Africana Studies (AFST)

Africana Studies is the study of the interrelated histories, politics, and cultural products of Africa and the African Diaspora in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and elsewhere. As a field of inquiry, Africana Studies critically examines the intellectual traditions and experiences of Africans and diasporic communities from intra- and interdisciplinary perspectives. As such, Africana Studies includes African American, Caribbean, and African Studies. 

Africana Studies offers majors a multidisciplinary curriculum that examines the histories, narratives, intellectual traditions, music, art, politics, cultures, literatures, economies, social institutions, and identities of Africans and their descendants from the liberal arts perspective. It provides students with critical engagement with contemporary and historical concerns and self-expressions of African and African descended people. It also examines these experiences within the context of social relations with European, Euro-American, and other non-African communities. Africana Studies is a rich inter- and intradisciplinary major.

Africana Studies majors will become competent writers through their engagement with the wide array of writing tasks required in our courses. Public speaking instruction will occur as a facet of the oral presentation assignments in many of our courses, but specifically required in our two core classes. Through the research skills acquired in our foundational classes, the classes that constitute the major, students will gain information literacy and will be required to demonstrate that literacy through completion of a thesis in their senior year.   

Africana Studies majors must complete nine courses from the following categories, including an independent study, the object of which is to complete a thesis, which will fulfill the Culminating Experience. Courses must be selected in consultation with a departmental adviser. 

Africana Studies Major Requirements  (9 courses)

AFST 199Introduction to Africana Studies1
AFST 250Approaches to Africana Studies1
One course in History (Africa, African American, or Caribbean)1
Five courses in area specialties: Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts; of these courses, two must be at the 200 level, and at least one course must be at the 300 level.5
AFST 399Independent Study1

Courses in area specialties are distributed both divisionally and geographically. Students must take the following number of courses out of the approved list of Africana divisional courses: two in social sciences, two in humanities, and one in the arts. These courses must include the following geographic groupings: one course on Africa, one course on African America, and one course on either the Caribbean or Afro-Latin communities. Courses may count simultaneously for the division and region/spatial community requirements. (As such, a single course may fulfill both a humanities and an Africa requirement.)

Students will fulfill the Culminating Experience by completion of a thesis in an area of Africana Studies. Students will register for an independent study in the fall of their senior year with their faculty adviser. The thesis topic must be confirmed in writing in consultation with the faculty adviser by the end of each student’s junior year. [See Honors Council website for consideration as an honors thesis; however, theses do not have to be submitted to the Honors Council to count as the Culminating Experience major requirement for Africana Studies.] For particular information about the process for pursuing an honors thesis, please see https://my.bucknell.edu/x56270.html. Faculty advisers will determine successful completion of the thesis/Culminating Experience requirement by submission of the grade for the independent study.

Africana Studies majors will become competent writers through their engagement with the wide array of writing tasks required in our courses. Public speaking instruction will occur as a facet of the oral presentation assignments in many of our courses, but specifically required in our two core classes. Through the research skills acquired in our foundational classes (the classes that constitute the major), students will gain information literacy and will be required to demonstrate that literacy through completion of a thesis in their senior year. 

**For a current list of courses that contribute to the Africana Studies Program, please visit the Africana Studies webpage at www.bucknell.edu/arts-and-sciences-college-of/academic-departments-and-programs/africana-studies/course-descriptions.html

The Africana Studies major enjoys a relationship with Bucknell’s Griot Institute for Africana Studies. The activities, programs, and projects of the Institute coalesce and interface with the objectives and goals of the major. Africana Studies majors and minors are encouraged to engage with the opportunities presented by the Institute’s programming. 

Students majoring in Africana Studies are strongly encouraged to spend a semester or a summer abroad, preferably in Africa or the Caribbean. Bucknell en France (when appropriate), Bucknell in Barbados, Bucknell in Ghana, Bucknell in the Caribbean, and Bucknell in South Africa programs are particularly encouraged. In addition, the department strongly recommends that students take four semesters of a language spoken in the African Diaspora, e.g. Arabic, French, Spanish, or an African language.

