Undergraduate

The Department of African and African American Studies brings together scholars and scholarship from many disciplines to explore the histories, societies, and cultures of African and African-descended people. The field of African and African American Studies is not only interdisciplinary but also comparative and cross-cultural. The Department offers students two paths of study within its concentration: the African track and the African American track, each with its own set of requirements.

Concentration

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African American Studies Track

Students who decide to pursue the African American Studies Track must fulfill the following requirements

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African Studies Track

Students who decide to pursue the African American Studies Track must fulfill the following requirements:

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Senior Thesis Guidelines

This section provides basic guidelines and information on the senior honors thesis. However, in an interdisciplinary program such as African and African American Studies, concentrators should bear in mind that many students (especially joint concentrators) will want to use the guidelines of the major discipline in which their thesis falls. If students have any questions, they should ask their advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

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Secondary Field in African or African-American Studies

The secondary field enables students whose concentration is outside the field of African and African American Studies to gain a basic understanding of the history, cultures, politics, and social problems of Africans and peoples of African descent. Africans and peoples of African descent have developed cultural forms and traditions that are worthy of study in their own right and that also have profoundly shaped the fine arts and popular culture in the Americas and all around the planet. Black struggles for freedom, both on the continent of Africa and throughout the Western hemisphere, have served as a model for other oppressed groups throughout the world. Comparative and cross-cultural studies of Africa and its diaspora contribute enormously to our understanding of race and ethnicity, and in addressing the ethical, social, and political consequences of racial and ethnic antagonism, the field of African and African American Studies raises questions relevant to the experiences of all peoples. The Department of African and African American Studies (AAAS) is offering two secondary field pathways, African Studies and African American Studies.

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  1. African Studies

    5 half-courses (at least one of which must be at the 100-level)

    • Requirements
      1. One introductory half-course in African Studies.
      2. One half-course in African history. (See attached file "History Courses" in the sidebar)
      3. Three additional half-courses in African Studies, two of which may primarily be focused on language study.
  2. African American Studies

    5 half-courses (at least one of which must be at the 100-level)

    • Requirements
      1. One introductory half-course in African American Studies.
      2. One half-course in African American history. (See attached file "History Courses" in the sidebar)
      3. Three additional half-courses in African American Studies.

Other Information

Students may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to have a relevant course taken in another FAS department or in the Core count toward the secondary field requirements. (Note: Courses cross-listed with AAAS automatically count toward the secondary field requirements.) Students may also petition to have a Freshman Seminar, a course taken abroad, a Harvard Summer School course, or a Harvard course outside of FAS count toward the secondary field requirements. However, at least three of the five courses must be drawn from regular AAAS course offerings.

With the exceptions of Freshmen Seminars and courses taken abroad, only one course can be taken Pass/Fail or SAT/UNS. All grades must be passing grades.

After concentrators, students who are signed up for the secondary field will receive priority in limited enrollment courses.

Advising Resources and Expectations

Students considering a secondary field in AAAS should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Undergraduate Program Officer for further information or advising.

Academic Contacts