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Africana Studies

Students may complete a minor in Africana Studies.


Robert Washington
Susanna Wing, at Haverford College

Advisory Committee Members

Michael H. Allen
Linda-Susan Beard
Francis Higginson
Philip L. Kilbride
Elaine Mshomba
Kalala Ngalamulume
Mary Osirim

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 within the context of increasing globalization and dramatic social, economic and political changes.

Bryn Mawr's Africana Studies Program participates in a U.S. Department of Edu-cation-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 in our program by enrolling in courses offered by the three other participating institutions. Also, Bryn Mawr's Africana Studies Program sponsors a study abroad semester at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and participates in other 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 (GNST 101). This introductory level course, which provides students with a common intellectual experience as well as the foundation for subsequent courses 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 GNST 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 blacks in Latin America, the English-speaking Caribbean or North America .
  2. Thematic emphases; for example, exploring class politics, ethnic conflicts and/or economic development in West and East Africa .
  3. Comparative emphases; for example, problems of development, governance, public health 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 both the instructor in question and the Africana Studies Program coordinator.

Africana studies courses currently offered at Bryn Mawr include:

ENGL B262 African American Literature
ENGL B279 Introduction to African Literature
GNST B103 Introduction to Swahili Language and Culture I
GNST B105 Introduction to Swahili Language and Culture II
HIST B102 Introduction to African Civilizations
HIST B236 African History: Africa since 1800
HIST B237 Themes in Modern African History: Urbanization in Africa
HIST B336 Topics in African History: Social and Cultural History of Medicine
HIST B339 Making of the African Diaspora
SOCL B215 Challenges and Dilemmas of Diversity
SOCL B229 Black America in Sociological Perspective
SOCL B338 The New African Diaspora

Africana studies courses currently offered at Haverford include:

BIOL H124 Perspectives in Biology: Tropical Infectious Disease
FREN H250 Introduction à la Littérature Francophone
FREN H312 Classiques africains
POLS H123 American Politics: Difference and Discrimination
POLS H230 The Politics of Genocide: Deterring, Overcoming, Terminating
POLS H230 Topics in Comparative Politics
RELG H137 Introduction to Black Religion and Liberation Thought
RELG H231 Religious Themes in African American Literature
RELG H242 The Religious Writings of James Baldwin
RELG H318 Religion, Modernity and Colonialism
RELG H330 Seminar in the Religious History of African-American Women


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