ls-afroamericanstudies

The Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison offers students an opportunity to study those aspects of black history, culture, and society in ideal interdisciplinary models that reconstruct Afro-American life. It challenges students to critically examine facts and issues that are historically and contemporaneously relevant to the Afro-American experience.

The department offers undergraduate majors in five areas: literature and culture; theater, music and the visual arts; history; Black Women’s studies; and inter-group relations. The M.A. program is based on personalized programs of study shaped to meet the needs of individual students, many of whom participate in the “Bridge” programs which enable them to move directly into Ph.D. programs in English and history. Faculty members and students are active in a broad range of activities, including hip-hop programs for at-risk youth, community theater, college classes for low-income adults, and various support activities for the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Alabama. The department prides itself on positive working relationships with our colleagues in traditional disciplines as well as the Women’s Studies Program and the Department of African Cultural Studies. A vibrant community of scholars and students who believe in the ideal of unity without uniformity, we welcome all those committed to the deeper understanding of race in America and the world.

Students should inform the Department of Afro-American Studies Office of their intention to major and be assigned an advisor within the department.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

Mathematics Fulfilled with completion of University General Education requirements Quantitative Reasoning a (QR A) and Quantitative Reasoning b (QR B) coursework. Please note that some majors may require students to complete additional math coursework beyond the B.A. mathematics requirement.
Foreign Language
  • Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional foreign language

Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include one 3+ credit course in the biological sciences; must include one 3+ credit course in the physical sciences
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

The major in Afro-American studies requires a minimum of 30 credits and one area of concentration, plus electives as follows:1

1

Electives may be taken from any concentration area. A  maximum 9 credits in Directed Study (AFROAMER 199, AFROAMER 699) may apply.

Afro-American Culture:  Choose an Emphasis

Literature

Two courses from:6
They: Race in American Literature
Introduction to Black Women Writers
Masterpieces of African American Literature
African-American Autobiography
One course from:3
Hip-Hop and Contemporary American Society
Black Music and American Cultural History
Introduction to African American Dramatic Literature
Introduction to African Art and Architecture
Introduction to Afro-American Art
Art and Visual Culture: Women of the African Diaspora and Africa
Soul Music and the African American Freedom Movement
Three courses from:9
The Harlem Renaissance
The Black Arts Movement
Major Authors
Critical and Theoretical Issues in Afro-American Literature
Selected Topics in Afro-American Literature
Selected Topics in Afro-American Culture
Critical and Theoretical Perspectives in Black Women's Writings
Total Credits18

The Arts

Two courses from:6
Hip-Hop and Contemporary American Society
Black Music and American Cultural History
Introduction to African American Dramatic Literature
Introduction to African Art and Architecture
Introduction to Afro-American Art
Art and Visual Culture: Women of the African Diaspora and Africa
One course from:3
They: Race in American Literature
Introduction to Black Women Writers
Masterpieces of African American Literature
African-American Autobiography
Three courses from:9
Artistic/Cultural Images of Black Women
Blacks, Film, and Society
The Harlem Renaissance
The Black Arts Movement
Soul Music and the African American Freedom Movement
Seminar in Afro-American Music History and Criticism
Selected Topics on Afro-American Artists
Selected Topics in Afro-American Culture
Visual Culture, Gender and Critical Race Theory
Total Credits18

Afro-American History

One course from:3-4
Introduction to Afro-American History
Race and American Politics from the New Deal to the New Right
African and African-American Linkages: An Introduction
The Caribbean and its Diasporas
Two courses from:6
Undergraduate Studies in Afro-American History
Blacks, Film, and Society
Black Women in America: Reconstruction to the Present
Race and Gender in Post-World War II U.S. Society
Soul Music and the African American Freedom Movement
History of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States
Three courses from:9
Afro-American History Since 1900
Afro-American History to 1900
Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction, 1848-1877
African American Women's Activism (19th & 20th Centuries)
Colloquium in Afro-American History
Selected Topics in Afro-American History
Total Credits18-19

