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MA in Africana Studies 


NOTE: The course descriptions for this program can be found in the corresponding program PDF or at COURSE SEARCH

  • Africana Studies

    Africana Studies

    The Department of Africana Studies (AFS) in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) offers a program of interdisciplinary studies leading to a Master of Arts or a Graduate Certificate in Africana Studies. Our graduate program is for anyone who wants to have a more profound understanding of the contemporary globalized world. The MA in Africana Studies is intended to develop an understanding of the experiences of people of African descent in all regions of the globe and across time. This unique program presents approaches and knowledges radically and fundamentally different from those encountered in traditional disciplines, by applying the symbolic potential of Africa and African ideas and ways of being and thinking as a prism for enhancing human understanding and knowledge. In so doing, the MA and Graduate Certificate (GC) meet the need for academic inquiry and excellence at the graduate level spanning the experiences, history and perspectives of African heritage peoples (United States, Caribbean/Latin America, Africa) and enhance professional development in a range of careers and professions where knowledge and increased understanding of Black communities past and present are important. Included among these areas are education, law, management, medicine, public health, public service, social welfare, museum curatorship, cinema studies and teaching.Our graduate programs also increases marketability in a range of traditional doctoral programs including Cultural Studies, English, History, Philosophy, Social Welfare, Sociology, and others.

    The graduate program in Africana Studies offers a broad inquiry into the ideas and experiences of African peoples in the Americas, the continent of Africa, and elsewhere around the globe. The focus of the program is interdisciplinary, organized around a comparative perspective of the African Diaspora. Emphasis is placed on the intersection between African, the Caribbean-Latin American, and African American experiences. Students will examine the Diaspora with particular attention focused on African American, Caribbean-Latin American, and continental African cultures, histories, literatures, political systems, religions, and economies in the overlapping context of developing African communities initially linked by the waterways of the Atlantic.

    MA students pursuing MAT and MLS degrees in academic and professional programs outside of Africana Studies may gain approval from their academic units if seeking to designate Africana courses as a cognate area.

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  • Admission


    Student admissions standards and selection procedures are identical to those followed by the Graduate School of Stony Brook University. In addition to the minimum Graduate School requirements, the Africana Studies Department has specific degree requirements.

    1. A bachelor’s degree is required with a 3.00 (B) in all social science and humanities courses.
    2. Two official copies of previous college transcripts must be submitted.
    3. Three letters of recommendation that address the applicant’s potential to succeed in a program of graduate study.
    4. Submission of scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test.
  • Facilities


    The Department of Africana Studies possesses in-house library facilities. The Richard B. Moore Library was established years ago with a generous gift of several thousand books from Joyce and Burghardt Turner. Dr. Turner was a former Stony Brook professor, after whom the W. Burghardt Turner Fellowship for Underrepresented Students is named. Some of the donations from the Turner family include irreplaceable early editions of items not found even in the general or special collection of the university. They have also donated photographic and art work on display in the library. In addition, the Richard B. Moore Library houses sculpture and paintings donated by AFS alumni. Book and art items in our unit’s library are supplemented by a valuable tape collection, housed in a separate Media Laboratory and Archives. In this collection are tapes made by students of lectures, symposia, cultural events, demonstrations and other happenings held on campus during past years. Also, AFS professor emeritus and poet Amiri Baraka deposited in our media archives copies of his invaluable video holdings dealing with key political and literary events with which he had been involved. (These Baraka tapes will eventually become part of the holdings of the Schomburg Center for Black History and Culture.) Our Richard B. Moore Library maintains regular daytime hours during the week, and is used by students from various parts of the campus.

    AFS also has a Computer Lab, maintained by the Division of Instructional Technology, with several terminals, available for use by students.

