The African American Studies Department is a multidisciplinary program of study that seeks, through the humanities and social sciences, to explore key aspects of the Black experience in a systematic and structurally integrated fashion. Its broad educational purposes are to engender among all students an intellectual appreciation of Black life in Africa and the Americas (especially in the United States); to enrich the Oberlin College curriculum; and to increase the relevance of an Oberlin education to a culturally diverse world. Thus, the department strives to provide the student body, in general, with substantive knowledge of the Black experience and values that maximizes possibilities for racial harmony. The department is aided in its efforts by the Afrikan Heritage House, which serves as the College’s Black communal and cultural center.
The African American Studies curriculum offers extensive study of the Black experience in a diasporic setting, including but not limited to, Africa, North America, and the Caribbean. These offerings are arranged in three categories: introductory, intermediate, and advanced. All introductory courses are open without prerequisite, except as indicated in the course description. African American Studies 101 and other beginning courses may serve as prerequisites to all intermediate and advanced courses.