Africana Studies

Explore African diaspora history, culture, and race relations.

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Africana Studies, B.A.

In the Africana Studies major, students learn about the history and culture of people of African descent throughout the diaspora, race relations, and socio-economic/political institutions.

Students take courses with professors from diverse backgrounds that cover international, contemporary, and historical issues across various disciplines, including political science, history, geography, literature, and philosophy. Seniors are required to present research projects that analyze a specific aspect of the Black diasporic experience. A study abroad opportunity is offered in Senegal, Africa.

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Careers
Requirements
Faculty

News Briefs

McCray finds ancestors' achievements, more diversity

Breia McCray, among the first Africana Studies majors, previously took an introduction course to study contributions of African-Americans and find more diversity on campus. "I learned so much about myself within a few months," McCray says. "The class taught me that I do not have to focus only on the enslavement of African-Americans, but I can also examine stories about their success and achievements." Educational institutions she had attended had lacked such a major, and she said black scholars and their scholarship were marginalized or ignored. "Now I feel a part of something great! The establishment of an Africana Studies major will not only benefit black students, but also students who are interested in learning about the history and culture of people of African descent," McCray says. The new major will allow McCray to expand knowledge about her ancestors' "contributions to the national legacy of this country and abroad."

Student 'ecstatic' life-changing program turns into major

First-generation college student Janeka Haden entered MTSU "an undecided major, undecided about my future, and undecided about my next move." Always interested in history, especially courses about her culture and heritage, she declared Social Work her major and African American Studies her minor as a sophomore. "As I began to explore AAS courses, I realized the classes, along with the faculty, were some of the most fervent I have ever experienced," she says. Now converted to an Africana Studies major, the program and faculty have "created a culture that was unmatched and made you feel welcome no matter what your ethnic background." She was "ecstatic" to learn in Spring 2017 that a major was planned and kept checking for official word. "Every person of African descent and individuals who share a love for the subject should be able to experience some of the life-changing professors and content I have encountered," she says.

News Briefs

McCray finds ancestors' achievements, more diversity

Breia McCray, among the first Africana Studies majors, previously took an introduction course to study contributions of African-Americans and find more diversity on campus. "I learned so much about myself within a few months," McCray says. "The class taught me that I do not have to focus only on the enslavement of African-Americans, but I can also examine stories about their success and achievements." Educational institutions she had attended had lacked such a major, and she said black scholars and their scholarship were marginalized or ignored. "Now I feel a part of something great! The establishment of an Africana Studies major will not only benefit black students, but also students who are interested in learning about the history and culture of people of African descent," McCray says. The new major will allow McCray to expand knowledge about her ancestors' "contributions to the national legacy of this country and abroad."

Student 'ecstatic' life-changing program turns into major

First-generation college student Janeka Haden entered MTSU "an undecided major, undecided about my future, and undecided about my next move." Always interested in history, especially courses about her culture and heritage, she declared Social Work her major and African American Studies her minor as a sophomore. "As I began to explore AAS courses, I realized the classes, along with the faculty, were some of the most fervent I have ever experienced," she says. Now converted to an Africana Studies major, the program and faculty have "created a culture that was unmatched and made you feel welcome no matter what your ethnic background." She was "ecstatic" to learn in Spring 2017 that a major was planned and kept checking for official word. "Every person of African descent and individuals who share a love for the subject should be able to experience some of the life-changing professors and content I have encountered," she says.

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CAREERS

Businesses already seek to hire individuals who have an understanding of working in and with diverse populations. Within the next 30 years, a majority non-white national demographic will populate the American society, and appreciation of multi-racial perspectives will be an important skill set. This program also helps prepare students interested in international business related to the West Indies (Caribbean) and Africa, where economies are progressing. Africa has nine of the 20 fastest-growing economies in the world, and U.S. imports/exports are experiencing huge increases. With a degree in Africana Studies, students will be able to pursue graduate education and/or careers in many fields. Examples include, but are not limited to

  • business management
  • city planning
  • education
  • international business/foreign relations (as advisors, analysts, investors/developers, entrepreneurs, and academic scholars)
  • international relations
  • journalism
  • law
  • psychology
  • public health
  • public history (including archives, cultural resource management, historic homes, historic preservation, and museums)
  • social work

Employers of MTSU alumni

This information is still being compiled since this is a new major.

Noteworthy Africana Studies or African American Studies Majors

  • Angela Bassett, award-winning actress
  • Mae Jemison, physician and NASA astronaut
  • Ava DuVernay, filmmaker and Selma producer
  • Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans

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