Africana Studies

The concentration in Africana Studies critically examines the artistic, historical, literary, and theoretical expressions of the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora.  Central to the work of students and faculty in the concentration is the close collaboration of artists, scholars, and writers in examining relationships between academic and artistic knowledge about the world and human experience.  Concentrators work closely with faculty members in developing new knowledge about the world and human existence through the critical and comprehensive study of the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora.  Concentrators are encouraged to study abroad in Africa, the Caribbean, and/or Latin America and to acquire language competency in a language other than English spoken in Africa and the diaspora.

In order to develop requisite competency, Africana Studies concentrators must complete eight (8) semester-long courses offered by or cross-listed with the Department. Concentrators may also petition the Department to accept other appropriate courses.

Of these courses, the following two Africana Studies courses are required:

  • AFRI 0090 An Introduction to Africana Studies (Fall ONLY)
  • AFRI 1360 Africana Studies: Knowledge, Texts and Methodology–Senior Capstone Seminar (Spring ONLY)

The Department strongly encourages foreign study in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America, during the student's junior year. While the department actively supports programs in South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Brazil, and the English-Speaking Caribbean, concentrators must complete at least six (6) courses in residence at Brown.

The Department also encourages the acquisition of language competencies, in addition to English, which are spoken in Africa and the Diaspora. Since no continental African language is currently offered at Brown, concentrators who study abroad and acquire certified competency in any African language are welcome to petition the department for competency credit.


Africana Studies' concentrators with outstanding records may be admitted to the department's Honors Program. Prior to the end of the concentrator's junior year and while working in consultation with a faculty advisor, the student must prepare a work plan. This plan, not to exceed three (3) typewritten pages, must be approved and signed by the faculty advisor who is to direct the Honor's thesis. At the onset of the senior year, the Honor's candidate is expected to have become familiar with the secondary works in the field. Secondary readings should be extensive and be incorporated into the work plan. The Honor's candidate is also expected to complete a research paper of distinguished quality while enrolled in a 1000-level seminar. Participation in the Africana Studies senior-level capstone seminar AFRI 1360 is required.
For students completing graduation requirements by the end of Semester I (Fall), projects must be submitted by December 1st. For students completing graduation requirements by Semester II (Spring), the project should be submitted by April 20th. By the end of the fourth (4th) week of the concentrator's seventh (7th) semester, a written proposal approved by the advisor and a secondary reader must be submitted to the concentration advisor. A progress report, prepared and signed by the student and countersigned by the faculty advisor must be presented to the concentration advisor.