Program Director: Ngwarsungu Chiwengo
Program Office: Creighton Hall, Room 130 B

Black Studies provides undergraduate students in all disciplines critical understanding of Africa and the African Diaspora, especially in the United States.  It provides students opportunities to explore social, political, intellectual and artistic currents in Africa, the Americas, and Europe with relevance to Africans or to Blacks of the diaspora as well as their history, politics, arts, culture, and literature. It allows students to investigate more widely areas in the Humanities and Social Sciences connected to their major or track, to develop their cultural awareness much needed in medicine and other professions or to further their special interest. Independent studies and independent research are available to advanced students.

Black Studies Minor


BKS 106. The African World. 3 credits. FA, SP (Same as AFS 106, HIS 106)

A survey of developments in Africa from the 15th century to the present emphasizing the decline and reemergence of African independence, the creation of the African diaspora, and developments in the post-colonial period. P: HIS 101.

BKS 309. The Urban Social System. 3 credits. FA (Same as SOC 309)

Examination of the process of urbanization as it affects the lives and institutions of local populations and incorporates them into much larger national and international systems. P: So. stdg.

BKS 341. American Cultural Minorities. 3 credits. FA (Same as AMS 341, ANT 341, SOC 341)

Determinants and consequences of prejudice and discrimination; race, ethnocentrism, religious conflict, class structure. Consideration also given to proposed strategies for reducing inter-group tension. P: So. stdg.

BKS 342. Peoples And Cultures Of Sub-Saharan Africa. 3 credits. AY (Same as AFS 342, ANT 342)

An exploration of the people and places of Africa south of the Sahara from a variety of anthropological perspectives. It is an introduction to the cultures of Africa and a history of how those cultures have been perceived and interpreted. P: So. stdg.

BKS 347. Peoples and Cultures of Africa and the Middle East. 3 credits. AY (Same as AFS 347, ANT 347)

A study of the cultures of North Africa and the Middle East. Includes an analysis of the culture history, environmental, social and ideological adaptations, and explores the cultural changes of these predominantly Islamic cultures. P: So. stdg.

BKS 353. Jazz in American Culture. 3 credits. OD (Same as AMS 353, MUS 353)

Examines the relationship between American societyand the development of jazz in the course of the twentieth century and beyond. Special attention will be given to those cultural, economic, and political factors which could influence jazz trends on a regional or national level.

BKS 356. Christianity in Africa. 3 credits. OD (Same as AFS 356, THL 356)

Introduction to religion among Africans and Africans in the diaspora. African religious concepts of time, creation, the place of humans in creation, initiation rites, marriage, procreation, death. The relationship between the ecclesial and non-ecclesial dimensions; development of the Black sacred cosmos, ritual, music, folk tradition and performance practice.

BKS 367. The African-American Experience. 3 credits. AY (Same as HIS 367)

Slavery, emancipation, "separate but equal", and the drive for full equality. P: So. stdg.

BKS 372. Equality, Minorities, and Public Policy. 3 credits. AY, SP (Same as AMS 372, HIS 372, PLS 372)

Incorporates continuing discourses between a historian and a political scientist. Exploration of the political processes whereby minorities have influenced the formulation and implementation of policy and governmental responses to demands for equal treatment. P: So. stdg.

BKS 384. Black History Through Literature. 3 credits. OD (Same as HIS 384)

History of Americans of African descent as found in journals, novels, and "studies." P: So. stdg.

BKS 388. Origins of Modern Africa. 3 credits. AY (Same as AFS 388, HIS 388)

Examination of the European impact on Africans and their institutions. P: So. stdg.

BKS 390. Introduction To African Literature. 3 credits. OD (Same as AFS 390, ENG 390)

Contemporary African literature. Relationship between African literature and society, emergence of national and cross-African literatures, issues of cultural conflict, language and oral tradition, and other topics. P: ENG 150 or equivalent.

BKS 393. African-American Literature. 3 credits. SP (Same as AMS 393, ENG 393)

A survey of representative African American literature from its inception to the present. The particular representative authors and genres and the historical focus of the course may differ each semester. P: ENG 150 or equivalent.

