The African American studies major offers an
interdisciplinary approach to studying the experiences of people of
African descent in the
black Atlantic world, especially in the United States and the Caribbean.
The major allows undergraduates to apply the methodologies and insights
of many disciplines to understanding the cultural, historical,
political, and social development of people of African descent. Our
courses explore the social structures and cultural traditions that
Africans in the
diaspora have created. They also provide students with the necessary
tools for understanding Western conceptualizations of race and the
relationship between issues of race and identity. African American
studies offers all Wesleyan students, and especially its majors, a solid
grounding in theories of race and a deep understanding of the Americas.
Students who complete the requirements for the major will receive a
degree in African American studies, with concentration in a specific
discipline or topical study.
Students must earn a grade of B- or better in one of the three AFAM
courses (AFAM202, 203, or 204) to be admitted to the major.
American studies majors must complete 11 semester courses. At least
these courses must be cross-listed with African American studies (the
required core courses, the required junior colloquium, and the three
courses). All courses must be letter-graded. One research tutorial can
counted toward the 11 required courses, as can two courses taken away
Wesleyan. All courses must be letter-graded and must be completed at
Wesleyan. One research tutorial can be counted toward the 11 required
as can two courses taken away from Wesleyan (toward the concentration).
The major program must include the following:
Required core courses (3 courses).
Students are required to take and successfully complete all three
of the core
courses. Students may not substitute or transfer any other course to
AFAM202 Introduction to African American
AFAM203 African American History, 1444-1877
AFAM204 Introduction to Modern African American
AFAM elective courses (3 courses).
Majors must complete one elective course in each of the following
Literature and literary theory
Social and behavioral sciences (any AFAM SBS course
The arts (art, art history, dance, film, creative writing,
The three elective courses must be 200-level or higher. These
should be cross-listed with African American studies, although in
circumstances students can petition to use a course that is not formally
cross-listed with AFAM as one of their electives.
Junior colloquium: Theory and Methods in African American Studies (AFAM301), is required of all majors and should be taken in
the first semester of the junior year.
of concentration (4 courses).
Each major must take four courses for his or her
Concentrations may be conceived either disciplinarily,
with the four courses coming from a single department, or
thematically, with courses selected from different disciplines but
designed around a specific topic.
Concentration courses do not necessarily have to be cross-listed with AFAM.
100-level course can count in the concentration. None of the four
in the field of concentration can count toward the AFAM core
courses or the
AFAM elective courses. Students should design their
concentrations in consultation
with their advisor.
Majors are required to undertake one substantial research or
artistic project under faculty
supervision. This may take the form of an honors thesis, a senior essay
through an individual tutorial, or a research paper of at least 15 pages
length done in a 300-level AFAM seminar. Any work done to
fulfill the research
requirement must receive a grade of B- or better.