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African and African American Studies

Knowledge of the experiences of Africans and African descendants past and present is critical to understanding the urgent issues of our time. The insight students will gain from this minor will better prepare them to critically engage the world and to live honorably.

Why Pursue African and African American Studies at Randolph?

This interdisciplinary minor explores African and African American experiences, drawing from approaches across the campus.

Students will gain an understanding of how the histories of the United States and the wider world have benefited from Africa and African descendants.

Knowledge of the experiences of Africans and African descendants past and present is critical to understanding the urgent issues of our time.

The insight students will gain from this minor will better prepare them to critically engage the world and to live honorably.

Degrees offered

African and African American Studies interdisciplinary minor

Participating Programs

Curriculum and Requirements

Students must complete 20 credit hours to qualify for the minor.  A minimum of 5 of the following courses are required.

Required: (4 credit hours)

This interdisciplinary course explores the historical, social, cultural and political experience of people of African descent in the United States and in the wider diaspora. It will introduce students to the distinct theoretical approaches and methods of African & African American Studies, centering Black, African and African American thought, scholarship, and culture. Topics may include imperialism, colonialism, slavery, inequality, and capitalism.

Four courses (16 credits) chosen from below: *

* Must be from at least three different departments. Relevant Special Topics and one-time only courses can be substituted for courses other than AAAS 1101, with approval by the minor program coordinator.

At least two courses from the following: (8-16 credit hours)

Students will discover and analyze a range of expressions of African American artistic creativity from the colonial period to the present, including: religious art, portraiture, landscape, photography, the Harlem Renaissance, social realism, abstraction, public art, performance, and art as a tool for social justice. Includes opportunities to examine works at the Maier Museum of Art.

Literature both expresses and explores identity, of which race is an essential component. This course considers the ways that historical and cultural notions of race shape literary narratives, as well as the ways that notions of race operate to constrain and/or liberate literary creativity. Thematic topics vary. Emphasis on critical approaches and the writing of textual analysis.
Christopher Columbus’ 1492 voyage created the first sustained link between the eastern and western Atlantic, opening new worlds of possibility, transformation, and unforeseen consequences that continue to reverberate today. This course explores the history of the Atlantic World, and the peoples from Europe, Africa, and the Americas who lived it. Topics include encounters, cultural adaptations, slavery, circulation, and revolutions.
The Civil War was not something that happened to us; it was something we did to ourselves. In this course we explore why a rational, idealistic people slid into this fratricidal barbarism that killed one out of every fifty Americans. We think about slavery’s impact and legacy. We ponder the concept of a “good war.” We consider what the war and its aftermath solved, worsened, and bequeathed to us, undone.
From the western Sahel to the central savannahs to the Swahili coast, Africa is as diverse in its regional history as it is in its geography. This course will investigate the distinct histories of these different regions, as well as the connections between them and to wider Indian Ocean, Atlantic, and trans-Saharan networks.
Societal trends, culture, and popular musical styles in the United States beginning from the 1890s to present day. Genres covered include ragtime, blues, jazz, rock and roll, pop, and hip-hop.
An exploration of the challenges and obstacles facing the developing countries in this region. The course is structured to address a series of controversial issues such as: Why are some countries developing rapidly while others remain stagnant? Are rates of poverty, hunger, or other indicators of social wellbeing improving over time in countries that post economic gains? What roles, if any, should the United States or other industrialized countries play in providing technology, foreign aid, or other forms of assistance? Topics will include population growth, the emerging roles of women, the impact of transnational corporations and international trade, destruction of natural habitats, and eco-tourism. Students develop case studies of a particular country in the region and may choose to participate in a mock international forum.
This course examines the development of Black Feminist Theory in Sociology, starting in the 1800s and going to the present day. The concept of “intersectionality” came from this theoretical tradition, so students will learn both about the history of Black Feminist thinkers and applications in today’s world, including various social movements (feminist, civil rights, #BLM, #MeToo).

Up to two courses from the following: (max 8 credit hours)

This course provides a historical perspective on major themes in U.S. history from the Colonial Period to the present. It does not offer a comprehensive survey but will provide historical background on many significant topics: foreign policy, race relations, labor, immigration, social policy, and social movements. Students will learn how to read, use, and evaluate a wide range of primary historical sources, including memoirs, novels, letters, speeches, political cartoons, and oral interviews. They will identify different methods of historical inquiry and gain an appreciation for how history structures our daily lives.
An examination of the creation, representation, and maintenance of “whiteness” as a racial category. It explores the process by which certain groups have moved from racial “other” to “white,” the visual representation of “whiteness,” and the social, cultural, and political ramifications of being white (and non-white) in America.
This course will provide a history of the representation of racial and ethnic minorities in popular film and its sociocultural implications; an application of sociological perspectives toward understanding popular film; and an examination of minorities as audiences and filmmakers.
This course focuses on questions about the law dealing with issues like truth, fairness, justice, and autonomy in a free society. We’ll explore debates about criminal justice and punishment; unconscionable contracts; exploitation; economic efficiency; class, race, gender, sexuality and other forms of inequality; and the pursuit of civil and political rights.

