Apr 14, 2021  
Catalog 2021-2022 
Catalog 2021-2022

Black Studies

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Director of the Black Studies Program: Winston A. Grady-Willis

Department Overview

The Black Studies minor provides an intellectual framework for understanding global Black experiences both historically and contemporarily.  Specifically, the minor not only illuminates Black triumphs and travails in the United States, but those throughout the Diaspora, particularly in Continental Africa and the Caribbean.  Black Studies is significant nationally because its emergence-inextricably bound to the Black Power phase of a larger struggle for African American human rights-paved the way for subsequent liberatory fields, including Chicana/Chicano Studies, Gender Studies, and Indigenous Nations Studies, that also seek to center marginalized groups and challenge structures of power and privilege.  In addition to interrogating institutionalized racism in the United States, this interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary field of study examines intraracial issues of socioeconomic class, gender, sexuality and skin color via a constellation of courses in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.

Black Studies Courses:


Student Learning Objectives

1. Understand Black Studies comprehensively as a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field for studying agency and self-determination in global African communities

  • Study community building, cultural production, resistance to oppression, and both collective and individual achievement throughout the global African world.
  • Appreciate the importance of studying Africa as an incredibly complex and culturally diverse continent and African societies as dynamic, fluid, multidimensional and sophisticated.
  • Appreciate the importance of studying Black experiences in the United States (including the demand for Black Studies) while challenging African American exceptionalism.
  • Learn how teaching scholars approach the field of Black Studies in the Arts, Humanities, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.
  • Begin to develop transdisciplinary approaches to Black Studies that emphasize ways of knowing that transcend traditional divisional and disciplinary boundaries. 

2. Cultivate the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as an understanding of multiple theoretical approaches and perspectives.

  • Appreciate different but not always mutually exclusive approaches to Black Studies, including Africology, Afrocentricity, Afrofuturism, Afro-Pessimism, Black Feminism, Black Queer Studies, Kawaida Theory, Marxism, and Womanism.
  • Appreciate notion of Sankofa, which stresses the dynamic interplay between historical and contemporary forces.
  • Interrogate and explain historical and contemporary manifestations of structural violence against Black communities and individuals in Continental Africa, the Americas, and Europe, including enslavement, colonialisms, institutional racism, and mass incarceration.  
  • Analyze intraracial variables such as socioeconomic class, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality and skin color in Black communities.

3. Understand the multidimensional nature and various meanings of the transnational within the context of Black Studies.

  • Study emigration and the experiences of immigrants in various contexts, including rural to urban, neighborhood to neighborhood, region to region, and nation to nation.
  • Study boundary-crossing as a geopolitical imperative for escaping violence and exercising informal political power.
  • Study boundary-crossing as an intellectual imperative for engaging in cross-disciplinary research and teaching.

4. Experience high-impact learning in off-campus environments.

  • Engage in mutually reciprocal service-learning work such as internships with community partners in the service of social justice.
  • Participate in off-campus opportunities such as study abroad, study at historically Black colleges and universities, and faculty-led travel seminars (domestic and abroad).

5. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in the Black Studies minor.

  • Foreground primary source-driven research that centers a range of Black perspectives in discussions, class presentations, and written work
  • Effectively synthesize scholarship in Black Studies, as well as analyze differences in theoretical approaches, in both oral and written work
  • Beginning with BST 101, produce research essays that embrace a Sankofic analytical approach to particular problems; this approach evidences the connective tissue intellectually between contemporary and historical events or issues.
  • Assess extent to which students also connect their lived experiences (irrespective of their racial or ethnic background) to other analyses in blogs, response papers, essays, and Power and Justice pubic presentations 

Minor Requirements

Minimum 18 credits (6 courses) required

Core Courses                                                                            

  •    (3 credits)                          
  • Approved Power and Justice Course (3-4 credits)
  • Capstone Course or Experience (3-4 credits)                                       
  • 1 elective from Group A: Arts & Humanities (3-4 credits)                           
  • 1 elective from Group B: Natural & Social Sciences (3-4 credits)                                    
  • 1 additional elective from Group A or Group B (3-4 credits)                                            


  • The capstone course or experience includes BST 375 , Seminar in Black Studies, BST XXX, Internship in Black Studies, or select off-campus study experiences.
  • No more than two courses taken at another institution may count toward the minor.
  • Students must take at least one elective from Group A and one from Group B.
  • One of the three electives must be at the 300-level.


Possible Electives (no more than two from each group)                  

Group A: Arts and Humanities

AH 151D Survey of African Art                                                                                         

AH 251C African Art and Travel                                                                                        

AH 251C Photography in Africa


AH 351C Art in Egypt 19th to 21st Century*                                                                   

AH 351C Identity in African Art*                                                                                   

AH 375C Race and Contemporary Art*                                                                         


  (19C African American Fiction)                                       

EN 237 Empire Strikes Back: Postcolonial Literature                                               


MU 345N Black Atlantic Music                                        


TH 334 Mixed Race on Stage and Film                                                                                                            



Group B: Natural and Social Sciences









  (Colonialism and Capitalism)                           


ED 261C Urban Education                                                                                                 


ES 252C Human Rights and Development*                                                                                                 



GW 351D - Disease, Health and Nation                                                                         




IA 351 Colorism in Paradise                                                                                        

IG 264 Taking the Journey Home           


PL 251A Race, State and Power in Comparative Perspective*                                 

PL 365 Topics in Comparative Politics (when applicable)*                                       








 *These courses have department/program-specific prerequisites.

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