Why African American Studies?

Frederick Douglass

What Is African American Studies?

Students in LMU's African American Studies major gain an interdisciplinary view of the world that is grounded in the perspective of Africa and the African diaspora. This worldview informs the African American Studies Department's intellectual, theoretical and methodological approaches.

Majors will come to understand the forces that influence and impact the lives of people of African descent in America and beyond. To gain a holistic understanding of the discipline, students will draw upon knowledge and analytical skills from the social sciences, humanities, and the arts.

What Do African American Studies Majors Do?

Majors examine the history of African American people in the United States and the diaspora, and delve into the significance of the African worldview to African American-centered scholarship.

Students explore basic research questions, the answers to which contribute to a better understanding of the African American experience. Majors learn about African-centered knowledge systems, find out how to conduct social science research and interpret scientific data, and discover the value of embracing the concept of diversity. Students will also learn how to prepare themselves for graduate school and professional careers in fields related to African American Studies.

Is This Major Right For You?

You might be an African American Studies major if you:

  • Value diversity in a complex world
  • Want to learn about the African American experience
  • Are curious about Africa and the diaspora
  • Are curious about cultural and ethnic identity issues
  • Enjoy interdisciplinary research

About Our Faculty

Our faculty members are experts in fields such as race and ethnicity, moral and social reform, education, African American urban anthropology and popular culture, critical race theory, feminist theory, psychological anthropology, and modern Africa. Others have expertise in the impact of humanitarian aid, the intersections of race, class, and gender, and cross-cultural differences in death, dying, and funeral rites.

Our faculty has published books and articles and worked with think tanks. Important court cases have cited our faculty’s historical research on race and educational access. Affiliated faculty members come from departments including Sociology, Political Science, English, History, Economics, Psychology, Theological Studies and Urban Studies.

About Our Students and Graduates

Our students are encouraged to explore interdisciplinary pathways from an African-centered worldview. After completing required courses in African American Studies, students shape individual academic programs to suit their needs and interests. Courses can be selected from the curriculums of 10 other majors.

LMU students majoring or minoring in African American Studies receive excellent preparation for the world of work, graduate study or professional schools. Graduates go on to careers in social advocacy and activism, law, education, counseling, entertainment, social work, public relations and business.  

Representative Courses

Our courses have included:

  • Introduction to African American Studies
  • Sociology of the Black Community
  • Survey of African American Literature
  • Black Cultural Arts
  • Social Research Methods
  • Black Identities, Families, and Cultures
  • Hip Hop Culture
  • African American Social Thought
  • African Kingdoms
  • Colonial Africa 1860-1960
  • The Quest for the Nile's Source
  • South Africa
  • Black Drama
  • Metropolitan Los Angles
  • Independent Studies

More Resources (Links)