African-American Studies Minor

The African-American experience is directly and inextricably embedded in the history and culture of the United States. As an interdisciplinary field, African-American Studies is concerned with the systematic investigation of the history, culture, political economy, literature, art, and languages of people of African descent in the United States and their contributions to the United States and to the world. The African-American Studies minor is a way of educating all students about black experiences and developing in them an understanding and appreciation of the life and history of peoples of African ancestry in the United States, and thus move toward a more comprehensive view of life and history in the United States generally.

By offering students opportunities to gain knowledge of this history and experience, an African-American Studies minor affirms black identity and heritage, fosters understanding, respect, and appreciation of diversity, and better prepares students for life in a multicultural society.

The interdisciplinary structure of the African-American Studies minor offers students directed toward professions and graduate schools an opportunity to satisfy the increasingly rigorous expectations of admissions committees and prospective employers for a broad liberal arts perspective that complements specialized knowledge. African-American Studies provides a background for those considering careers in education, journalism, law, business management, public service, psychology, social work, and literature.

The interdepartmental minor in African-American Studies consists of five courses that must be taken in three different disciplines. A minimum of four courses must be selected from the following list. In consultation with the coordinators of the minor, students may count one course from either the African Studies or Caribbean Studies list.

ENCW 210Special Topic in Creative Writing1
ENLS 221Introduction to African American Literature1
ENLS 321Seminar in African-American Literature1
HIST 218American Revolution1
HIST 219Antebellum America1
HIST 223Twentieth-century African-American History1
HIST 319African-American History1
LING 210Language and Race1
RELI 219Contemporary Religion: Race, Gender, and Sexuality1
SOCI 213Race in Historical and Comparative Perspectives1
SOCI 280Twentieth-century Afro-Caribbean and African-American Thought1

African Studies Minor

The interdepartmental African Studies minor gives an understanding of Africa’s rich heritage, diversity, and role in the world today, and contributes an international focus to a liberal arts education. It consists of five courses chosen from the list below. Students must take at least three core courses, and they may choose any two other courses from the list below. If possible, at least one course should be related to the student’s major. In consultation with the coordinators of the minor, students may include an Africa-related course from the African-American or Caribbean Studies list. In general, there are no prerequisites for the courses on the African Studies minor list.

Core Courses:

ANTH/IREL 235/UNIV 200Modern Africa1
ANTH 329Religions in Africa: Spirits, Saints, and Sufis1
ECON 224African Women & Social Action1
ECON 235African Economic Development1
ECON/MGMT/PSYC 270South Africa: Social Entrepreneurship1
FOUN 098Foundation Seminar (South Africa)1
FREN 336Francophone Africa1
HIST 291Africa: Ancient to Early Modern Times 4000BCE-1400CE1
HIST 292Making Contemporary Africa: 'Early Modern' to the 'Post-Modern' World - 1400 to the Present1

Other African Studies Courses:

HIST 290Europe Imperialism and Colonialism1
SOCI 213Race in Historical and Comparative Perspectives1

Courses taken in summer or in semester-long or yearlong programs in Africa may count toward the minor.

  1. To encourage students to explore and cross-pollinate the undeveloped and unimagined intersections between Africana Studies and the arts, humanities, social sciences, and other disciplines;
  2. To provide innovative and unique opportunities for Bucknell’s students to engage with and to experience the intellectual and artistic endeavors and cultural products of the Africana world.

Courses

AFST 105. Jazz Dance Technique I. .5 Credits.

Offered Fall Semester Only; Lecture hours:Varies,Other:3
Beginning level course on jazz as an American vernacular dance form emphasizing its roots in African and Latin cultural rhythms, as well as contemporary technique. Crosslisted as DANC 105.

AFST 155. Blacks in Latin America. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
By the early 19th century nearly 6 million Africans were forcibly transported to Spanish and Portuguese “New World” territories. Despite outnumbering US Blacks 3:1, Afro-Latin Americans have received little scholarly attention until recently. This course explores the history and impact of the Afro-Latin American experience from slavery to the present. Crosslisted as LAMS 155.

