The goal of the Africana Studies department is to take up the field's central questions and debates in multiple contexts and by means of multiple methodologies. In keeping with this goal, many of the department’s course offerings focus extensively and transdisciplinarily on issues of social, structural, and institutional hierarchy as they pertain to race and a host of other dimensions of identity.
About the Major
Hamilton’s Africana studies faculty and students represent a wide range of racial and ethnic backgrounds, bringing to the classroom a diversity of experiences, perspectives, and disciplinary strengths. Students often spend a summer conducting research with a professor; some have earned fellowships to continue their academic work abroad after graduation.
Students Will Learn To:
- Apply at least two disciplinary lenses of analysis that focus on a specific aspect of the life experiences of people of African descent (for example in written/digital assignments, performative or oral presentations)
- Explain, verbally and/or in writing, the interrelationships among people from sub-Saharan Africa, the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, or other parts of the African diaspora in two or more of the following areas: linguistic, intellectual, political, economic, or cultural
- Define and provide examples of colonization, decolonization, Black liberation/power movements and their legacies
- Explain, verbally and/or in writing, the concept of intersectionality via specific connections with race, ethnicity, class, and gender
- Explain the goals of one or more current social justice initiatives involving people of African descent in the United States and globally
A Sampling of Courses
Exploring Social Justice
This course explores the historical movements for social justice and contributions of a new generation of black leadership including students, women and community organizers during the civil rights and Black power movements. We will consider the contributions of well-known figures like Huey Newton and Malcolm X and lesser-known figures like Septima Clark, the director of the freedom schools, and their significance in the present times.
Explore these select courses:
Forefronts the consequences of assumptions based on hegemonic ideas and representations of blackness and Black life. We examine how visual and narrative representations impact our perceptions and sense of collective and individual selves, and the lived experiences of Black subjects. We explore dominant cultural representations of blackness and how they are in dialogue, negotiation, and contestation, along with the tension and interaction between ideas inherited from the outside, and the created inner ones.
Meet Our Faculty
Chair, Associate Professor of Africana Studies
history, sociology, and Africana studies
Professor of Africana Studies
culture theory; racial formation; visual culture; diaspora; invisibility and transnational cultural politics
Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre
acting; Shakespeare; African-American theatre; Sanford Meisner; Uta Hagen; August Wilson
A. Todd Franklin
Professor of Philosophy and Africana Studies
existentialism, African-American philosophy, and Nietzsche
Professor of Africana Studies
critical human geography; race, place, and belonging in Italy, Black Europe, and the U.S.; gender and intersectionality; African Diasporic politics and identity in Italy; Blackness and anti-blackness
Professor of Literature and Africana Studies
African literature with a focus of Ghanaian and women's literature; 20th-century Caribbean literature; African-American literature; science fiction; literary criticism; use of digital technology in the study of literature
Explore Hamilton Stories
Westmaas Gives Paper at Columbia University Workshop
Associate Professor of Africana Studies Nigel Westmaas presented a co-authored paper titled "Grounding 'How Europe Underdeveloped Africa': Walter Rodney and the rupture in Guyana" at a workshop held at Columbia University on March 10 to 11.
Franklin Publishes Chapter in New Book on Blackness
A chapter by A. Todd Franklin, professor of philosophy and Africana studies, is included in the new book Black Men from Behind the Veil: Ontological Interrogations edited by George Yancy (Lexington Books, 2021).
‘Race and Racism in America’ Seizes Historical Moment
Last semester, Professor of Africana Studies Heather Merrill taught a new course that she developed to meet this moment in history.
Careers After Hamilton
Hamilton graduates who concentrated in Africana studies are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:
- 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
Africana Studies Program
Nigel Westmaas, Director
Clinton, NY 13323