Africana Studies

The goal of Hamilton’s Africana Studies Department is to encourage students to develop understanding of the world by connecting ideas, knowledge and ways of thinking across disciplinary boundaries while they analyze racial structures and identities in relation to other social categories such as gender, class, nation, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion.

Africana Studies at Hamilton College is for anyone interested in acquiring new perspectives on history, culture, place and power. By placing people of African descent at the center of analysis, we rethink crucial questions such as what shapes our individual and collective identities? We ask questions such as: How do relations of power built on race, gender, class and other differences inform our self-conceptions and interactions? We offer an inclusive, supportive and rigorous intellectual environment in which to explore these issues and learn to navigate the growing complexity in our world.

Our students learn to analyze multiple cultural traditions, perspectives and interpersonal relations within and outside the classroom. Our curriculum intersects history, sociology, anthropology, geography, political science, classics, philosophy, psychology, music, literature and theatre.

Africana Studies majors consider and analyze domination and privilege from the perspective of race as well as gender, class, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and other factors. In considering these identities students learn to think critically about the forces that inform their lives. Our curriculum emphasizes the global interconnectedness and differentiation of the contemporary world, and our students learn to analyze non-European and European cultures in the Caribbean, the United States, Africa, and Europe. Africana Studies challenges students to think outside the box in order to understand the world from multiple perspectives. It prepares students to become thoughtful, responsible and purposeful individuals who are eager and able to make enduring changes in our world.

Most of all, Africana Studies is about intellectual growth and independent and innovative thinking. Students discover their voices and learn how to use them effectively—how to write and speak persuasively, think critically and creatively, and become full participants in the public discourse.