Africana Studies

What could you do with an Africana Studies Degree?

There are no limits to what you can do with a major in Africana Studies; but it does require commitment, self-determination, creativity and innovation to be successful with such a degree. As a major or minor in this area, the multidisciplinary curriculum and its interdisciplinary nature provides an invaluable foundation in critical thinking, communication, research, writing and analysis—skills that form the core of a strong general liberal arts education. Africana Studies is not a technical degree, but the courses students complete, equips them for a variety of transferable and broad professional abilities employers seek, such as: effective communicators, critical problem solvers, creative imagination, self directed and the ability to adapt to a culturally diverse environment. 

A Bachelors degree in Africana Studies prepares students interested in history, policy, sociology, culture, entertainment, language, law, foreign affairs, and education, among many others, with the skills to become outstanding, productive citizens within their communities, the U.S. and global societies. Africana Studies has been around long enough to produce men and women who have earned distinction in their professions, not only at CSUN but also throughout the United States. Some notable Africana/Black/African American Studies majors/minors include:

Business & Industry

Peter C.B. Bynoe…….Pro Basketball Franchise Owner. First African American to own a NBA franchise when he purchased the Denver Nuggets in 1989. Other business ventures followed.
B.A., MBA, J.D., Harvard University.

Mishka Brown…….CEO of Aerolith Incorporated, a media consulting and technology development company in New York City.
B.A., Yale University.

Paul E. Butler……. Director of Program Enterprises for VH1 Music First and Country Music Television (CMT).
B.A., University of Rochester. J.D., Harvard University.

Brad Davidson…….Vice President, Top 40 Promotion, Columbia Records.
B.A., University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Karume James…….Union Organizer. Employed by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Former chairman of UCLA’s Afrikan Student Union.

Laurie M. Jonsson…….Founding director of Expedia and former co-owner of a cruise line, an investment company, and co-founder of the University of Washington’s Center for Women and Democracy.
B.A., University of Washington.

Daymi Lembesi…….Yoga/Pilates Instructor. Owner of Brahman Sports, teaching yoga and pilates to athletes.
B.A., San Francisco State University.

Ashindi Maxton…….Director of Research & Special Projects, Democracy Alliance, a socially responsible financial investment company.
B.A., University of California at Berkeley.

Craig Thompson…….Founder and President of Thompson Communications, an education and media consulting firm. An Associate in the law firm of Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles. Hosts radio and television talk shows in Baltimore.
B.A., University of Maryland. J.D., University of Maryland.

CSUN Pan African/ Africana Studies Alumni

Jacquil Constant…… ’02 (RTVF/PAS), a filmmaker

James Golden…… ’07 (Pan-African Studies), poet, author and 2012 NAACP Image Award Winner in poetry

James Henry…… ’91 (Afro-American Studies), college counselor and professor

Shanté Morgan-Durisseau…… ’90 (Journalism/Afro-American Studies), a journalist and editor; founder of Nguzo Saba, the first independent black student newspaper at CSUN; the first African-American woman to serve as chair of the Ventura County Commission for Women; founding president of the CSUN Black Alumni Association


More Information on Department Alumni



Rakim H. D. Brooks…….Rhodes Scholar (2009). Slated to study comparative social policy at Oxford University.
B.A., Brown University.

Sean T. Buffington…….President and CEO of The University of the Arts in Philadelphia (enrollment 2,300).
B.A., Harvard University. M.A., University of Michigan.

Kristie Dotson…….Philosophy Professor. Michigan State University.
B.A., Coe College. Ph.D., University of Memphis.

Michael V. Drake……. Chancellor of the University of California at Irvine and Doctor of Ophthalmology.
A.B., Stanford University. M.D., University of California at San Francisco.

Charlene Hayes…….Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources at Johns Hopkins University.
B.A., Cornell University. J.D., George Washington University.

Dwight Hopkins…….Theology Professor, University of Chicago.
B.A., Harvard University. Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary. Ph.D., University of Cape Town.

