Since the late 1960s, when Oberlin College created a Black Studies Department that evolved into today’s Department of Africana studies, the College has offered a socially relevant education that has received national recognition. Students may either earn a major or minor in this field. Many are double majors, combining this course of study with theater, sociology, religion, or other social sciences.
As an academic major, Africana studies prepares students, not only as adept critical thinkers, presenters, and researchers, but also as valuable global citizens. Because Africana studies is a multidisciplinary department, we offer courses to students of any major—knowledge to expand your worldview and deepen understanding of people of African ancestry. Students explore key aspects of black life in Africa, the Caribbean, the United States, Europe, and the Americas. This pluralistic approach to the curriculum gives students a fuller appreciation of all cultures.
In addition, our faculty and staff offer programs and services in cooperation with Afrikan Heritage House, a residence hall and the College’s black collective and cultural center. Afrikan Heritage House welcomes students who want to heighten their understanding of African, Africana, and African-Caribbean traditions and issues. Stop in to partake of soul sessions, art shows, and poetry readings, the Kuumba festival, and other happenings.
We encourage students to take related courses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Students develop a balanced program of study reflecting their special interests.
Majors choose courses from at least four of the five concentration areas:
- political science
- visual and performance arts
Students also take at least one course in each of the major geographic regions of the African Diaspora: Africa, the Caribbean, and North America.
Students engage in study-away travel, as well as mentorship and internship programs in the African Diaspora that foster civic involvement and purposeful volunteerism. Graduates often purse advanced work in professional and graduate schools, or begin careers in law, performing arts, education, public policy, or health care. The degree offers students opportunities for a life of service and meaning—to not only work in society but to help transform it.