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African American Studies

Courses offered in the program enable students in any of the five colleges within the university to pursue undergraduate sequences for enrichment or specialization in African American studies. Most courses offered through the St. Clair Drake Center for African and African American Studies are interdisciplinary and may be used to satisfy general education requirements as well as electives. The objectives of the African American studies are as follows:

  • To provide a fundamental understanding of those economic, social, cultural, and political forces in Africa, Europe, and North and Latin America that have shaped the lives of African peoples with the African Diaspora, c. 1400 to the present.
  • To provide a center for basic and action research and the creation of materials that illustrate the problems and development of peoples of African descent in a variety of institutional settings. A major focus of the Drake Center continues to be the Chicago metropolitan area, including urban and suburban enclaves, most notably, the famed Black Metropolis.
  • To influence and support conversations about Africa by providing accurate, timely, and appropriate information on selected topics.
  • To provide multiple levels of understanding of unique problems of African Americans in contemporary American life and the space required to work toward solutions to those problems.
  • To place African American men and women in the complex and often conflicted layers of American society and to show how each has contributed to the development of modern day American society.
  • To develop an expanding curriculum and a body of research that informs and influences policy that affects the lives of African Americans.
Students interested in African American subjects are encouraged to take courses in African history and politics. Interested students should consult the director of the Drake Center as early in their academic careers as possible.

Available Programs