Africana Studies

Stemming from the Black Studies programs and departments formed in the late 1960s, Africana Studies is the study of cultures, politics, and histories of peoples of African origin in both Africa and in the African diaspora. At present, Africana Studies is a systematic way of studying black people’s religion, sociology, culture, cultural expression and history throughout the world. It examines the iterative effect of the black experience on society as well as society’s impact on the black experience. Therefore, this academic endeavor relies heavily on many disciplines across the social sciences and humanities.

The question of diversity in general and Africana Studies in particular at higher levels of education is no longer a “yes-or-no” query; it is a matter of “when” and “how.” The matter of “when” is a question of will, commitment, and resources; and it is a question that university administrators across the country are addressing. The matter of “how,” though, is a question for research scholars; and it raises questions proper to disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.

This MALS concentration is the only M.A. or M.S. degree offered in Africana Studies within the CUNY system.

Degree Requirements

MALS students take four classes within the program — Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies, two core courses in their chosen concentration, and the thesis/capstone project — and choose their remaining electives from among courses offered across the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities at The Graduate Center.

This master's degree program requires the following coursework for a total of 30 credits:

  • A required introductory course [MALS 70000: Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies] (3 credits)
  • Two required core courses to introduce students to Africana Studies [MALS 73400 and MALS 73500] (6 credits)
  • 18 credits from courses of the student's choice that are relevant to the student’s concentration or studies
  • A master's thesis/capstone project [MALS 79000] (3 credits)

Core Courses

These courses provide students with diverse perspectives on Africana Studies to prepare them for advanced courses in Africana Studies and other relevant disciplines.

MALS 73400 Africana Studies: Introduction
This course provides a broad overview of the issues and methods of Africana Studies using an interdisciplinary approach to consider some of the themes, questions, methodologies, and findings of Africana Studies scholarship. Students use a selection of texts — taken from literary, cultural, and social science sources — to explore new questions and bring new perspectives to the humanities, the social sciences, and their intersections. 

MALS 73500 Africana Studies: Global Perspectives
Students explore the dynamics of racial, ethnic, and economic relations of power in U.S., international, and transnational settings. Through discussion, readings, and research, students and faculty examine scholarship produced by and about black people, citizens of developing nations, and other social and political actors whose experiences and thinking have shaped contemporary ideas about race, power, and international political economies beyond the borders of the United States.

Elective Courses

Electives may be selected from courses offered across most of the doctoral and certificate programs in the social sciences and humanities at The Graduate Center.

To dig deeper into Africana Studies, you can take courses through certificate programs in Africana Studies and Women's Studies as well as the doctoral programs in AnthropologyArt HistoryEnglishHistoryPolitical ScienceSociology, and Music.

You can also review our current and past courses offered by the certificate program.

Library Resources

Visit the GC Mina Rees Library's Africana Studies Research Guide.
Students: Contact reference librarian Elvis Bakaitis with Africana Studies research questions. 

Africana Studies Concentration Faculty

Juan Battle professor photo

Juan Battle

Executive Officer and Presidential Professor

  • Nursing

Presidential Professor

  • Sociology

Presidential Professor

  • Urban Education

Presidential Professor

  • Liberal Studies

Presidential Professor

  • Social Welfare

Presidential Professor

  • Africana Studies
Nathalie Etoke - Associate Professor -  profile photo

Nathalie Etoke

Associate Professor

  • Liberal Studies

Associate Professor

  • French