides students with a common intellectual experience as well as a foundation for subsequent work in Africana studies, should be completed by the end of the student’s junior year.

Minor Requirements

The requirements for a minor in Africana studies are the following:

  1. One-semester interdisciplinary course Bryn Mawr/Haverford General Studies 101: Introduction to Africana Studies.
  2. Six semester courses from an approved list of courses in Africana studies.
  3. A senior thesis or seminar-length essay in an area of Africana studies.

Students are encouraged 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 emphases; for example, exploring decolonization, class politics, ethnic conflicts and/or economic development in West and East Africa.
  3. Comparative emphases; for example, problems of development, public health, governance or family and gender.

The final requirement for the Africana studies minor is a senior thesis or its equivalent. If the department in which the student is majoring requires a thesis, she can satisfy the Africana studies requirement by writing on a topic that is approved by her department and the Africana Studies Program coordinator. 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 Africana Studies Program coordinator.

Africana studies courses currently offered at Bryn Mawr include:

ANTH B253 Childhood in the African Experience
ARCH B101 The Uses of the Past: Introduction to Egyptian and near Eastern Archaeology
CITY B266 Schools in American Cities
CITY B338 The New African Diaspora
EDUC B200 Critical Issues in Education
EDUC B266 Schools in American Cities
ENGL B263 Toni Morrison and the Art of Narrative Conjure
ENGL B362 African American Literature
GNST B101 African Civilizations: An Interdisciplinary Introduction to Africana Studies
GNST B103 Introduction to Swahili Language and Culture I
GNST B105 Introduction to Swahili Language and Culture II
HIST B203 High Middle Ages
HIST B303 Topics in American History
POLS B243 African and Carribbean Perspectives in World Politics
SOCL B215 Challenges and Dilemmas of Diversity: Racial and Ethnic Relations in American Society
SOCL B338 The New African Diaspora

Africana studies courses currently offered at Haverford include:

ANTH H205B Social Anthropology
ENGL H270A Portraits in Black: The Influence of an Emergent African American Culture
ENGL H363B Topics in American Literature: John Brown’s Body: Violence, National Fantasy and
PHIL H233B Philosophy and Race
POLS H123B American Politics: Difference and Discrimination
POLS H235B African Politics

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