What is African American Studies?
African American Studies began as a discipline formally with a student strike at San Francisco State in 1968. Students demanded that the history and culture of black Americans be included as part of the curriculum and intellectual life on their campus. The African American Studies Program at the College of Charleston carries on that legacy.
Offering both an interdisciplinary major and minor which focus on the study of African American history, culture, and experiences, African American Studies prepares students for academic excellence and social responsibility. The African American Studies program utilizes an engaged, interdisciplinary faculty, drawing from courses in nine different academic disciplines: African American Studies, as well as anthropology, sociology, English, political science, education, theater, history, religious studies, and psychology. The program in African American Studies asks students and faculty to think seriously about African American history and culture, and about the challenges and opportunities of living and working in a multi-ethnic world.
Through partnerships with the Avery Research Center, the Charleston County Public Library system, the International African American Museum, MUSC, the Gullah-Geechee Heritage Corridor Commission, the Slave Mart Museum, and others, students have a remarkable opportunity to do African American Studies.
Our students know why the Civil War was in fact a conflict over slavery, and not state’s rights. They know what to say when someone asks whether it’s okay to use the n-word. They understand what it means to talk about Barack Obama as a post-racial president. They are comfortable talking about the racial implications of the latest public health policy or urban renewal plan. In short, they have valuable knowledge and skills that others don’t, knowledge and skills that employers and graduate schools are looking for.
First Lady Michelle Obama, Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett, astronaut Mae Jemison, and Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder all have degrees in African American Studies. Shouldn’t you?
Interim Program Director: Simon Lewis
11 Glebe St., room 301
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