Africana Studies

  • Department Interdisciplinary
  • Academic Division The College
  • Offerings Minor

Professor Michael D. Hill speaks to students Professor Michael D. Hill speaks to students

Africana Studies is an interdisciplinary minor that examines the culture and experiences of African peoples and those who make up the African Diaspora throughout the world. Relevant courses come from a variety of disciplines, including literature, history, sociology, economics, politics, art and music.

Africana Studies at W&L

Students interested in global history or politics, the Atlantic world, international law, international relations, world economics, African-American studies, comparative literature and Africa should consider this program.

Annually, the program brings noted speakers to campus, sponsors multiple student and faculty events, and supports university efforts to offer a more diverse and rich curriculum that accurately reflects and represents the cultural complexity of Africa and the African Diaspora. 

Each student completing the minor in Africana Studies produces a senior capstone project. In this capstone, students pursue in-depth and detail a subject that particularly captivates them, usually something they have studied in one of their courses in the program.

Michael D. Hill

Program Head

Craig Lawhorne

Administrative Assistant

News


Assistant Professor of History Nneka Dennie

Nneka Dennie Receives Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award

The assistant professor of history is one of 10 faculty members nationwide to win the prestigious award.

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From Screen to Square Film Screening: ‘The Watsons Go to Birmingham’

The Juneteenth screening is the final installment of the 2023-24 Screen to Square series and will feature a panel of local students.

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Washington and Lee Names Four Faculty Members to Endowed Professorships

These faculty have been recognized for their outstanding teaching, scholarship and service to the university.

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W&L Hosts 19th Annual Tom Wolfe Weekend

The weekend’s seminar will feature Tess Gunty discussing her debut novel, “The Rabbit Hutch.”

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Assistant Professor of History Nneka Dennie

Assistant Professor Nneka Dennie to Deliver DeLaney Center Dialogue Lecture

Dennie will present her research on “Southern Black Feminisms at the Turn of the Century” March 20 in the Watson Galleries.

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Assistant Professor of History Nneka Dennie

Professor Nneka Dennie to Discuss Her Recent Book on Black Newspaper Editor Mary Ann Shadd Cary

The assistant professor of history will hold her talk on Feb. 7 at noon in the Harte Center Gallery.

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From Screen to Square Film Screening: ‘Till’

The upcoming screening is the second installment in the DeLaney Center’s ongoing film series and will be shown on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater.

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DeLaney Center Receives Grant from Virginia Humanities

An award of $9,500 will support the center’s Screen to Square film series.

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DeLaney Center Set to Begin its 2023-24 Screen to Square Film Series

This year’s first film, “Southern Hoops: A History of SEC Basketball,” will be shown Nov. 4 in Stackhouse Theater.

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W&L Outcomes: Tahri Phillips ’23

Tahri Phillips ’23 will be pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

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Afternoon Tea with Michael Hill Spring Alumni Weekend 2023 Amber Morrison '23

W&L’s DeLaney Center Launches Research Project on Black Women and Desegregation

The DeLaney Center’s latest research project connects current students with a rich legacy.

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"W&L After Class" podcast!

W&L Podcast Releases New Episode Featuring Michael Hill

"W&L After Class" invites listeners to join conversations with W&L's expert faculty about their teaching, research and passion projects.

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Sample Courses

At W&L, we believe education and experience go hand-in-hand. You’ll be encouraged to dive in, explore and discover connections that will broaden your perspective.

HIST 366

Slavery in the Americas

An intensive examination of slavery, abolition movements and emancipation in North America, the Caribbean and Latin America. Emphasis is on the use of primary sources and class discussion of assigned readings.

CBSC 269

Stereotyping, Prejudice, Discrimination

This course examines cognitive and affective processes involved in stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. Causes and social implications of prejudice involving various stigmatized groups (e.g., African-Americans, women, homosexuals, people of low socioeconomic status, overweight individuals) are examined. Participants focus on attitudes and behaviors of both perpetrators and targets of prejudice that likely contribute to and result from social inequality.

PHIL 242

Social Inequality & Fair Opportunity

An exploration of the different range of opportunities available to various social groups, including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, women and the poor. Topics include how to define fair equality of opportunity; the social mechanisms that play a role in expanding and limiting opportunity; legal and group-initiated strategies aimed at effecting fair equality of opportunity and the theoretical foundations of these strategies; as well as an analysis of the concepts of equality, merit and citizenship, and their value to individuals and society.

