EMU Information / EMU Resources / January 30, 2015

Department Spotlight: Africology and African American Studies

Have you ever taken any classes offered from the Africology and African American Studies department? This might be the perfect time to look into it, as they have never been more relevant. From President Obama’s last few years in office to protests starting in Ferguson and New York spreading across the nation, issues of race in the United States are constant front page news stories and affect millions of Americans every day.

Most of the students who go on to become African American Studies majors started by taking some of the classes to fulfill gen. ed. requirements or just because the topic sounded interesting. While an interesting topic is one reason to take a class, there are actually a multitude of benefits for majoring in African American Studies. For example, just some of the career doors African American Studies opens include:

  • Campaign/community organizer (remember anyone famous who started here?)
  • Agency woker
  • Congressional aide
  • Consumer advocate
  • EEO coordinator/ rep.
  • Grant writer
  • HR
  • Lobbyist/ legislative assassitant
  • Professor
  • Cultural studies/ history teacher


The limits are really up to you as you think of new ways to apply the skills you can learn here. Even if you don’t major in AAAS, like the ~1,000 students who take classes in the department you can take away valuable lessons and perspectives that can give you a new view when approaching other departments and topics.

Some of the most popular classes to serve as an introduction to both the subject and the department as a whole are Intro to African American Studies, (obviously) Intro to African Civilization, Politics and the African American Experience, and Contemporary Africa: Struggle and Prospects.


From the department:

The mission of the Department of Africology and African American Studies (AAAS) is to provide robust and critical programs of study, research and service on the African world experience–including a particular focus on the life and culture of people of African descent in the Americas. The department pursues its mission by cultivating successive cadres of students imbued with community consciousness and equipped with intellectual tools for shaping the world of the present and the future, community engagement and pertinent careers.

AAAS engages in its study of the African descent population in the United States, the African diaspora, and the African continent itself, using a broad array of interdisciplinary tools. It has touchstones in all branches of human endeavor.  The multi-racial and multi-ethnic reality that is the United States and the world today has been shaped by the grand forces of human history, including science, technology, culture, entrepreneurship, environment, politics, literature, art, law, and education. Together with the overarching themes of the human experience–ideas, power, structure, and sustainability—these forces predominate as items of study within the multi-subject curriculum of AAAS.

All students graduating from EMU will enter a world in which these same forces and concerns will be all defining. Interweaving themselves throughout every geo-political setting in the world will be the variables of race, ethnicity, class, religion, and gender–issues at the heart of the inquiry in AAAS. Ultimately, a graduate of African American Studies is expected to possess knowledge, skills, and techniques necessary for effective functioning in a multicultural, multiracial, and technologically advanced society.

As a concrete expression of its mission, the department currently offers a bachelor’s degree program in African American Studies, a minor in African American Studies,  a graduate certificate in African American Studies and an undergraduate certificate in African Studies.


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