Programs of Study


Courses Offered

Barnard Catalogue


The Department of Africana Studies offers a major and a minor:


The Africana Studies major requires ten courses, to be distributed as follows:

I. Introductory Courses:

Two-semester sequence (preferably to be taken before the junior year)

AFRS BC 2004x Introduction to African Studies: An interdisciplinary and thematic approach to the study of Africa, moving from pre-colonial through colonial and post-colonial periods to contemporary Africa. Focus will be on its history, societal relations, politics and the arts. The objective is to provide a critical survey of the history as well as the continuing debates in African studies.
  - 3 points.

AFRS BC 2006y Introduction to the African Diaspora: An interdisciplinary and thematic approach to the African diaspora in the Americas: its motivations, dimensions, consequences, and the importance and stakes of its study. Beginning with the contacts between Africans and the Portuguese in the 15th century, this class will open up diverse paths of inquiry as students attempt to answer questions, clear up misconceptions, and challenge assumptions about the presence of Africans in the New World.
  - 3 points.

II. Language:

The college distributional requirement for languages (i.e., Foundations) stipulates that each student must complete two (2) courses in a single language.  For Africana majors the language studied must be of Africa or its diasporas (including Arabic, Dutch, English, French, Hausa, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili).

III. Harlem:

Each student will take a course on Harlem, chosen in consultation with her advisor, from among the offerings at Barnard or Columbia.

IV. Electives:

Each student will, with the approval of her advisor, select five electives. Of these five, one must be on Africa and one must concern issues of gender.

V. One Semester Colloquium in Africana Studies

AFRS BC3110 (Section 1)  - Africana Colloquium: Critical Race Theory  or

AFRS BC3110 (Section 2) - Africana Colloquium: Diasporas of the Indian Ocean

VI. Senior Seminar:

Students will complete a one-semester program of interdisciplinary research in preparation of a senior essay.


Although the college requires students to declare the minor formally after they have completed course work for the minor, the Africana Studies Program strongly encourages students to meet with the Africana Studies Chair (or the minor advisor) to plan a course of study and fill out an "intent to minor" form.

The Africana minor consists of five courses to be distributed as follows:

1.    AFRS BC 2004x Introduction to African Studies

2.    AFRS BC 2006y Introduction to the African Diaspora

3.    One course on Harlem to be chosen from electives offered at Barnard/Columbia

4-5. Two electives chosen by the students in consultation with the Director/minor advisor. 


Combined Major in Africana Studies and Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS)

For the combined major in Africana Studies and WGSS, the Department of Africana Studies requires the following six (6) courses:

1. Two (2) of the Africana Studies introductory courses (AFRS BC 2004 (Introduction to African Studies), AFRS BC2005 (Caribbean Cultures and Societies) or AFRS BC2006 (Introduction to the African Diaspora)

2. One (1) course on Harlem [e.g., AFRS BC3528 (The Political Economy of Harlem), ENGL BC3196 (Home to Harlem: Literature of the Harlem Renaissance) and AFRS BC3550 (Gay Harlem)]

3. One (1) Africana Studies colloquium (AFRS BC3110--Critical Race Theory, Diasporas of the Indian Ocean, and The New Black)

4. Any two (2) other Africana Studies courses/electives