POV 243

MLK Jr: Poverty, Justice & Love

This course offers students the opportunity to examine the ethics and theology that informed the public arguments about poverty made by one of the 20th century's most important social justice theorists and activists, Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the competing views of his contemporaries, critics, forebears and heirs. The course asks the following questions, among others: How do justice and love relate to one another and to poverty reduction? What role should religion play in public discussions and policies about poverty and justice? Are the dignity and the beloved community King championed the proper goal of anti-poverty efforts?

HIST 131

Túpak Katari to Tupac Shakur

A survey of Latin America from the 1781 anticolonial rebellion led by indigenous insurgent Túpak Katari to a globalized present in which Latin American youth listen to Tupac Shakur yet know little of his namesake. Lectures are organized thematically and chronologically, surveying the historical formation of people and nations in Latin America. Individual countries provide examples of how local and transnational forces have shaped the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of North and South America and the Caribbean, and the cultural distinctions and ethnic diversity that characterize a region too often misperceived as homogeneous.

ENGL 394A

James Baldwin & His Interlocutors

This seminar explores the life and writing of James Baldwin. Through an examination of both his fiction and nonfiction, the seminar charts his interrogation and development of ideas surrounding, among other topics, race, courage, love, nation, revolution and belonging. We also trace his impact on our national consciousness by reading authors whose own bodies of work intersect with his. This list includes, but is not limited to, Norman Mailer, Amiri Baraka, Malcolm X, Lorraine Hansberry, Richard Wright and Barry Jenkins.

Meet the Faculty

At W&L, students enjoy small classes and close relationships with professors who educate and nurture.

Michael D. Hill
Michael D. Hill

Michael D. Hill

Professor and Program Head of Africana Studies

Hill is a scholar of African-American culture, literature and history. He previously taught at the University of Iowa and Wake Forest University.

Henryatta Ballah
Henryatta Ballah

Henryatta Ballah

Assistant Professor of History

Ballah’s teaching and research focus on 19th and 20th century Africa. Her book project explores the political activism of Liberian youth from 1950 to 2010.

Niels-Hugo (Hugo) Blunch
Niels-Hugo (Hugo) Blunch

Niels-Hugo (Hugo) Blunch

Darrold and Kay Cannan Term Professor of Economics

Blunch teaches econometrics and health economics, and also takes students to Ghana for study abroad. His research pertains to health, education and labor market issues. Previously, Blunch worked with the World Bank and the United Nations.

Curriculum Vitae

Nneka Dennie
Nneka Dennie

Nneka Dennie

Assistant Professor of History

Professor Dennie is a Black feminist scholar specializing in African American intellectual history. Her courses examine race and gender in the United States and the Caribbean. She is currently writing two books about 19th century Black women thinkers.

Website

Matt Gildner
Matt Gildner

Matt Gildner

Assistant Professor of History

Gildner teaches many courses in Latin American history and some that count towards the Africana Studies minor. His research pertains primarily to the cultural, political and intellectual history of Latin America.

Lena Hill
Lena Hill

Lena Hill

Provost and Professor of English

In addition to her many duties as Provost, Hill researches and teaches courses primarily in 19th- and 20th-century African-American literature. She has written a number of books and articles on the subject.

Curriculum Vitae

Mohamed Kamara
Mohamed Kamara

Mohamed Kamara

Department Chair and Professor of Romance Languages; Campus Muslim Student Advisor

Professor Kamara holds degrees in French, English and Secondary Education. He teaches French courses in the Department of Romance Languages and also teaches in the university’s Africana Studies Program. As faculty advisor to campus Muslim students and the W&L African Society, he is a member of the Religious Staff in the Office of Inclusion and Engagement.

Diego Millan
Diego Millan

Diego Millan

Assistant Professor of English

Millan teaches upper-level courses in black diasporic literature. He has researched 19th- and 20th-century American and African-American literature and culture, black studies, performance studies, and theories of laughter and comedy.

Lucas Morel
Lucas Morel

Lucas Morel

Department Head, John K. Boardman, Jr. Professor of Politics

Morel has taught at W&L since 1999. His teaching and research interests include American government, political theory, Abraham Lincoln, Ralph Ellison, and race and equality. He is a pre-law advisor and an accomplished writer.

Curriculum Vitae

Henryatta Ballah
Niels-Hugo (Hugo) Blunch
Nneka Dennie
Matt Gildner
Lena Hill
Mohamed Kamara
Diego Millan
Lucas Morel
Michael D. Hill