Focusing on the study of people of African descent in the US and the African diaspora

African American Studies (AFAM) focuses on the study of people of African descent in the United States and the African diaspora.  AFAM originated in 1969 through courses intended to foster awareness of African Americans' role in the development of the United States and the world. Because a thorough understanding of the African American experience cannot be achieved through study restricted to the perspective of a single discipline, all students are required to pursue courses in the humanities, social sciences, and performing arts.

AFAM draws on faculty from many academic departments, including American Studies, Communication Studies, English, History, Journalism and Mass Communication, Religious Studies, Rhetoric, Sociology, Theatre Arts, and Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies.

The department offers both a Bachelor of Arts degree and an undergraduate minor in African American Studies.  All course offerings and more detailed requirements are available in the UI General Catalog.

Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies

The Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies is an academic program designed to prepare students to understand basic facts, principles, key figures, and events related to African American experience in American society, plus recognize the significant contributions of African Americans in the United States and abroad. Students learn to critically analyze cultural issues shaping the lives and conditions of African Americans through curriculum, community service, and service learning as they confirm the value of diversity in the 21st century.

Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to demonstrate:

  • understanding of basic facts, principles, key figures, and events related to African American experience in American society, plus recognize the significant contributions of African Americans in the United States and abroad.
  • familiarity with the foundations of the discipline of African American Studies and the development of the field, specifically conceptual ideas that shape the academic study of African American life.
  • acquiring the tools for contextualizing and understanding the intersectionality of race, class, gender, and/or sexual orientation in an effort to identify relevant challenges and solve human problems related to the African American community.

Want to get started?

Learn more about the program, including courses, curriculum, and requirements here.

Minor in African American Studies

The minor in African American Studies is an academic program designed to prepare students to understand basic facts, principles, key figures, and events related to African American experience in American society, plus recognize the significant contributions of African Americans in the United States and abroad.

Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to demonstrate:

  • understanding of basic facts, principles, key figures, and events related to African American experience in American society, plus recognize the significant contributions of African Americans in the United States and abroad.
  • familiarity with the foundations of the discipline of African American Studies and the development of the field, specifically conceptual ideas that shape the academic study of African American life.
  • acquiring the tools for contextualizing and understanding the intersectionality of race, class, gender, and/or sexual orientation in an effort to identify relevant challenges and solve human problems related to the African American community.

Want to get started?

Learn more about the program, including courses, curriculum, and requirements here.