Africana Studies

Mission Statement

The Department of Africana Studies is an intellectual community and academic unit committed to producing, refining and advancing the holistic knowledge of Black people in the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Africa from a culturally relevant perspective. Our mission is to advance and broaden ideas set forth in the Department’s founding document in 1969 that seek to promote the rich, dynamic, and enduring nature of the African world experience through a comprehensive curriculum and innovative modes of teaching, research, and learning. To this end, we are committed to providing students with a learning environment that critically examines Africana history, politics, literature, culture, arts, media, and values. Our major goal relating to this mission is twofold: to investigate areas of the Black experience that have been marginalized, neglected or distorted by white supremacy and racial oppression, and, through this effort, to identify and appreciate the historic achievements, challenges, and substantive contributions of peoples of African descent to world civilization and culture.

The key to disseminating this mission is our faculty. The faculty in Africana Studies is drawn from academic disciplines as diverse as African American Studies, literature, cultural studies, education, psychology, history and sociology, and committed to pushing the boundaries of knowledge through excellence in interdisciplinary scholarship and student-centered pedagogy. Moreover, we are at the forefront of advancing the discipline by researching and teaching new and innovative scholarship produced by the critical study of the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation informed by multiple theoretical and methodological perspectives.

Africana Studies also recognizes the importance of preparing students to become conscious and productive citizens of the world. Thus, we provide them with intellectual tools to develop culturally relevant critical reasoning, communication and research skills, to nurture sensitivity to and appreciation for cultural diversity, and to value a community-oriented approach to learning. Equipped with these skills, we believe students of Africana Studies will be able to critically analyze the cultural, political and historical contexts of African and African Diaspora experiences. Our ultimate mission then is to train and produce the next generation of student-scholars who are culturally competent and committed to the ideals of academic excellence and social responsibility vital to success in the professional world, and at the same time prepared to uplift the global Africana community.