African Studies

Program Director: Dr. Ogechukwu Williams,

African Studies is an interdisciplinary program drawing from faculty in the departments of History, English, Psychology, Cultural and Social Studies, Political Science, and Theology. It provides students with factual and theoretical material necessary to understand the multifaceted challenges facing contemporary Africa. Courses approach Africa from humanistic, ethnographic, historical, and policy-oriented perspectives. The program also sponsors films, social events, and visiting lectures to shed further light on Africa and the African diaspora in the 21st century.

Drawing on the expertise of a broad range of faculty, the cross-disciplinary African Studies Minor includes a range of courses in History, Anthropology, Political Science, English, Theology, and Psychology. Students will develop in-depth knowledge of African history, Africa's diverse peoples and cultures, and the political, economic and social challenges Africa faces in the 21st century. Students will learn the necessary analytic skills to make critical assessments about the complexity of African reality that goes beyond common media stereotypes.

Minor in African Studies requirements: 18 credits*

Choose any six of the following courses:18
Introduction To African Literature
AFS/HIS 277Global Perspectives on Medicine in Africa and the African Diaspora3
Global Health: A Biosocial and Justice-Oriented Approach
Origins of Modern Africa
AFS/PLS 311Politics of Africa3
The Rwanda Genocide as a Challenge for the Church
Demography: World Population Issues
Women and Gender in Africa
AFS/THL 309Ultimate Questions: African Theology3
AFS/ENG 398Literature of Francophone Africa3
Encountering Africa: Experiencing our Shared Humanity
ANT 178Global Citizenship3
Egyptian Art And Archaeology
Globalization and Leadership in Africa
The Making of Modern Egypt
PSY 367Contemporary Trends in Psychology1-3
Ecclesiology in Global Context
Global Poverty and Development
Cross-Cultural Issues in Psychology
Seminar in African Studies
Directed Independent Readings
Directed Independent Research
Total Credits34-36


AFS 277. Global Perspectives on Medicine in Africa and the African Diaspora. 3 credits.

Through the lens of race, gender, and imperialism, this course explores the historical role of medicine in shaping Africa's relations with the world, from the Arab incursions of the 7th century to the trans-Atlantic, colonial, and post-colonial encounters of the 15th to the 21st century. We reflect on medicine as an instrument of state formation, political domination and social control in Africa and the Afro-Atlantic. P: Critical Issues in Human Inquiry.

AFS 307. Demography: World Population Issues. 3 credits. FA (Same as ANT 307, EVS 307, SOC 307)

This course will provide a sociological examination of the development and evolution of different models of population dynamics from several contemporary cultures. It will place particular emphasis on the assumptions and logical consequences of each of these models. Includes a survey of historical and contemporary trends in population growth, as well as a review of competing perspectives about natural limits to that growth. P: So. stdg.

AFS 309. Ultimate Questions: African Theology. 3 credits.

This course offers an introduction to African Christian theology. Topics include African traditional religion and the history of Christianity in Africa; modern theological perspectives on God, Christology, liturgy & enculturation; and contemporary ecclesiological challenges (e.g., church and state, violence and reconciliation, poverty, patriarchy, and dialogue with Islam). P: Christian Tradition, Biblical Tradition, Philosophical Ideas.

AFS 311. Politics of Africa. 3 credits. AY, FA (Same as BKS 311, PLS 311)

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.

AFS 317. Global Health: A Biosocial and Justice-Oriented Approach. 3 credits. FA, SP (Same as ANT 317, HAP 317, SOC 317)

This course provides a biosocial framework for the study of Global Health arguing that global health issues can only be sufficiently understood and addressed by recognizing their physiological as well as their sociocultural contexts and the dynamic interplay between both. Global health as a discipline is, therefore, interdisciplinary and draws from diverse academic and applied disciplines and professions. This course also highlights the increased recognition in Global Health of health and access to health care as a human right and includes discussions on the importance of a commitment to global health justice and equity. P: So. stdg. P: So. stdg.

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

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

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

AFS 390. Introduction To African Literature. 3 credits. (Same as BKS 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: Critical Issues in Human Inquiry; Contemporary Composition.

AFS 398. Literature of Francophone Africa. 3 credits. SP (Same as BKS 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: Contemporary Composition course.

AFS 400. Seminar in African Studies. 3 credits. OD

Seminars offered on special topics related to African Studies. May be repeated under different subtitles.

AFS 405. Ethnicity, Nationalism and Democracy. 3 credits. AY (Same as PLS 405)

Recent history has brought a "wave" of democratization, along with intensifying ethnic awareness, nationalism and (at times) conflict. What are the major interpretations of the courses and prospects for these phenomena? How do ethnicity and nationalism affect democracy, human rights and the international system? Can multi-nation states such as Russia survive as democracies? How? This course considers trends in major regions and uses several case studies: Russia, Israel/Palestine, Nigeria, South Africa, India, and others. P: So. stdg.

AFS 470. Seminar In Film Studies: Africa And African American. 3 credits. (Same as BKS 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: Contemporary Composition course.

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

Case studies of the development and course of selected nationalist movements in European-ruled Africa. P: So. stdg.

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

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

AFS 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.

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

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

Individualized program of reading in an area of special interest under the direction of a faculty member. P: AFS coordinator consent.

AFS 495. Directed Independent Research. 3 credits. OD

Individualized program of reading in an area of special interest under the direction of a faculty member. P: AFS coordinator consent.

AFS 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.