African American Studies

African American Studies

In-Depth Exploration of the African American Story: Contributions, Culture and Collective History

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The African American Studies minor draws on the best of Oglethorpe, making connections between history, politics, literature and culture to examine the experiences of African Americans in the United States and people of African descent throughout the world.

As an African American Studies student, you will analyze texts, grapple with critical concepts, and develop skills in thinking creatively and building connections across disciplines. The curriculum covers the complexities of race, gender and inequality as we explore the history and contributions of African Americans. You’ll also be encouraged to pursue your own academic interests, with flexibility in your choice of electives and research projects.

Along with the foundational intro course, the program requires completion of at least two of the following courses:

  • CRS Race & Representation in Media
  • ENG 240/340: Freedom Seekers & Narrative
  • HIS 234: To Tell a Free Story: African American History to 1900 [pending course approval]
  • POL 304: African American Politics

One of our most important missions at Oglethorpe is empowering students as global citizens and community leaders. A minor in African American Studies is an excellent way to achieve that goal.

Offered as:

Minor in African American Studies (TU)

In the 1960s, Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn district served as an epicenter and cultural touchstone of the civil rights movement; today, its streets are filled with landmarks and living history. Atlanta’s Black community continues to lead, contributing to national movements like Black Lives Matter and speaking out in a nationwide dialogue on race, racism and police brutality. Oglethorpe’s new African American Studies program is built on that history, and created with the engagement and participation of our student body.

  • Atlanta is filled with major historical sites and landmarks of Black history. For example, the Herndon Home, the former mansion of a man who was born into slavery but became Atlanta’s first black millionaire. Or the art collections at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries and Hammonds House Galleries, focusing on work by African-American and African Diaspora artists.
  • Are you the creative type? Atlanta is home to the National Black Arts Festival (it takes place in July) and the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival. For history buffs, Atlanta’s APEX Museum in the Sweet Auburn district is dedicated to African-American history and the role of African Americans in building the culture and society of Georgia.
  • In downtown Atlanta, you’ll find the King Center and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. On the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Hands on Atlanta organizes more than 3,000 volunteers to get to work in local communities, helping out at schools and nonprofits.
  • Make an impact here on campus by joining the Black Student Caucus or the OU Diversity Board, or taking part in campus-wide forums on issues like racism and intersectionality.

“The liberal arts curriculum has helped me think outside the box in law classes. I find myself creating new arguments, applying theory to new case facts, and even working on legal memorandums. The most important experience I had at Oglethorpe that really taught me the value of an education there has to be my classes in the African American Studies department. I was constantly and consistently analyzing politics, the news, legal theory, and so much more from a racial perspective. I noticed how case law in law school doesn’t really mention race at all. Neither race, sex, socioeconomic status, or any other identifiers that could’ve impacted a ruling. Learning this level of critical thinking at Oglethorpe, I was able to approach the law from a very different lens, allowing me to garner a lot more credibility in and outside of the classroom.”
-Ashrakat Hassan ’23

As an interdisciplinary, intersectional program, the minor in African American Studies is a strong addition to many majors. Your minor in African American Studies will expand your understanding in fields such as law, education, history, sociology, literature or the arts.

  • Possible careers include work in the legal profession, education, academic research, social work, public service, politics, community organizing and more.

See degree requirements and course descriptions in the University Bulletin.

Each spring, the African American Studies Program and Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion host a Kente Robing Ceremony for graduating seniors. The Kente Robing Ceremony, also known as the Rite of Sankofa, is a traditional rite of passage that celebrates Black students across the African diaspora and their matriculation from college and into society. During this event, graduating seniors have the opportunity to reflect on their college experience and what it has taught them and look toward the future. If you are a graduating senior interested in participating, please email [email protected].

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