Afro-American Society:   Choose an Emphasis

Black Women's Studies

AFROAMER/​GEN&WS  221 Introduction to Black Women's Studies3
Two courses from:6
Introduction to Black Women Writers
Undergraduate Studies in Afro-American History
Gender, Race and Class: Women in U.S. History
Black Women in America: Reconstruction to the Present
Race and Gender in Post-World War II U.S. Society
Art and Visual Culture: Women of the African Diaspora and Africa
Three courses from:9
Artistic/Cultural Images of Black Women
African American Women's Activism (19th & 20th Centuries)
Gender, Race and the Civil Rights Movement
Critical and Theoretical Perspectives in Black Women's Writings
Visual Culture, Gender and Critical Race Theory
Total Credits18

Intergroup Relations

AFROAMER 151 Introduction to Contemporary Afro-American Society3
Two courses from:6
Gender, Race and Class: Women in U.S. History
Mutual Perceptions of Racial Minorities
Three courses from:9
Latin America: An Introduction
African American Political Theory
African American Families
Selected Topics in Afro-American Society
Total Credits18

RESIDENCE & QUALITY OF WORK in the MAJOR

2.000 GPA in all AFROAMER and major courses

2.000 GPA on at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major, in residence2

15 credits in AFROAMER, taken on the UW–Madison campus

2

Upper-level in the major includes AFROAMER courses numbered 300 and above.

DISTINCTION

Distinction in the Major

Afro-American studies majors not enrolled for Honors in the Major may receive the "Distinction in the Major" notation on the transcript by earning a 3.750 grade point average in major courses and successfully completing the AFROAMER 691AFROAMER 692 Senior Thesis project.

Thesis of Distinction

The award Thesis of Distinction is granted for an exceptionally good or original thesis, without consideration of the student's record in other work. A committee of at least two faculty members will evaluate the thesis and recommend to the dean the granting of this award when appropriate.

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the Afro-American Studies Major in consultation with the Afro-American Studies undergraduate advisor(s).

Honors in the Afro-American Studies Major Requirements

To earn a B.A. or B.S. with Honors in the Major in Afro-American Studies, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • 3.300 University GPA
  • 3.500 GPA in all AFROAMER courses, and all courses accepted in the major
  • Complete at least one course with a cross-cultural or comparative focus:
AFROAMER/​ART HIST  241 Introduction to African Art and Architecture3
AFROAMER/​ANTHRO/​C&E SOC/​GEOG/​HISTORY/​LACIS/​POLI SCI/​SOC/​SPANISH  260 Latin America: An Introduction3-4
AFROAMER/​AFRICAN/​ANTHRO/​GEOG/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI/​SOC  277 Africa: An Introductory Survey4
AFROAMER/​AFRICAN/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI  297 African and African-American Linkages: An Introduction4
AFROAMER/​HISTORY  347 The Caribbean and its Diasporas3
AFROAMER/​AFRICAN  413 Contemporary African and Caribbean Drama3-4
AFROAMER/​ASIAN AM  443 Mutual Perceptions of Racial Minorities3
  • Complete at least 15 credits in AFROAMER at the 500 or 600 level, to include a two-semester Senior Honors Thesis in AFROAMER 681 and AFROAMER 682, for a total of 6 credits.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. To familiarize students with the history, culture and social conditions of African Americans in the United States and, secondarily, in the African diaspora.
  2. To prepare students to interact effectively in a multicultural world.
  3. To prepare students to share the results of academic research in the area of race with their communities in Wisconsin, the U.S., and the world.
  4. To prepare students for careers working in institutions that address the needs of multicultural communities.
  5. To develop an understanding of the connection between different disciplinary approaches to the study of race.

Advising

The Department of Afro-American Studies encourages our majors to begin working on their career exploration and preparation soon after arriving on campus. We partner with the L&S Career Services office to help you leverage the academic skills learned in your major and liberal arts degree, explore and try out different career paths, participate in internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers).

Professor Sandra Adell, Undergraduate and Certificate advisor in the major
saadell@wisc.edu
608-262-0425
4115 Helen C. White Hall

Letters & Science graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs. It is important to us that our students are career ready at the time of graduation, and we are committed to your success.

Careers

Afro-American Studies Main Office:

Department of Afro-American Studies
4141 Helen C. White Hall
600 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706
Phone: 608-263-1642; Fax: 608-263-7198

Professors Adell, Drewal, Greene, Plummer, Thornton, Werner

Associate Professor Clark-Pujara

Assistant Professors Almiron, Davis