Adrienne Israel…….Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean at Guilford College.
M.A., Howard University, 1973. Ph.D. in History, Johns Hopkins U.

Genteen L. Jean-Michel…….Principal, Lee Academy Pilot School, an elementary school in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
B.A. and M.Ed., University of Massachusetts-Boston.

Pamela B. Organista…….Professor and Chair of Psychology at the University of San Francisco.
B.A., Washington University. Ph.D., Arizona State University.


Abimbola S. Bamgboye…….Attorney. Associate in the Park Avenue firm of WilmeHale, representing clients in hedge funds and institutional investors.
B.A., SUNY-Binghamton. J.D., American University.

Erin Dozier…….Associate General Counsel at the National Association of Broadcasters.
B.A., Hampshire College. J.D., George Washington University

Tanya Greene…….An attorney in the Capital Defender Office in New York City representing people charged with capital crimes. Received the 1999 Reebok International Human Rights Award for her work against the death penalty.
B.A., Wesleyan University. J.D., Harvard University.

Leslie Harris…….Judge. Suffolk (Massachusetts) Juvenile Court judge.
M.A., Boston University, 1994. J.D., Boston College.

Jennifer Madden…….Deputy District Attorney for Alameda County, California.
B.A., University of California-Berkeley. J.D., University of California-Berkeley.

Richard W. Roberts…….Judge. Appointed In 1998 appointed By President Clinton to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He had previously worked in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
B.A., cum laude, Vassar College. J.D., Columbia University.

Literature & Poetry

Michael Datcher…….Award-winning poet and journalist who has made numerous TV and radio appearances. Author of Raising Fences: A Black Man’s Love Story (2001).
M.A., UC-Berkeley.

Bruce A. Jacobs…….Winner of the prestigious Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, and author of the critically acclaimed nonfiction book Race Manners (1999).
B.A., Harvard University.

Ethelbert Miller…….Award-winning poet, editor, college administrator and founder of the D.C. Humanities Council.
B.A., Howard University.

Gloria Naylor…….Novelist. Winner of the prestigious National Book Award in 1983 for The Women of Brewster Place (Viking Press). Guggenheim Fellow and National Endowment Fellow. She has taught at Penn, Cornell, and the University of Kent (England). Established her own multi-media production company.
M.A., Yale University, 1983.

Medicine & Health

Johnnie Allen…….President of the Board of Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE).
B.A., B.S., The College of Wooster. MPH, Tulane University.

Michael V. Drake…….Doctor of Ophthalmology. Chancellor of the University of California at Irvine.
A.B., Stanford University. M.D., University of California at San Francisco.

News Media

James T. Campbell…….Editorial writer for the Houston Chronicle. Former director of the Press Club of Houston.
B.A., University of Houston.

Clay Cain…….Entertainment journalist. Has written for a number of high=profile magazines and has interview top entertainment celebrities.
B.A., Rutgers University (Phi Beta Kappa).

Selwyn S. Hinds…….Former editor-in-chief of The Source, the leading hip hop magazine. He is also the author of two books.
B.A., Princeton University.

David Van Taylor…….Vice President of Lumiere Production Inc. Has written, directed, and edited highly acclaimed documentary films including the 1993 Emmynominated “Dream Deceivers.”
B.A., Harvard University.

Bill Whitaker…….CBS new correspondent based in Los Angeles. Frequently seen on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.
M.A., Boston University.

Performing Arts & Entertainment

Angela Bassett…….Actress. Winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in 1994 and an Oscar nominee for the movie “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”
B.A., Yale University. M.A., Drama, Yale University.

Harlina Churn-Diallo…….Choreographer-Artistic Director. Founder and Director of Imani Dance Company. Winner of several regional awards.
AB.S., University of Louisville.

Ava DuVernay…….Filmmaker. Owner of The DuVernay Agency, a marketing and PR firm.

Donald W. King…….Acting Director. Artistic/Executive Director of the Providence (RI) Black Repertory Company.
B.A., Brown University.

