Introduction To Africana Studies

Africana Studies is the study, research, interpretation, and the dissemination of knowledge concerning African American, African, and Caribbean affairs and culture.  Using the tools of the social sciences and humanities, Africana Studies examines the structure, organization, problems, and perspectives of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora.


Africana Studies also examines issues of politics and social change in African American communities and various African and Caribbean nations.  The term “Africana” incorporates the three areas of concentration within the department–African, African American, and diaspora/comparative social sciences and humanities.  The African diaspora comprises people of African origin outside the African continent, and is studied in comparative context.  


The Department of Africana Studies is an interdisciplinary department encompassing the study of the history and culture of Africa and the African Diaspora.  Its professors are trained in a broad range of disciplines including anthropology, folklore, history, language and literature, musicology, political science, and sociology, among others.

The Department of Africana Studies at Rutgers University is committed to “scholarship in the service of social justice worldwide.” The nexus of intellectualism, culture, and activism embodied by Paul Robeson is of central concern to our faculty and is reflected in our scholarship, teaching, and student opportunities.

A Degree in Africana Studies

A degree in Africana Studies would launch you into a successful career in disciplines that the major covers, as well as professional programs of study. The degree also prepares you for graduate studies in the social science and the humanities, as well as international affairs, education, social work, social policy studies, law, and business.

With guidance from the faculty advisor and other members of the faculty, these choices can be fully explored and well-defined.




Introduction To Africana Studies

Interdisciplinary survey of the social, economic, political, and historical aspects of the black experience in America and abroad.



Black Experience and Film Medium

Critical evaluation of images of blacks in films. Screening of films.



Black Experience In America

Interdisciplinary examination of African-Americans within the context of American political economy, special conditions of oppression, responses to exploitation, and resultant social changes.



The Black Woman

Role of black women in survival and evolution of the black race as presented in fictional and nonfictional literature.



Sociology of Black Economic Development

Socioeconomic, spatial, and political development of alternatives to minority or black capitalism within the local, regional, and national development strategies of the United States.



Psychology of the Black Experience

Evaluation of psychological principles, theories, and assessment techniques in relation to the personality and behavioral development of African Americans.



History of Education in the United States

Principles and policies underlying the educational process among blacks; social and political impact.



Topics in Africana Studies: African Americans and Sports

When we look at an institution’s relationship with black student-athletes, and more specifically black male athletes in the sports of football and basketball, it too is purely economic.



Topics in Africana Studies: Director Spike Lee

Introduction to Spike Lee through lectures, multidisciplinary approaches to the study of Africana materials, original research projects, and introduction to major archival resources.



Topics in Africana Studies: Seminar in Hip Hop Culture

Introduction to Hip Hop through lectures, multidisciplinary approaches to the study of Africana materials, original research projects, and introduction to major archival resources.



Black Profiles: Zora Neale Hurston, Eddie Murphy

Portrayal of the movements and events of Africa and dispersion through studies of black leaders-their lives, works, and writings.



Afro- Musicicology

Various forms of African-American music: spiritual, gospel, blues, folk, and jazz. African and Western influences: role, development patterns, and function in sociocultural context.



African Presence in American Culture

Examination of African influence on black life and culture in the New World-on language, art, music, and cuisine.

Contemporary Issues in South Africa

Examines contemporary events in South Africa and Namibia within the neocolonial problems of the frontline states (Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, and Botswana).



Supervised Community Placement

Supervised study and experience in a black community of the United States, the Caribbean, South America, or Africa.



Health issues in the African- American Community

Health problems affecting black communities and their relevance to understanding black political, social, and psychological attitudes.



Black Community Law and Social Change

Origins of racism in the judicial process and its effects on the black community since slavery.

Race, Class, Gender, Schooling

Examines racial and gender differences in adolescents’ school performance. Structural, historical, and cultural foci. Ethnographic and autobiographical cases of black students and other students of color.


To learn more about Africana at Rutgers, visit the website here!