Opportunities for Experience

Summer Research Program

Spend the summer working closely with a professor on a focused aspect of an African American Studies topic of your choosing.

Randolph’s intensive eight-week Summer Research Program enables students to work with professors on a research of their own design; live in a residence hall on campus, participate in on-campus summer events, attend special seminars with guest speakers; and share the progress and results of their research.

Learn more about the Summer Research Program.

Symposium of Artists and Scholars

Modeled after a traditional academic conference, the SAS brings together students of all disciplines to share the results and highlights of the best work being produced at the College –  oral presentations, readings of creative works, performances, exhibitions of student artwork, and poster presentations.

Learn more about the Symposium of Artists and Scholars.

Internships

Learn by doing – in the field and on the job.  The Career Development Center will help place you in positions with leading companies and organizations in your field of study.

Learn more about internship opportunities.

Unique Experiences

Opportunities

Top Ranked Professors

Randolph College’s faculty are consistently recognized as among the best in the nation. The Princeton Review ranked the College in the Top 20 for most accessible professors in the 2021 edition of its flagship college guide, The Best 387 Colleges.

Randolph has been ranked in the top 20 for most accessible professors for four consecutive years.

Faculty Coordinator

Julio Rodriguez

Associate Professor of American Culture, Director of the American Culture Program

Read More... Julio Rodriguez

Only at Randolph

Randolph students can take advantage of unique programs which give them a more enriching education than can be found anywhere else.

Money for Your Research

The Randolph Innovative Student Experience (RISE) program provides every student a $2,000 grant to fund research, creative work, experiential learning or other scholarly pursuits.

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The Randolph Plan

Randolph students work with faculty mentors to explore a broad range of disciplines as they chart their academic path.

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The Liberal Arts Advantage

Randolph graduates learn to think critically, solve problems and work well with others. They are prepared to succeed in all aspects of life.

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TAKE2

Two courses per half-mester means you get to focus in and dig deep into your coursework while still having time for the rest of the college experience. Two classes. Seven weeks. Repeat.

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News

David Wall Rice, Morehouse College professor, to speak during annual MLK celebration

The virtual event will be available to view at 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, on the College’s YouTube page.

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New chief diversity officer Keesha Burke-Henderson brings experience, leadership, and commitment to students

Before embarking on a career in diversity and inclusion, Keesha Burke-Henderson worked as a communication lecturer—with a focus on culture, […]

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A message from President Bateman about the new African-American Experience at Randolph Task Force

I am writing today to announce the formation of the Task Force on the African-American Experience at Randolph College.

Read More

David Wall Rice, Morehouse College professor, to speak during annual MLK celebration

The virtual event will be available to view at 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, on the College’s YouTube page.

Read More

New chief diversity officer Keesha Burke-Henderson brings experience, leadership, and commitment to students

Before embarking on a career in diversity and inclusion, Keesha Burke-Henderson worked as a communication lecturer—with a focus on culture, […]

Read More

A message from President Bateman about the new African-American Experience at Randolph Task Force

I am writing today to announce the formation of the Task Force on the African-American Experience at Randolph College.

Read More
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Julio Rodriguez

Associate Professor of American Culture, Director of the American Culture Program

Credentials:B.A., East Stroudsburg University
M.A., Bowling Green University
Ph.D., Bowling Green University
Associated Departments:Media and Culture, Sociology, The American Culture Program old 2016, African and African American Studies
Office:Leggett 601
Phone:4349478304
Email:jrodriguez@randolphcollege.edu

News Headlines

Professor Rodriguez has published articles on baseball, basketball, boxing, and the performance of masculinity in sports films.

He is currently working on a book-length project examining the role of neo-conservative foreign policy in action-adventure films released during George W. Bush’s presidency.

In the summers he tirelessly, but fruitlessly, tries to break 80 on the golf course, quitting the game on a regular basis. The winter brings snowboarding and the to-date successful attempt not to break anything. Sports have always been central to his work and leisure. They instruct and inform his personal and professional search for a comprehensive understanding of the male gender.

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