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As an Africana studies major you will explore the field’s central questions and debates in a transdisciplinary and cross-cultural department.

About the Major

As an Africana studies student you may get a chance to spend a summer doing research with a professor or earn a fellowship to pursue your own academic work abroad for a year after graduation.

Being at Hamilton for four years has provided me with the tools to do well in anything I do. Whether I decide to pursue a career that intersects with the work I did at Hamilton or not, I know that I am equipped with powerful knowledge. I know that majoring in Africana studies best prepared me for life outside of Hamilton and I also know that every opportunity and experience Hamilton awarded me has contributed to my success now and will continue to contribute to my success in the future.

Kiana Sosa ’15 — Africana studies major

Students focus on five geographic areas – Africa, the Caribbean, the U.S., Latin America and Europe – and the links between them, taking cross-listed courses in anthropology, classics, English, government, history and other disciplines. Africana studies faculty and students come from a wide range of racial and ethnic backgrounds, bringing to the classroom a diversity of experiences, perspectives and disciplinary strengths.

The department began in the mid-1980s in response to students who pressed for a space within the academy to explore issues of race and the lives of people of Africa and the African diaspora.

Careers After Hamilton

  • Volunteer, U.S. Peace Corps
  • Financial Analyst, Lazard Capital Markets
  • Architectural Designer, Coyle & Associates
  • Foreign Services Officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Program Coordinator, Posse Foundation
  • Editorial Assistant, EPIX
  • Teacher, Bronx Academy of Letters

Contact Information


Africana Studies Program

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4205 315-859-4625 vodamtte@hamilton.edu

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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Black Spaces 130FS


Study of black lives and struggles in particular places, and as intrinsic to the Western world. Explores iconic representations and knowledge of black social life and how these are contested in narrative and visual (artistic) expressions; what we are taught to see, and to ignore; the tension and play between ideas we inherit from the outside, and our inner worlds. Topics include representation, resistance, imperialism, violence, racialization, social erasure, subjectivity, power, and art. Writing-intensive.

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Understanding Caribbean Carnival 140S


Introduces the Carnival tradition in the Caribbean, examining the rise of Carnival from its slavery and post-emancipation roots; the political and historical dynamic associated with Carnival customs; the complex cultural expressions forged by Carnival’s unique mix of folklore and religion including vodun, dance and dress styles, satire and musical forms like reggae and calypso; the interrelations between the economic and cultural products created by Caribbean peoples, and the spread, content and impact of modern Carnival to large North American cities.

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History of Jazz to the 1950s 160


A study of jazz from its origins (its African heritage, blues and ragtime) to 1950. A survey of jazz styles, including New Orleans and Chicago styles, boogie-woogie, swing, bebop and cool jazz.

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Gender, Space and Identity in the African Diaspora 224S


This course examines how racialized and gendered identities are made in relation to space. How does gender intersect with race, class and other power relations embedded in the places we live? How do women and men come to occupy different places in the world – literally and figuratively – or occupy the same places in different ways? Case studies focus on identity making in relation to the body and the course more broadly focuses on the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity as matrices of social and structural power relations and hierarchies. Writing-intensive.

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Black Popular Culture 303S


Examines black popular culture of the African diaspora through an exploration of a series of representations, cultural practices and folk traditions. Participants will interrogate the "black experience" and its legacy in aspects of consumer culture, film, music (jazz, hip hop, blues), television, social class and gender. Considers the methodological and theoretical implications of these approaches for both anthropological inquiry and Africana studies. Writing-intensive.

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Ancient Egypt 374


A study of the history of ancient Egypt and of its interaction with other ancient African kingdoms, including Nubia, Kush and Punt. Examination of Egypt’s prehistory, language, social and gender relations, and cultural development.

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