Academic Program

Professors Fra-Molinero (Hispanic Studies, co-chair), Nero (Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies), and Pickens (English); Associate Professors Chapman (Music) and Houchins (Africana, co-chair); Assistant Professors Baker (History), Banks (Biology), Ellasante (Gender and Sexuality Studies), Medford (Sociology), and Otim (History); Visiting Assistant Professor Rubin (Anthropology)

The Program in Africana encompasses the study of world making in Africa and its global diaspora. The program faculty embrace a progressive interdisciplinary approach, foregrounding Blackness, white supremacy, and anti-blackness. Courses emphasize the dynamics of unequal power, the production of culture and aesthetics, and the formation of personal and group identity. The program aims to enrich knowledge of the peoples of Africa and its global diaspora, whether in conditions of freedom or unfreedom. Students of Africana work to understand race as an intersectional concept constituted by gender, sexuality, ability, and class, among other social locations, as well as the global movement of ideas, including secular practices, intellectual traditions, religion and spirituality, and social formations of African-descended peoples. Africana prepares students for a range of careers, including research and teaching, public policy, law, advocacy and community work, and artistic production and curation. Effective in 2019-20, the Program in Africana superseded the long-established Program in African American Studies.

The chair of Africana provides a list of courses offered each year. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program, students should 1) consult regularly with the chair or a faculty advisor to ensure that their program has both breadth and depth and 2) devise programs of study approved by the chair or a faculty advisor by the fall semester of the junior year. 

Thesis advisors are chosen by each student, in consultation with the chair, according to the subject matter of the thesis. 

More information on the Africana program is available on the website (bates.edu/africana).