African American Studies

Bates College

Professors Fra-Molinero (Spanish), Nero (Rhetoric), and Rice-DeFosse (French and Francophone Studies); Associate Professors Beasley (African American Studies and American Cultural Studies), Chapman (Music), Houchins (African American Studies), Jensen (History), Osucha (English), and Pickens (English, chair); Visiting Assistant Professor Rubin (Anthropology)

African American studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to enrich knowledge of the experience of African Americans from the past to the present, both within and beyond the United States. Attention is given to "race" as a critical tool of analysis for explaining the allocation of economic resources, the formation of personal and group identity, and the changing nature of political behavior. Study of African American experiences provides insight into secular cultural practices, intellectual traditions, religious doctrines and practices, and social institutions with attention to issues of class, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. 

The chair of African American studies provides a list of courses offered each year. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program, students should 1) consult regularly with the chair or a faculty advisor in African American studies to ensure that their program has both breadth and depth and 2) devise programs of study approved by the chair or a faculty advisor by the fall semester of the junior year. 

Thesis advisors are chosen by each student, in consultation with the chair, according to the subject matter of the thesis. 

More information on the African American studies program is available on the website (

Major Requirements. Students must complete eleven courses and a thesis. Courses taken for the major must include:
a) at least one course that has an experiential component;
b) at least one course that emphasizes feminist histories and analyses;
c) at least one course that focuses on black diasporic life outside the United States. 
Within the major, students may develop a concentration in literature or the arts (music, theater, dance, fine art), film studies, environmental studies, gender studies, politics, public policy, anthropology, economics, education, sociology, psychology, history, philosophy, race and science, or may focus on a particular world region (e.g., the Caribbean, Africa, Latin America). 


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North America

Lewiston , United States


United States