AFST 199. Introduction to Africana Studies. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:4
The course introduces students to concepts, theories, and debates of the vibrant discipline of Africana Studies. It surveys major themes, questions, concerns, and events of African, African American, and other African diasporic communities. The course examines the making of the modern world through the lens of black global experience.

AFST 201. Introduction to Black Performance. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
This course will introduce students to the field of performance theory as it is engaged through the lens of the Black World. It will place scholars in Black performance theory in conversation with scholars working in the black radical tradition whose work raises important questions about performance, blackness, and more.

AFST 221. Introduction to African American Literature. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Provides a selection from across the vast array of examples collected under the inadequate rubric “African American Literature.” We'll read poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and drama in order to understand how a group of people who have been written out of American history and culture write themselves back into these stories. Crosslisted as ENLS 221.

AFST 222. Caribbean Literature. 1 Credit.

Offered Fall, Spring or Summer; Lecture hours:3
Introduction to selected literatures, cultures, and histories of the Caribbean, with close analysis of text and context. When taught in the summer, the course is the core of the Bucknell in the Caribbean summer study abroad program. Crosslisted as ENLS 227.

AFST 223. Questioning the Post-Racial. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
The term “post-racial” has emerged within public discourse from time to time over the course of America’s existence. From Frederick Douglass to Barack Obama, this expression has described an American aspirational goal. Our class will take a contemporary and literary approach to understanding the limits of the term. Crosslisted as ENLS 223.

AFST 227. Race and Sexuality. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
This course explores the constructions of and intersections between race and sexuality. It also investigates the ways that these identities/locations have informed understanding of inequality in the U.S. Crosslisted as WMST 227.

AFST 229. Philosophy and Race. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Critical examination of the nature and meaning of "race" in terms of conceptual analysis, experience, social constructionism, feminism, class, ethnicity, politics, colonialism, violence, and redress. Crosslisted as PHIL 229 and POLS 259.

AFST 248. Music and Culture: History of Jazz. 1 Credit.

Offered Alternate Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
A critical examination of musicians, movements, and cultural intersections within the development of jazz. Crosslisted as MUSC 248.

AFST 250. Approaches to Africana Studies. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:4
This course will provide students with an introduction to the key intellectual approaches specific to the multiple disciplines that constitute Africana Studies. The course instruction will be provided by an instructor of record as well as an assemblage of faculty who have expertise in the approaches to Africana Studies.

AFST 255. Radical Black Drama and Performance. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
This course presents an ensemble of playwrights from the 19th century into the present, whose dramatic works consider the predicament of the blackness in the world. This course pays particular attention to plays not just as artistic creations but also as political and performative gestures.

AFST 257. Music and Culture: Jazz, Rock, and Race. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
A thorough examination of historically important musicians and movements within the context of race and culture. Crosslisted as MUSC 257.

AFST 260. Black Women and Activism. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
This course examines the multiple ways Black women activists have and continue to shape histories and present realities in the Americas and on the continent of Africa.

AFST 265. (Really) Reading Black Plays. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
This course will examine the plays of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, August Wilson and by extension explore what is so often referred to as the “Black experience” in a regional, national, and global context.

AFST 266. Black Africans in the Hispanic Black Atlantic: Then and Now. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
This course examines the variety of artistic, cultural, historical, and literary representations of black Africans and their descendants across the Spanish-speaking world, Africa, and the variety of Afro-Latina/o communities of the United States. Crosslisted as SPAN 266.

AFST 268. Migrations: Africa to America and the (Re)Making of Culture. 1 Credit.

Offered Alternating Spring Semester; Lecture hours:3
This course examines forced and voluntary migrations of Africans and their North American descendants. It will begin with an analysis of west and central African history and will then focus on the period from the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade to the present. Crosslisted as ECON 268.

AFST 274. Africa and International Relations in Historical Perspective. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
From popular culture: music, film, fashion to digital technologies: cell phones, computers, fit-bits, and GOOGLE-glass to our food: morning coffee, sugar, and spices, we rely on African ideas and resources. Through novels, films, and scholarly articles we examine how International Relations across Africa and with Africa matter in our lives. Crosslisted as HIST 274 and IREL 274.

