African American Studies Track

I.  Basic Requirements: 12 half-courses

A.  Required Courses

1.  AAAS 10. Introduction to African American Studies. Students should take this course by the end of their sophomore year. (Students who transfer into the concentration after their sophomore year will be permitted to substitute for AAAS 10 a course in African and African American Studies they have already taken, but only if they can demonstrate to the Director of Undergraduate Studies that they have established a basic familiarity with the materials covered in AAAS 10).

2.  A half-course in pre-20th Century African American history. The course must give students in-depth knowledge of slavery and the transition from slavery to freedom in the United States or in the Americas more broadly. (Students must select from a pre-approved list of courses available on the Department’s website or petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies for a substitution.) 
See attached file "History Courses" in the sidebar.

3.  AAAS 131. African American Literature from the Beginnings to the Harlem Renaissance.

4.  Two half-courses in African American studies, one in the humanities and one in the social sciences. (These courses need not be given in the department).  See attached file "Humanities and Social Sciences Courses" in the sidebar.

5.  Four additional half-courses in African American studies taken as electives. These may include relevant courses from the Program in General Education and the Core Curriculum. In picking these four half-courses students should declare a focus. Some students will declare a disciplinary focus or a more general focus in humanities or social sciences; others will choose an area of focus in African American or Afro-Caribbean cultures; still others will elect a thematic, methodological, or comparative focus (e.g., comparative ethnic studies, comparative literary analysis, urban studies). These are not the only possibilities, but students should be prepared to make a coherent case for the course of electives they select.

6.  One half-course in African studies.

B.  Tutorials

1.  Sophomore Tutorial: AAAS 97.  Race, Class, and Colonialism in Africa and the Americas. (Restricted to concentrators and others by permission of instructor.)
2.  Junior Tutorial: AAAS 98, a half-course individual tutorial that focuses on an African American studies topic.

C.  Other Information

1.  Pass/Fail: No course used for the concentration may be taken Pass/Fail, with the exception of AAAS 99.
2.  Teaching: Concentrators may be eligible to obtain certification to teach in middle or secondary schools in Massachusetts and states with which Massachusetts has reciprocity. See information about the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program (UTEP).
3.  Students can take AAAS 10, and 97 in succeeding terms starting in their freshman or sophomore year, and then proceed to do individual tutorials in the junior year. Nevertheless, the tutorial program is designed to allow great flexibility: students who declare late may take AAAS 97 concurrently with AAAS 10, for example. Concentrators may be permitted to substitute for AAAS 10, if they declare late.

II.  Requirements for Honors Eligibility: 12-14 half-courses

A.  Required Courses:

●  Same as Basic Requirements

B.  Tutorials

1.  Same as Basic Requirements
2.  Same as Basic Requirements
3.  Senior year: One year of AAAS 99. Senior Thesis Workshop required (see below).

C.  Thesis

●  Required for eligibility for High and Highest Honors. A student who has not written a thesis but has attained a GPA of at least 3.9 in twelve concentration courses may be recommended for Honors (but not High or Highest Honors) 

D.  Other Information

●  Same as Basic Requirements

III.  Requirements for Joint Concentration (Honors Only): 8 half-courses (including thesis)

A.  Required Courses

1.  AAAS 10: Introduction to African American Studies.
2.  A half-course in pre-20th Century African American history. The course must give students in depth knowledge of slavery and the transition from slavery to freedom in the United States or in the Americas more broadly. (Students must select from a pre-approved list of courses available on the Department’s website or petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies for a substitution.)
3.  Two half-courses in African American studies, one in the humanities and one in the social sciences.

B.  Tutorials

1.  Sophomore Tutorial: AAAS 97. Race, Class, and Colonialism in Africa and the Americas. (Restricted to concentrators and others by permission of instructor.)
2.  Junior Tutorial: AAAS 98 or junior tutorial equivalent in primary concentration if African and African American Studies is the allied concentration.
3.  Senior year: One year of AAAS 99 required, if African and African American Studies is the primary concentration. If African and African American Studies is the allied concentration, the student should register for the thesis tutorial in the primary concentration.

C.  Thesis

●  Required. Thesis must be related to both fields. Both departments will participate in evaluating the thesis.

D.  Other Information

1.  Pass/Fail: No course used for the concentration may be taken Pass/Fail, with the exception of AAAS 99.
2.  Students can take AAAS 10/11, and 97 in succeeding terms starting in their freshman or sophomore year, and then proceed to do individual tutorials in the junior year. Nevertheless, the tutorial program is designed to allow great flexibility: students who declare late may take AAAS 97 concurrently with AAAS 10/11, for example. Concentrators may be permitted to substitute for AAAS 10/11, if they declare late.

Advising

Beginning in the sophomore year, concentrators will work directly with their individual advisers and with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to create a plan of study that meets their academic interests. The Department requires that students develop a focus as part of their declaration of the concentration. This plan of study will take cognizance of disciplinary requirements and the option of study abroad, yet it will be flexible enough to accommodate students in pursuit of their own specific intellectual interests. At the end of the sophomore year, students are asked to submit a 1-2 page Concentration Focus Statement describing the main area(s) of study they wish to explore. The Director of Undergraduate Studies will meet with students, if they request, in order to assist them in the formulation of the statement of concentration focus.

For up-to-date information on advising in African and African American Studies, please see the Advising Programs Office website

Resources

The Franklin D. and Wendy F. Raines Library, in the Department of African and African American Studies, is located on the second floor of the Barker Center and contains a non-circulating collection of important books, academic and popular periodicals, and offprints, as well as an extensive audio and video collections. Past undergraduate theses are also available. An important resource for African Studies concentrators is the Center for African Studies, which offers summer travel grants to assist Harvard juniors with senior honors thesis research. Please see their website for more information. They can also guide you to resources in teaching, research, and advisory work on Africa in a number of departments, centers, and institutes at Harvard. Harvard's Office of International Programs has approved study abroad in eleven African countries. To plan their term in Africa, students should meet with the Director of the Office of International Programs.

 

How to find out more

For more information, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Graduate and Undergraduate Program Officer, or visit our department at Barker Center.

Jean Comaroff Director of Undergraduate Studies

Office:
Email:
Barker Center
jeancomaroff@fas.harvard.edu
Phone:
Fax:
(617) 496-2519
(617) 496-2871
. Graduate and Undergraduate Program Officer
Office:
Email:
Barker Center
aehines@fas.harvard.edu
Phone:
Fax:
(617) 384-7767
(617) 496-2871
Department of African and African American Studies
Office:Barker Center, 2nd floor
12 Quincy St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone:
Fax:
(617) 495-4113
(617) 496-2871