B.A. in African American Studies
Study how the African American story helped weave the important fabric of our nation.
African American Studies majors at the University of Mississippi select the following areas of specialization: culture, history, or political & social institutions. You can tailor your exploration of the African and African American experience by choosing from among 60 courses in different disciplines, including anthropology, art history, English, gender studies, history, music, political science, religion, and sociology.
As the only African American Studies program in Mississippi, you gain a broad understanding of the African American experience as well as skills in social science methodology, research, analysis, writing, and public speaking. William Faulkner said:'To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.' Here you can interrogate the multiple and complex meanings of the past and modern experiences of African Americans.
A liberal arts education prepares graduates to deal with complexity and change through a broad knowledge of the world. They gain key skills in communication, problem-solving, and working with a diverse group of people. The top economic sectors for our African American Studies alumni are media/communications, non-profit organizations, business and finance, higher education, hospitality/personal services, STEM employers, law, and K-12 education.
Students may choose to be involved in the UM Slavery Research Group, an interdisciplinary group whose goal is to create new research technologies and provide training for future historians, curators, archaeologists, geneaologists, scholars and interpreters.
B.A. in African American Studies Faculty
There are both affiliated faculty and core faculty with joint appointments in African American Studies and another department in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi. The core faculty are listed below. They have research interests in mass incarceration, poetry and creative writing, race and media, minority politics, sports economy, African American history and literature, among others.
Students complete 10 African American Studies (AAS) courses with a minimum grade of C, including AAS 201 and 202 (African American Experience I & II), 7 courses from the areas of specialization - history, political & social institutions, and culture - with 2 courses minimum from each of the specializations and one elective. Students complete the program with AAS 480 (African American Studies Senior Seminar).
Admission requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies program are the same as the general undergraduate admission requirements.
Brian Foster (2011) wrote his honor's thesis on black male hip hop aspirations in rural Mississippi to examine how young people develop and pursue "non-conventional" aspirations like those centered on rap music production. He earned the Ph.D. in sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and returned to UM as Assistant Professor of Sociology and Southern Studies. His current book, I Don't Like the Blues, focuses on race and community life in the Mississippi Delta. Why study African American Studies at UM? "The faculty helped me navigate the obstacles of a first-generation, black college student. The curriculum introduced me to books and ideas. I learned to talk, in a meaningful and theoretically sound way, about racism and racial inequality, about gender and sexism. I discovered what what my own scholarship could look like. I found I could study and write about black folks in the rural South, about my own experiences, and do so in a way that was academically meaningful and stylistically engaging."