AFST 280. Race, Violence & Incarceration. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
This course explores the dynamic convergence of race, violence, and criminal justice. More specifically, it explores policing and punishment from Reconstruction to contemporary mass incarceration. Police practices, political imprisonment, abolition, and more will also be examined.

AFST 285. Performing Slavery. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
This course will engage an ensemble of plays and theoretical texts that examine how the state of being captive is a performative continuum. This course exceeds any definitive time frame during which racial slavery was proclaimed to have begun and ended (e.g., The Emancipation Proclamation, 13th Amendment, etc.).

AFST 290. Topics in Africana Studies. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3; Repeatable
A variable topics course in which students will take a critical and empowering look at various expressions of Africana culture, experience, and thought.

AFST 291. Africa: Ancient to Early Modern Times 4000BCE-1400CE. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Survey of Africa from Ancient economic, social, cultural, economic, and political developments to the Early Modern Era and the rise of Atlantic era trade. This course focuses on social, cultural, political, and economic changes generated by populations across the continent. Crosslisted as HIST 291 and IREL 291.

AFST 292. Making Contemporary Africa: 'Early Modern' to the 'Post-Modern' World - 1400 to the Present. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Survey of African history from the 15th century to the contemporary period. We explore six major themes in African History: The Indian Ocean World, Making of the Atlantic World, Colonialism in Africa, Nationalism and Independence Movements, Post-Colonialism and Issues in the Making of Contemporary Africa. Crosslisted as HIST 292 and IREL 293.

AFST 293. Ancestors and Androids: African Religions in a Global Era. 1 Credit.

Offered Occasionally; Lecture hours:2,Other:1
Examines African religions in a global era, focusing on the intersection of culture, religion, and globalization. Focuses on beliefs and practices in Africa's three major religious traditions: indigenous African religions, Christianity, and Islam. Crosslisted as ANTH 293 and RELI 293.

AFST 295. Hip-Hop and Blackness. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
This course will explore the ways in which hip-hop culture has impacted global youth culture, particularly within the realms of music, film, television, clothing styles, politics, language, public policy, race, gender and sexuality. In summary, it will provide a much-needed perspective on the intersection of hip hop and blackness.

AFST 302. Contemporary Africa & Colonial Pasts: Investments and Re-Emergences. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Globalized investment, oil extraction, Oprah and Bono-endorsed RED products, a rising middle class: This course addresses contemporary political economy, meanings of 'the continent', and colonial legacy in Africa. We draw on human geography, African history, postcolonial and feminist studies, and literature to understand a rapidly changing continent. Crosslisted as GEOG 302.

AFST 319. African-American History. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3; Repeatable
Focuses on recent developments in the field. Topics vary but may include slavery; African-American intellectual history; black feminism; race, class and gender; social and political movements; and cultural criticism. Crosslisted as HIST 319.

AFST 399. Independent Study. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:4; Repeatable
Individual study or project, supervised by instructor. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Faculty

Professor: P. Khalil Saucier (Director)

Assistant Professors: Beeta Baghoolizadeh, Jaye Austin Williams

Affiliated Faculty: Marcellus Andrews (Economics), Nina E. Banks (Economics), Paul Barba (History), Raphael Dalleo (English), Michael Drexler (English), Katherine M. Faull (Languages, Cultures & Linguistics-German, Comparative Humanities), Cymone Fourshey (History, International Relations), Carmen Gillespie (English), Renée K. Gosson (Languages, Cultures & Linguistics-French), Mai-Linh Hong (English), Michael R. James (Political Science), Michelle C. Johnson (Anthropology), Nicholas Jones (Spanish), Angèle M. Kingué (Languages, Cultures & Linguistics-French), Barry Long (Music), Elena Machado Sáez (English), Dustyn Martincich (Theatre & Dance), Meenakshi Ponnuswami (English), Geoffrey E. Schneider (Economics), Anthony F. Stewart (English), T. Joel Wade (Psychology), Carol Wayne White (Religious Studies), Thelathia Nikotris Young (Women's and Gender Studies)