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College of Arts and Letters


Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity (ISRE)




Major in African American and African Studies

Overview and Requirements

The African American and African Studies major introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of people of African descent in the United States and the African Diaspora. The interdisciplinary approach, a key aspect of the program, helps to overcome limitations inherent as a result of investigating a people or group from a single disciplinary perspective. It develops students' critical thinking and analytical skills and produces well-rounded individuals prepared to enter the workforce or pursue study in a wide variety of fields at the graduate level and in professional schools (e.g., law, medicine, social work). The program produces individuals who can function effectively in the new millennium with special knowledge of the multifaceted and complex historical and contemporary issues that have shaped the racial parameters of the nation and the world. Upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, students will have a well-rounded background in the liberal arts, strong communications skills (written and oral), and analytic and methodological skills that have prepared them for graduate study and make them an asset to a range of enterprises in the public and private, for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.

AAST Requirements

The African American and African Studies (AAST) Program offers the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. The AAST program is designed to give students an essential core of basic knowledge and analytical skills, while providing an opportunity to specialize in one of two emphasis areas: African American Studies or African Studies. In addition to improving students' writing skills, undergraduates in most 400-level courses in political science and geography are required to make oral presentations in class, or instructors strengthen students' verbal competency skills through in-class discussions. Students also gain technical skills in lower and upper-level methods classes where computers are employed for data analysis and social science research. The African American and African Studies major requires a total of 36 credit hours in African American and African studies courses, including 15 credit hours of core course work, 15 hours of course work evenly distributed between selected upper division social science and humanities courses, and a minimum of six credit hours of upper-division coursework in African studies. African American and African studies majors are required also to take 105H (Africa in a World Setting) as a prerequisite. (The course may also count toward lower division general education.)

Students can earn either the B.A. or B.S. degree. The B.A. program requires a foreign language through the intermediate level (202). Students seeking the B.S. degree must demonstrate beginning language proficiency (102). Consistent with ODUs Career Advantage Program (CAP) the program requires students majoring in the program to participate in an appropriate field internship.

The requirements for AAST majors are outlined below. With the permission of the department chair, courses not listed below may be approved as substitutions to fulfill program requirement.

Courses Required for the Major

Introduction to African American Studies (AAST 100S) 3 credit hours
African American Political and Social Thought (AAST 420W) 3 credit hours - Fall Semester
Africana Intellectual Thought and Economic Development (AAST 410) 3 credit hours - Spring Semester
Research Methods (AAST 320 or POLS 308 or SOC 337) 3 credit hours
Senior Seminar (AAST 490 or other advanced research methods course approved by the director) 3 credit hours

Upper-Division Requirements (15 credit hours):

Students majoring in AAST must earn a minimum 15 credit hours in upper-division humanities and social science courses related to African American studies. Six credit hours of 300/400 level courses must be from the social sciences and six credit hours from the humanities. The remaining three hours must be taken in either in the humanities or social sciences depending upon whether the student is enrolled in the BA (humanities) or BS (social sciences) program. Courses may be selected from among those listed by category below. No more than two courses from any one discipline may be taken in any category. With the permission of the department chair, courses not listed below may be approved as substitutions to fulfill program requirements.

Social Science Courses:
 
Topics in African American Studies (AAST 395, 396) 3 credit hours
Blacks, Crime and Justice (CRJS 450) 3 credit hours
Diversity and Criminal Justice (CRJS 452) 3 credit hours
Africa (GEOG 452) 3 credit hours
Politics of the Civil Rights Movement (POLS 412) 3 credit hours
Race, Culture and Public Policy (POLS 309) 3 credit hours
Politics of Africa (POLS 316) 3 credit hours
African American Politics (POLS 410) 3 credit hours
African Americans and U.S. Foreign Policy (POLS 4XX) 3 credit hours
Psychology of African Americans (PSYC 460) 3 credit hours
Sociology of Minority Families (SOC 323) 3 credit hours
Sociology of Minority Groups (SOC 426) 3 credit hours
Community Justice (SOC 444)

Humanities Courses:

Topics in African American Studies (AAST 395, 396) 3 credit hours
Africa in Global Commerce and Culture from 800-1960 (HIST 370)
Africa and the West from the Era of the Slave Trade through Modern times (HIST 477)
African American Rhetoric (COMM 434) 3 credit hours
African American Perspectives in Dance (DANC 391) 3 credit hours
African American Literature: Slave and Neo-Slave Narratives  (ENGL 465W) 3 credit hours
Langston Hughes and the Blues Aesthetic (ENGL 495)
The Novels of Toni Morrison (ENGL  495)
African American History to 1865 (HIST 361) 3 credit hours
African American Historiography (HIST 455) 3 credit hours
History of Jazz (MUSC 460) 3 credit hours
Conflict and Violence in Modern Africa (HIST/AAST 3XX) 3 credit hours
Dimensions of Diversity: Intersectionality Among Women (WMST 302W) 3 credit hours

Required Courses in African Studies (6 credit hours):

In addition, students majoring in African American and African Studies (AAST) must earn six credit hours in African studies courses. Students may select courses from the following list: POLS 316 (Politics of Africa), HIST370 (Africa in Global Commerce and Culture from 800-1960), HIST 477 (Africa and the West from the Era of the Slave Trade through Modern Times), AAST 310 (Human Rights and Social Change in Africa), and AAST 305 (Africa in Transition). Courses taken in this category cannot duplicate upper-division social sciences and humanities courses taken to fulfill program requirements.

At the discretion of the department chair, substitutions may be approved to satisfy this requirement. The course options in this category will be expanded and/or modified in the future as they become available.

***Note: Students who have already taken any of these courses can use them toward a major or a double major in African American and African Studies. For more information please contact the ISRE office at (757) 683-3858.

For additional information about the major, please download the brochure. (pdf)

AAST Curriculum Sheet 2012/13

If you are interested in majoring in African American and African Studies, please download and complete the AAST Program Declaration form. Return the completed/signed form to BAL 2023. If you have questions about the major, email Dr. Melvina Sumter at msumter@odu.edu.