Sanaa Lathan…….Award-winning Hollywood actress. Most played the female lead role in the movie “Out of Time’ (2003) starring Denzel Washington and has appeared in episodes of television’s “Nip/Tuck..
B.A., UC-Berkeley. M.A., Yale School of Drama.

Brandon Wilson…….Filmmaker, screenwriter, and high school teacher.
B.A. and MFA, UCLA.

Politics and Government

Michelle Obama…….First Lady of the United States and Attorney.
BA in Sociology with a minor in African American Studies from Princeton University 

Carl Andrews…….Former New York State Senator and Majority Whip (Democrat). Elected in 2002 representing the 20th State Senatorial District.
M.A., State University of New York at Albany.

Willard Cooper…….Police Officer. Founder of the Wilson School (PA) Police Athletic League.
B.A., Temple University.

Jendayi Frazer…….Distinguished professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Former Senior Director of African Affairs at the National Security Council, appointed by Condoleezza Rice. Taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
B.A., Stanford University. Ph.D. in Political Science, Stanford University.


Alise D. Barrymore…….Dean of University Ministries and Campus Pastor at North Park University in Chicago. Winner of academic and preaching awards.
B.A., Yale U. M.Div., McCormick Theological Seminary.

Janelle Hooper…….Lutheran Pastor. Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Naperville, Illinois.
B.A., University of Texas-Austin. M.Div., Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Frank M. Reid…….Senior Pastor of Bethel AME Church in Baltimore. Prolific author, heard or radio and seen on television, and founder of Frank M. Reid Ministries.
B.A., Yale University. D.Min., United Theological Seminary.

Science & Technology

Mae Jemison…….Astronaut. Rocketed into space aboard the shuttle Endeavor in 1992 as a mission specialist. Received her M.D. from Cornell University School of Medicine.
B.A., Stanford University. M.D., Cornell University.

James Steven Hoffmaster…….Professor of Physics at Gonzaga University.
B.A., Edinboro State U. Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics, Stevens Institute of Technology.

Social, Community, & Humanitarian Services

Peter Bouckaert…….Emergency director for Human Rights Watch investigating human rights abuses around the globe.
B.A., University of California-Santa Barbara. J.D., Stanford University.

Antoinette Jackson…….Habitat for Humanity Board Chairperson (Houston). Also attorney in the firm of Coasts, Rose, Yale, Ryman & Lee.
B.A., University of Virginia. J.D., Texas Southern University.

Wendy D. Puriefoy…….President of the Public Education Network, the nation's largest network of community-based school-reform organizations.
M.A., Boston University.

Elizabeth Siwo-Okundi…….Founder of Orphan Wisdom Inc., a non-profit organization that assists orphans in Kenya.
B.A., Denison University. M.T., Harvard Divinity School.


Vince Carter…….Pro basketball superstar currently with the New Jersey Nets. .
B.A, University of North Carolina.

Lewis Chitengwa…….Professional Golfer who, in 1993 became the first black African (Zimbabwean) to win the South African Amateur Championship. The Lewis Chitengwa Foundation and the $100,000 Canadian Golf Tour’s Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Championship was established in his honor after his untimely death at age 26 in 2001.
B.A., University if Virginia.

Adam Hutchinson…….Head basketball coach at Washington and Lee University, formerly head basketball coach at Case Western Reserve University.
B.A., Amherst College.

Allan W. Houston Jr…….Pro Basketball Star. Played with the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks.
B.A., University of Tennessee.

Duer Sharp…….Commissioner, Southwestern Atlantic Conference (SAC).
B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison. M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Visual Arts

Rod Brown…….Comic book artist and creator Native Comics.
B.A., Emory University. B.A., Art Institute of Atlanta.

Sarah J. Glover…….Award-winning photographer for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
B.A., Syracuse University.

Thelma Golden…….Art museum director. Executive Director of the Studio Museum in Harlem. She has contributed to books and articles on American art.
B.A., Smith College.

Aaron McGruder…….Creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip “The Boondocks.”
B.A., University of Maryland.