Program in African American Studies
- Eddie S. Glaude
Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Naomi Murakawa
Director of Graduate Studies
- Ruha Benjamin
- Jacob S. Dlamini, History
- Paul Frymer, Politics
- Simon E. Gikandi, English
- William A. Gleason, English
- J. Nicole Shelton, Psychology
- Stacey A. Sinclair, Psychology
- Keith A. Wailoo, History
- Leonard Wantchekon, Politics
- Judith Weisenfeld, Religion
Sits with Committee
- Dannelle Gutarra Cordero
Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts
- Ayah Nuriddin
The Department of African American Studies offers an undergraduate certificate that expands and deepens a students’ understanding of race in the United States and in the world. The certificate is equivalent to an academic ‘minor’ in African American Studies. Earning a certificate is straightforward and allows students an enriching course of study which complements any Princeton concentration. Students who opt to pursue a certificate gain access to an extraordinary bibliography that prepares them to think about race and power in sophisticated ways.
The Program in African American Studies was founded on the assumption that the study of African American history and culture, and of the role that race has played in shaping the life and the institutions of the United States, is central to an American liberal education. Given the continuing and evolving centrality of race in American political, economic, social, and cultural life, and indeed, in every region of the world, reflection on race and on the distinctive experiences of black people is indispensable for all Princeton students as global citizens. Drawing on a core of distinguished faculty in areas such as art and archaeology, comparative literature, English, history, philosophy, law and political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, the program promotes teaching and research of race with a focus on the experience of African Americans in the United States.
The program's curriculum reflects the complex interplay between political, economic, and cultural forces that shape our understanding of the historic achievements and struggles of African-descended people in this country and their relation to others around the world. Toward that end, the certificate is organized into three thematic subfields:
African American Culture and Life (AACL):
In the African American Culture and Life subfield, students encounter the theoretical canon and keywords, which shape the contemporary discipline of African American Studies. Accessing a range of interdisciplinary areas, situated primarily in the United States, students will learn to take a critical posture in examining the patterns and practices that order and transform black subjects and black life.
Global Race and Ethnicity (GRE):
In the Global Race and Ethnicity subfield, students use the prevailing analytical tools and critical perspectives of African American studies to consider comparative approaches to groups, broadly defined. Students will examine the intellectual traditions, socio-political contexts, expressive forms, and modes of belonging of people who are understood to share common boundaries/experiences as either:
- Africans and the African Diaspora outside of the United States and
- non-African-descended people of color within the United States.
Race and Public Policy (RPP):
In the Race and Public Policy subfield, students use and interrogate social science methodologies in examining the condition of the American state and American institutions and practices. With an analysis of race and ethnicity at the center, students will examine the development of institutions and practices, with the growth and formation of racial and ethnic identities, including changing perceptions, measures, and reproduction of inequality.
Admission to the Program
The Program in African American Studies offers students concentrating in another department the opportunity to earn a certificate in African American Studies. Undergraduate students may apply for formal admission to the certificate program at any time once they have taken and achieved a satisfactory standing in any African American Studies (AAS) course.
- Students must complete two AAS core survey courses from the list below:
- AAS 244 Introduction to Pre-20th Century Black Diaspora Art
- AAS 245 Introduction to 20th Century African American Art
- AAS 353 African American Literature: Origins to 1910
- AAS 359 African American Literature: Harlem Renaissance to Present
- AAS 366 African American History to 1863
- AAS 367 African American History Since Emancipation
- Students must take three additional courses in AAS, Cross-Listed by AAS, or from our approved cognates list. At least one (1) of these must be in the GRE sub-field.
Certificate of Proficiency
Students who fulfill all the requirements of the program will receive a certificate in African American Studies upon graduation.
Please consult the listing for the Program in African American Studies for additional information.