  • Requirements


    The MA degree requires a total of 30 graduate course credits with an overall minimum GPA of 3.0. Eighteen (18) of these credits will be in the Africana Studies Graduate Core Curriculum. Twelve (12) of thirty (30) credits may be part of an elective mix of AFS graduate courses and AFS approved graduate courses taken outside the Africana Studies Department in academic areas approved by AFS. Included within the twelve (12) credits are a research thesis project (6 credits). Students may arrange at their own initiative an opportunity to earn six (6) credits in a study abroad program conducted in Africa and/or the Caribbean-Latin America with Stony Brook’s International Academic Programs Office (IAP) which regularly commits to travel-study programs particularly in Africa both in the summer months and during the university’s winter session in efforts to widen the range of approaches to international understanding. Importantly as well, a small number of the courses offered by the MA Program in Africana Studies can be taken by students in the MAT (Master’s of Arts in Teaching) Program in Social Studies Education to fulfill the requirements of that program.

    The Department of Aficana Studies (AFS) has a tradition of interdisciplinary teaching and research, as reflected in the themes, and the theoretical and historical perspectives of the master’s degree courses. The foundation courses are required of all students pursuing the MA degree. The two-semester sequence introduces students to the theoretical and methodological issues of the African Diaspora. A required research seminar introduces students to the historiography of the African Diaspora.

    The Graduate Certificate requires a total of 15 graduate course credits found in the Africana Studies core curriculum. Students must maintain an overall minimum GPA of 3.0. Students applying to pursue the GC should also have a 3.0 during their undergraduate years. Six(6) of the credits for the GC are in foundational courses listed as 500/501 and 502. The remaining 9 credits may be selected from a mix of seminar classes approved by an AFS Department graduate advisor. The application process can be started online by clicking "Admissions" on the main SBU web page and following the appropriate instructions.

    Requirements for the MA in Africana Studies

    1. Foundations in Africana Studies, I, II AFS 500; AFS 501 (6 credits)
    2. Research Methods in Africana Studies AFS 502 (3 credits)
    3. 3 courses (9 credits) from the following courses: AFH 520, AFH 524, AFH 528, AFS 530, AFS 433, AFS 536, AFS 540, AFS 550, AFS 555, AFS 570
    4. Additional 12 credits chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor: include a thesis research project, AFS/AFH 599 (6 credits); electives chosen in consultation with advisor and oral exam (6 credits); or study abroad research (6 credits)
  • Faculty


    The Department of Africana Studies(AFS) provides academic excellence in teaching and research on African Diasporic life and culture as part of its mission at Stony Brook University. The MA Faculty of the Department of Africana Studies is composed of AFS core faculty, and Affiliate faculty from other departments. A listing of Affiliate faculty is available in the AFS main office.

    Core Faculty

    Asare, Abena, Ph.D., New York University; Philosophy and History; History of Ghana, (Truth, Reconciliation and Human Rights in Post Independence Africa).

    Fouron, Georges, Ed.D., Columbia University: Social studies education; bilingual education; identity; Haiti; immigrants’ experience in America; transnationalism.

    Gulema, Shimelis Bonsa, Ph.D., University of California; African History (Post Colonial Formations, Migration Economy, Identification, Urbanization and Ethnicity).

    Harris, Dawn. Ph.D., York University: Caribbean History and Culture

    Hurley, E. Anthony, Ph.D., Rutgers University: Francophone literature of the Caribbean and Africa; Caribbean poetics; Afro-Caribbean culture; Caribbean American literature.

    Walters, Tracey, Ph.D., Howard University: African American literature, Caribbean literature, African literature; Pan-African literature; Black British literature and culture; 20th Century American and British literature; journalism.

    Frank, Barbara, Ph.D., Indiana University: African Mesoamerican, and African Diaspora art history.

    Oyewumi, Oyeronke, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley: Gender; race; family; cultures; social inequalities; globalization.

    Professor Emeriti

    Floris Cash, History, Literature

    Leslie Owens, Civil Rights, Slavery

    Amiri Baraka, Playwriting, Pan-Africanism; contemporary affairs; literature.

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