BKS 396. Seminar in Black Studies. 3 credits. OD

Topical seminar with topics changing in different semesters. Examination of particular ideas, developments, and issues of relevance to Africa and the African diaspora. Topics in different semesters might include detailed examination of justice and ethnicity, politics and ethnicity, comparative slave systems, slave narratives, or colonial rule in Africa and the Caribbean. P: So. stdg.

BKS 398. Literature Of Francophone Africa. 3 credits. (Same as AFS 398, ENG 398)

Sample of representative Francophone African literature. Nature and functions of this literature, relation between it and society. Impact of non-Western cultural context on Western literary genres. P: ENG 150 or equivalent.

BKS 411. Politics of Africa. 3 credits. AY, FA (Same as AFS 411, PLS 411)

Introduction to politics of sub-Saharan Africa. Covers traditional African cultures, societies and polities; independence movements; and post-colonial politics. Discusses political parties, military interventionism, ethnic conflict, development policy and democratic reform. P: So. stdg.

BKS 428. Multicultural Issues in Psychology. 3 credits. FA, SP (Same as PSY 428)

Explores gender, ethnic, and cultural factors that influence the beliefs, values, behaviors, and experiences of individuals. Provides a fundamental understanding of one's own culture and behavior through exploration of a variety of cultures. P: PSY 111 or PSY 112.

BKS 470. Seminar in Film Studies: African and African American. 3 credits. (Same as AES 470, ENG 470, COM 470)

Topical seminar with topics changing in different semesters. Examination of particular areas of film and popular culture. Topics in different semesters might include detailed examination of a film genre (e.g., the western, science fiction, detective films), or film and culture studies (e.g., women and film; film and developing nations). May be repeated for credit to a limit of six hours. P: ENG 150 or equivalent.

BKS 482. Race In America: Idea And Reality. 3 credits. OD (Same as AMS 482, HIS 482, PHL 482, PLS 482, SRP 482)

An examination of the idea and reality of race during key phases of U.S. history, with an emphasis on the contemporary situation. To understand the multiple meanings and experiences of race, the course draws on sources form science, literature, law, and philosophy. P: Sr. stdg.

BKS 484. Nationalist Movements In Colonial Africa. 3 credits. SP (Same as AFS 484, HIS 484)

Examination of the social institutions of black Africa; the roles and meaning of the "tribe", ethnicity and the family. P: So. stdg.

BKS 485. Society And Belief Systems In Africa. 3 credits. SP (Same as AFS 485, HIS 485)

History of Africa south of the Sahara and west of the Cameroons Highlands, African cultural traditions, contact with Islam and the West, the State building, the European invasions, the colonial period, and reemergent states. P: So. stdg.

BKS 486. Women and Gender in Africa. 3 credits.

A study of the roles and representations of women and gender as conceptual and analytical categories in African history and society. P: So. Stdg.

BKS 487. History of West Africa. 3 credits. OD (Same as AFS 487, HIS 487)

History of Africa south of the Sahara and west of the Cameroons Highlands, African cultural traditions, contact with Islam and the West, the State building, the European invasions, the colonial period, and reemergent states. P: So. stdg.

BKS 489. Southern Africa: The Politics Of Race. 3 credits. OD (Same as AFS 489, HIS 489)

Examination of the historical development of the social and political structures of modern Southern Africa. Primary focus on South Africa, Rhodesia-Zimbabwe, and Namibia. Analysis of the place of "race" in national policies. Includes apartheid, black nationalism, decolonization, guided democracy, and the interrelationship between economic developments and the social and political systems. P: So. stdg.

BKS 493. Directed Independent Readings. 1-3 credits. OD

Course designed to allow an individual student with an interest in a particular area to pursue it under the direction of a willing faculty member. P: BKS Coordinator's consent.

BKS 497. Directed Independent Research. 1-3 credits. OD

Independent research course. P: IC.

BKS 589. The Rwanda Genocide as a Challenge for the Church. 3 credits.

Exploration of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide in historical, theological, and political contexts with particular focus on roles played by majority Catholic Church. P: THL 100.