African Studies Track

 

  1. Basic Requirements: 12 half-courses
    1. Required Courses
      1. AAAS 11. Introduction to African 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 11 a course in African 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 11).

      2. A half-course in African history. (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. Two half-courses in African studies, one in the social sciences and one in the humanities. (These courses need not be given in the department).

        See attached file "Humanities and Social Sciences Courses" in the sidebar

      4. Three additional half-courses in African Studies taken as electives. These may include relevant courses from the Program in General Education and the Core Curriculum. In selecting these three half-courses, students should declare a focus. Some students will declare a disciplinary focus or more general focus in the humanities or social sciences; others will choose an area focus or thematic methodological or comparative focus (e.g., comparative literary or historical analysis, comparative economic and political development). These are not the only possibilities, but students are required to make a coherent case for the course of electives they choose.

      5. Two half-courses of an African language. The language requirement is met by attaining a level of competence equivalent to two half-courses of African language study. Students who can show evidence at the beginning of their concentration that they have a level of competence equivalent to two half-courses of African language study will be required to substitute other courses offered in the department. Language courses taken outside of Harvard may be substituted upon approval by the Director of the African Language Program and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

      6. One half-course in African American studies (U.S. focused).

    2. 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 98a, a half-course individual tutorial that focuses on an African studies topic.

    3. 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 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 11, for example. Concentrators may be permitted to substitute for AAAS 11, if they declare late.

      4. Study Abroad: Students are encouraged to explore the options available for study in Africa, either during the regular academic year or the summer. It is recommended that students study abroad in the spring term of their junior year. In either case they must get approval of their plan of study from the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies.

  2. Requirements for Honors Eligibility: 12 - 14 half-courses
    1. Required Courses
      • Same as Basic Requirements
    2. 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).

    3. 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).
    4. Other information
      • Same as Basic Requirements.

  3. Requirements for Joint Concentration (Honors only): 8 half-courses (including thesis)
    1. Required Courses
      1. AAAS 11. Introduction to African Studies.

      2. A half-course in African history. (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 of an African language. Students who intend to conduct thesis research in Africa are encouraged to continue African language instruction beyond the first year.

    2. 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 98a 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.

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

    4. Other Information
      • Same as Basic Requirements.

 

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 our Director of Undergraduate Studies, our Undergraduate Program Officer, or visit us at Barker Center.

Jean Comaroff
Director of Undergraduate Studies
jeancomaroff@fas.harvard.edu
(617) 496-2519

.
Graduate and Undergraduate Program Officer
aehines@fas.harvard.edu
(617) 384-7767

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