African Studies

The Interdepartmental Program in African Studies offers a concentration that consists of six Africa-related courses. The broad theme of the African Studies  concentration is continuity and change in recognition of the faculty's desire to instill an understanding of the internal and external forces on the African continent. Students are encouraged to take courses that place the region in its historical and global political-economic context while understanding its internal intellectual, cultural and biophysical energies. Given that students and faculty approach African Studies from an array of disciplinary perspectives, students may begin this concentration from a variety of entry points. The program promotes breadth by requiring courses in several departments, and depth by requiring a lengthy Africa related paper in an existing senior seminar or independent study.

African Studies


A concentration in African Studies consists of six Africa-related courses chosen with the assistance of an African Studies advisor.

Three to five courses must have an exclusive African focus (see Tier One list below). A maximum of two courses may be taken in the following manner: one to two in an off-campus program; and/or one to two approved courses that focuses only partly on Africa or have African Diaspora content with major African inflection (see Tier Two list below). The sixth course must be an advanced research seminar in any department in which the student completes a substantial Africa-focused paper; this requirement may also be completed with an Africa-focused independent study with an African Studies faculty member resulting in a major paper. Students may include (as Tier Two) one Africa-related internship by registering for the internship under the supervision of any steering committee member and by filing a copy of the learning contract with the African Studies program director.

Students are required to take Africa related courses at Macalester from at least two different departments, and are encouraged to take from at least three to gain interdisciplinary breadth. It is suggested that students also take introductory courses in a number of departments affiliated with the concentration (especially anthropology, geography, history, international studies, political science, literature departments and sociology) to gain broader conceptual appreciation of regional issues and an understanding of disciplinary approaches used to interpret African material. It also is highly recommended that students participate on an Africafocused study abroad program in Africa to experience and study first-hand the issues and ideas explored at Macalester. Students contemplating study abroad in Africa are strongly encouraged to take at least one Tier One course before departure. Africanist coursework taken elsewhere in the world (such as London, Paris or Lisbon) will also, when appropriate, count toward the concentration.


I. Tier One Courses (exclusively focused on Africa)

* A minimum of three of these courses must be taken for the concentration

ANTH 258 - Dynamic Africa
Anthropology topics course-Gender and Power in Africa
Anthropology topics course- Darfur: Conflict and Human Rights in Africa
Anthropology topics course- Gender and Development in Africa
GEOG 243 - Geography of Africa: Local Resources and Livelihoods in a Global Context
HIST 114 - History of Africa to 1800
HIST 115 - Africa Since 1800
History topics course- African Life Histories
INTL 301 - Power and Development in Africa
MUSI 131 - African Music
MUSI 72 - African Music Ensemble and MUSI 73 - African Music Ensemble and African music-instruction courses (drum, flute, voice). These participation and instruction courses earn credit by participating in consecutive semesters, as outlined in the Music department catalog copy. They may be included on African Studies concentration plans when four credits are accumulated.
Political Science topics course- African Politics
THDA 21 - Dances of the African Diaspora I A one-credit technique class which may be counted on African Studies concentration plans when four credits (either dance only or dance plus music, above) are accumulated.

II. Tier Two Courses (significant African Content)

* A maximum of two of these courses may count towards the concentration.

ANTH 111 - Cultural Anthropology, when taught by Dianna Shandy
ANTH 239 - Medical Anthropology, when taught by Patten
ANTH 246 - Refugees/Humanitarian Response
ANTH 362 - Culture and Globalization
ENGL 384 - Langston Hughes: Global Writer
FREN 194:Food in France and the Francophone World
FREN 310 - Passerelles: Introduction to French and Francophone Studies
FREN 311 - Francophone Cultures of/in America
FREN 332 - Border-Crossings and Immigration in Western Europe Through Literature and Cinema
FREN 340 - Voices of the Francophone Mediterranean
FREN 341 - The Francophone Caribbean Islands
FREN 342 - Literature and Cinema of Immigration in France
FREN 477 - African and French Cinema in Dialogue
GEOG 232 - People, Agriculture and the Environment
HIST 194: Women in the African Diaspora
HIST 256 - Transatlantic Slave Trade
HIST 320 - Decolonization
INTL 282 - Introduction to International Public Health
INTL 367 - Postcolonial Theory
INTL 477 - Comparative Environment and Development
POLI 242 - Political Economy of Development
PORT 331 - Journeys through Brazil
PORT 341 - Voices from the Margins: Afro-Brazilian Women Writers
PORT 381 - Portugal Meets 'the Other', Overseas: Portuguese Navigators from the 15th to 17th Century
SOCI 280 - Indigenous Peoples' Movements in Global Context (if student case study is of an African movement)
SOCI 370 - Political Sociology (if course paper is Africa-focused)

III. Study Abroad

A maximum of two courses may be counted from an Africa-focused study abroad program in Africa. Africanist coursework taken elsewhere in the world (such as London, Paris or Lisbon) may also, when appropriate and with approval of the concentration director, count toward the concentration.

IV. Senior Seminar or Independent Study

The student must complete an advanced research seminar in any department in which the student undertakes a substantial Africa-focused paper. The advanced research seminar may be achieved by taking a disciplinary senior seminar that includes a major paper focused on Africa; or an independent study with an African Studies faculty member resulting in a major paper focused on Africa.