African American Studies at Hampshire College
Hampshire College has long been committed to diversity studies. African-American studies students have access to a broad range of history, social science, race and ethnicity, politics, economics, dance, art, and literature classes across disciplines. They engage with a variety of texts and resources to gain awareness of the past, present, and future of African-Americans.
Students are encouraged to engage in fieldwork and demographic analysis to gain a stronger understanding of the realities of African-American life.
Past Student Project Titles
- Beauty: The Experience and Struggle of Females within the African Diaspora
- Health Disparity: Diabetes and African Americans in Boston
- The Trotters of Boston: Fighting Jim Crow from “Freedom’s Birthplace”
- Politics of Difference: African-Americans Encountering Islam
- What it Feels Like for a Girl: Black and Mixed-Race Women’s Identity Construction
Featured Faculty Profiles
Amy Jordan Associate Professor of African-American History
McKinley Melton Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature
Robert Coles Emeritus Associate Professor of African-American Literature
Sample First-Year Course
What is Africa to Me? Africa has always held a special if tenuous place in the formation of African Diasporic self and group identity, as well as shaping various meanings of blackness. To some, Africa is considered the ancestral homeland of humanity. For other African Descendants around the world, Africa has historically been viewed as a point of origin and possible place of refuge from the racial and class oppression experienced in the West. W.E.B. Du Bois, for example, relocated to Ghana in 1961 just two years before his death. At the turn of the 20th century poet Countee Cullen asked “What is Africa to Me?” And recently, President Barack Obama's Kenyan heritage led many to consider him a "son of Africa." Though international definitions of diaspora are common, how does the formation of domestic diasporas impact notions of home for African Americans? Recognizing the value of a complex diasporic lens that includes race, gender and class, this course will introduce students to some of the diasporic encounters African descendants have experienced historically and contemporarily from the Harlem Renaissance to Hurricane Katrina.
Sample Courses at Hampshire
(please note, these are samples and are therefore not all offered every semester)
- Twentieth Century Social Transformation in the African Diaspora
- African-Americans & the News “Media Event”
- African-American Perspectives on the Blues
- African-American Poetry
- Black Nationalism
- Commodities of Desire: Gendered Signs
- Racialized Representations
- Pop Culture Critical Race Theory: The Color of Law
- Gender Equal Protection of the Laws: Gender, Sex, Race
- Discrimination in America Gender Race Class
- The Harlem Renaissance
- Negritude Interpreting the “Movement”: Civil Rights
- Black Power Struggles of the Late 20th Century Race
- Science, Politics Reading, Writing, Citizenship: African-American Educational Campaigns
Sample Courses Through the Consortium
- African Diaspora Arts (UMass)
- Black Feminism: Theory/Praxis (MHC)
- History of Black Women in America (SC)
- Intro to African-American Music (SC)
- Intro to African-American Studies (MHC)
- Intro to Black Culture (SC)
- Race and Radicalism (AC)
- Studies in African-American Literature (AC)
Facilities and Resources
Faculty from the Five Colleges continue to be invested in sustaining African-American studies across disciplines. Over thirty courses each semester are taught on African studies through the consortium. The Five College African Studies Certificate Program was created in 1997 to provide students access to a diverse listing of courses. An African Studies Council was designed by faculty members to oversee the certificate program, sponsor lectures and cultural events, and sustain residencies by distinguished scholars.
The Center for Crossroads in the Study of the Americas (CISA) is dedicated to new teaching and scholarship on the Americas. Founded in 1997, CISA brings together faculty from the Five College Consortium who wish to work together to explore relational aspects of identity in the Americas. Instead of adopting a bipolar, “North-South” approach, CISA has developed a “triangular” model for its work, where the three sides are formed by the “Old World” (Africa, Asia, Europe), the polities of the New World, and the indigenous peoples of the Americas. This conception of the Americas as a crossroads seeks to promote an awareness of the historical and material inter-relationality of citizenship, migration, diaspora, and nationhood. The Center sponsors a number of faculty seminars, curriculum development groups, student symposia, a visiting faculty program, and public events.
The Lebrón-Wiggins-Pran Cultural Center's mission is to provide support and recourse to students of color and international students at Hampshire. The Center aims to provide a safe space, and works towards increasing awareness on issues of race, ethnicity, oppression, and under-representation through campus-wide programs and resources. Under the umbrella of the Students of Under-Represented Cultures and Ethnicities (SOURCE) group, various student-groups meet to discuss the realities of under-representation in academics and on-campus. UMOJA, a support group for students of the African Diaspora, and AWAMOH, African Women and Men of Hampshire, create a sense of unity and support for African students.
Information Quoted From: http://www.hampshire.edu/admissions/AfricanAmerican_Studies.htm