+ Africana Studies – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \

Africana Studies

Africana Studies Stands in Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter Protests 2020

As faculty members of the Africana Studies Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges we stand in solidarity with all those protesting the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, among too many others. These are not isolated criminal acts, but rather expressions of institutional and structural racism in United States society. We are heartbroken, but also angry. We must work for racial justice. As fellow human beings, we extend empathy through shared horror. As teachers, we invite you to learn and demand meaningful social change with us. #BlackStudiesMatter

We agree with Dr. Benjamin Reese who states the key issues at hand, but also reminds us to keep our focus on those in Category 1 below. Category 2 is important, but it is not enough. We call for racial justice through a true reckoning of the systems and structures of inequality in our society.

Category 1

  • Institutional and structural racism
  • Failure of leadership in politics, policing, healthcare, business, and higher education to confront structural racism
  • Need for significant and long-term structural changes in wealth distribution, health policies, policing, voting, higher education, etc.
  • Personal and institutional admission that past efforts, although often well meaning, have been focused on "nuanced changes around the edges," while sustaining the current distribution of power and privilege

Category 2

  • Need to treat everyone fairly
  • Greater respect for difference
  • Greater inclusion
  • Solidarity with those experiencing pain

Africana Studies

The Africana Studies program offers an accredited interdisciplinary major in Africana Studies with concentrations in African, African-American, or Africana, and interdisciplinary minors in African, African-American, and Africana studies. The aim of the program is to provide students with a broad, interdisciplinary understanding of the culture and history of the peoples of Africa and of African descent. This understanding comes through the acquisition of different perspectives: historical, anthropological, cross-cultural, contemporary and artistic or literary.

All students are encouraged to share their enthusiasm and background in campus activities, with groups such as the Latin American Organization, International Students Club, the Pan-African Latin Organization, and Sankofa, the Black Student Union. Students are encouraged to study abroad on the Senegal or South Africa programs as well.

Student Profile: Yalemwork Teferra '21

Yalemwork Teferra '21

Majors: International Relations
Minors: Africana Studies and Economics

“It has been challenging and interesting to dive into psychology and sociology to confront my research questions. It has shown me how interdisciplinary the social sciences are as I examine and apply the skills I’ve learned from my major and minors. Professor Grayson expands and pushes my thinking every time we meet. All of her suggestions and guidance have made me enjoy the research and writing process.”

Meet Our Faculty

Africana studies faculty strive to enhance the educational development of students by offering courses that explore the dynamic intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, class and culture. Meet the entire department >

Africana Studies

Mission Statement

Africana Studies examines Africa and its Diaspora, through an examination of the centrality of racism and colonialism in the construction of the modern world, and the importance of opposition and resistance to these forces in the pursuit of social justice. As an interdisciplinary field of study, the Africana Studies Program gives students the opportunity to complete a major in Africana studies or a minor in African studies, Africana studies, and African-American studies. The program faculty strive to enhance the educational development of students by providing them with academically challenging courses that develop students’ analytic, critical and creative thinking, writing and research skills. We do so by offering courses that explore the dynamic intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, class and culture. These courses aim to foster an in-depth understanding of the history, culture, literature, intellectual heritage and social, political and economic development of people of Africa and its Diaspora. Our curriculum focuses on impact of migration, imperialism, racism, nationalism, and globalization in shaping lives, ideas, and cultural identities. Through our work as teachers in the various sub-fields, hosting campus events, providing opportunities for off-campus study, and collaborative research we seek to equip students with the skills, tools, sensitivities and the knowledge necessary to be responsible citizens in a diverse and global society.

Spotlight: Recent Grad

Recent Grad

Hannah Glenshaw '17

Current Position: Director of Educational Program Enhancements, MetroWest YMCA

Current Location: Boston, Mass.

Majors: Africana Studies

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Sample Courses

Class Complete Course List

Introduction to African Experience
The African continent houses fifty-four countries, more than two thousand languages, and the most genetically diverse population in the world. This course introduces you to the major themes in the study of African history, culture, literature, politics, and economics. From the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the HIV/AIDS crisis, from precolonial oral traditions to contemporary cinema, we will explore both the challenges facing Africa and the continent’s rich cultural and political tradition.

Africana Studies News

Matthai P’94, P’96, L.H.D. ’94 Recognized on UN Postal Stamp
U.S.-African Relations under Trump
FSEM Fosters Growth and Discovery
More Africana Studies News