Feb 24, 2020  
Course Catalog 2005-2006 
Course Catalog 2005-2006 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

African American Studies

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The requirements for the major in African American Studies are consistent with our view of the field as a multidisciplinary and area studies program. Major prerequisites are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the Black experience as well as a firm grounding in a single field of study. Both breadth and depth in the field are to be obtained by majors.

The major consists of a minimum of 30 hours. In consultation with their major advisor, students are expected to develop a balanced program of study and to supplement their work with courses in fields related to their special needs and interests:

  1. As the introduction to the discipline, African American Studies 101 is required of all majors and must be taken in the freshman or sophomore year.
  2. All majors are required to take at least one course in each of the three following subject areas: African, African American, and Caribbean Studies.
  3. All majors are required to take courses within the department that total not less than nine hours in the humanities and nine hours in the social science divisions of the major, as multidisciplinary training. Students must also ensure that these courses are drawn from at least four of the five core fields (i.e., education, history, literature, politics, and fine arts), with a minimum of three credit hours in each chosen field.
  4. An additional nine hours, including the Senior Seminar, are to be taken in a single field of specialization in one of the following areas: education, history, literature, politics, and the fine arts (i.e. art, music, theater and dance). Students are required to show a balance between introductory and advanced courses in their specialization.
  5. All majors are required to take the Senior Seminar in their junior or senior year.
  6. Up to six hours of credit may be gained from cross-listed or cross-referenced courses (such as MHST 290, 291, POLT 224, RELG 284, and SOCI 277), or from approved cognate courses.


A minor in the field consists of a minimum of 15 hours in African American Studies. In addition to the introductory survey course, student minors are expected to take at least one course from four of the five fields of: education, politics, history, literature or fine arts. All minors are required to take at least one three hour credit course in each of the three following subject areas: African, African American, and Caribbean Studies.


The Honors Program offers an opportunity for majors of proven ability and independence to extend their competence in the field of African American Studies. Participation in the Honors Program shall be by invitation only.

Students have the option of writing a research paper, completing a special arts project, or demonstrating advanced pedagogical skills. All Honors work is supervised by a faculty advisor who assists the student in defining the nature of his/her Honors project.

Africa Program

Study opportunities are offered in the English-speaking countries of Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania where students are placed at universities or accommodated in international programs like those offered by the School for International Training (SIT). Similar opportunities exist for students proficient in French at the Universities of Dakar, and Sheikh Anta Diop, in Senegal. Students on financial aid should consult the Director of Financial Aid before planning to participate in the program.

Off-Campus Programs for Credit

Field work in programs approved by Oberlin College in Africa and the Caribbean is encouraged. In the United States there is a long-standing Fisk program in Tennessee which allows for the exchange of students between our two institutions. By approval of the department students may count a maximum of six hours of such work toward the major. Prior permission from the department must be obtained to receive credit.

Transfer of Credit

Students transferring credits in African American Studies from courses taken at other institutions may apply a maximum of nine credit hours toward the major with the approval of the department. Individual cases for students who transfer into the College after their sophomore year will be reviewed by the department.

Winter Term

The African American Studies faculty will sponsor individual projects, on- or off-campus, in African and African American art, dance, education, history, literature, politics, and theater.

Private Reading

Students may schedule a private reading course during their junior or senior years. No more than one reading course may be taken in any one semester, nor more than two during the undergraduate program. Normally the private readings may not duplicate regularly scheduled course.

African American Studies Department Online (afamstud)

For more information on courses, instructors or Afrikan Heritage House (the cultural center), please visit our home page at: www.oberlin.edu/afamstud/ .

Cross-Referenced Courses

The following cross-referenced courses count toward the African American Studies major and minor.

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