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African-American & African Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Scholars investigate the history and culture of African-descent peoples, exploring both the ways in which African-descent experience is configured by social, political, and economic factors, and the aesthetic dimensions of the experience as expressed in the arts and literature. Our curriculum emphasizes courses on the African-American experience in the U.S.A., and the African diasporic experience. Students are expected to complete courses in the study of other ethnic cultures as part of their general graduation requirements. Our students also have the opportunity to participate in program internships (AAS 192), Tutoring (197T), Directed Group Study (AAS 198) and Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates (AAS 199).
The program supports many groups and organizations designed to meet the academic and social needs of African-American students and others at Davis including the Black sororities and fraternities, the Black Christian Support group, the Pan-African Student Association, and pre-professional groups in engineering, law, and medicine. Other events in which the program participates are the Black parents? Weekend, Black History Month Celebration, the African American and African Graduation Celebration, and the Annual Student Leadership Conference.
Students may apply for financial support for innovative research projects undertaken under the guidance of individual instructors. Majors and minors are encouraged to take advantage of various internship programs on and off campus. Interns have been placed in state government office in Sacramento, the national office of the NAACP, and the National Art Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Why Study African American & American Studies?
We need to learn and appreciate more fully the history and culture of the various peoples who make up our American nation and the world community ? especially where neglect and misrepresentation has led to the development of ethnic stereotypes that breed misunderstanding. Until recently the study of African-Americans and Africans was a negligible part of the university curriculum. As an aspect of the expanded social awareness of the 1960s Black Studies courses were introduced, and today undergraduate and graduate programs are to be found at several campuses across the country. The UC Davis program offers a major and a minor, and is committed to providing students with a multi-disciplinary learning experience.
Students completing the African American and African Studies major are well prepared for graduate study in psychology, education, sociology, human development, history, etc. Majors in African American and African Studies can also pursue professional training in fields such as pharmacy, medicine, or law. Graduates with this major have also pursued employment opportunities in the federal and state government, in international development agencies, in human service units, in country social service programs, and counseling services. African American and African Studies is also an appropriate background for work in community organizations like the Urban League, NAACP, Urban Affairs, and the Office of Economic Opportunity, and for teaching at all levels.
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