Program Requirements and Opportunities
Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare a major before the end of the sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.
The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.
The Bryn Mawr Africana Studies Program brings an international vantage to the study of Africa and its diasporas. Drawing on analytical and affective perspectives from anthropology, dance, economics, history, literary studies, languages, political science, religion, international studies, the health sciences, education, the fine arts, museum studies, creative writing, and sociology, the Program focuses on Africa and peoples of African descent within the context of increasing globalization and dramatic cultural, economic, and political change. We are also grounded in rigorous study of the past through competing historiographies and the use of science in the creation and deployment of the construct of race.
In consortial relationship with Haverford College, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr offers its students the opportunity to take a broad range of courses by enrolling in courses offered by all participating institutions. The African Studies Center at Penn offers courses and specialized language training which our students utilize. (African language courses should be used to satisfy the student's foreign language requirement.) Moreover, Bryn Mawr students participate in study abroad programs offered in South Africa. Bryn Mawr and Haverford students may also participate in the Dalun Bi-Co Lagim Tehi Tuma Summer Fellowship Program in Northern Ghana.
Students are encouraged to begin their work in the Africana Studies Program by taking any one of eight gateway courses: “Introduction to African Civilizations” (HIST B102 or ICPR 101 at Haverford); "The Global Short Story" (ENGL B104); "Themes in the Anthropology of Religion" (REL H155); "Africa in the World" (ANTH B202)' "Afro-Futurisms" (ENGL B222); "The Atlantic World" (HIST B200); "Transnational Writing" (ENGL B283); or "Black America in Sociological Perspective" (SOCL B299). The required gateway course provides students with an intellectual experience in multiple disciplines as well as the foundations for subsequent courses in Africana Studies. The course should be completed by the end of the student’s junior year.
The requirements for a minor in Africana Studies are the following:
One-semester gateway course: Introduction to African Civilizations (HIST B102 at Bryn Mawr or ICPR 101 at Haverford); "The Global Short Story" (ENGL B104 for first-years and sophomores only); "Themes in Anthropology of Religion" (REL H155); "Africa in the World" (ANTH B202); "Afro-Futurisms" (ENGL B222); "The Atlantic World" (HIST B200); "Transnational Writing" (ENGL B283) or "Black American in Sociological Perspective" (SOCL B229). Students may not count gateway courses twice. Any additional gateway course will count as a general elective.
Five additional semester courses from at least two different departments and divisions are to be chosen from an annual Bryn Mawr-approved list of courses at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Penn, or Swarthmore, or by permission of the Bryn Mawr Africana Steering Committee. At least two of these courses have to be taken at Bryn Mawr or Haverford. One course from studying away may fulfill this requirement as well if the course is approved, in advance, by the Steering Committee. At least one of the additional courses should normally be at the 300-level. Units of Independent Study (403) may be used to fulfill this requirement. Only two courses of these five Africana Studies courses may overlap with courses taken to fulfill requirements in the student's major.
Students are encouraged to organize their course work along one of several prototypical routes. Such model programs might feature:
- Regional or area studies; for example, focusing on blacks in Latin America, the English-speaking Caribbean or North America.
- Thematic emphases; for example, exploring class politics, ethnic conflicts and/or economic development in West and East Africa.
- Comparative emphases; for example, problems of development, governance, public health or family and gender.
The student should indicate the proposed focus of the minor in writing at the time of registration for the minor.
The final requirement is a capstone experience that consolidates or synthesizes the student's focus in the minor (e.g. a thematic or comparative emphasis). This constitutes a sixth course or its equivalent. This can be satisfied by taking a capstone course at the 300-level within the major or another field. If the department in which the student is majoring requires a thesis, the Africana Studies requirement can be satisfied by writing on a topic related to the minor that is approved by the student's department. If the major department does not require a thesis or the student does not choose to write a thesis, a seminar essay may be substituted written within the framework of a capstone course or as an independent study project. A copy of the thesis or the seminar essay will be retained in the Africana Studies archives.
Students wishing to construct an independent major in Africana Studies should make a proposal to the Committee on Independent Majors. The Steering Committee will consult and advise students with such an interest. Students should begin exploring this possibility as early as possible.