The interdisciplinary African and African American Studies Program at UCA dedicates itself to teaching and researching about Africa and its various diasporas, especially in the Americas and Europe. The program brings together a wide spectrum of experts including literary critics, political scientists, philosophers, sociologists, historians, in addition to scholars of music, cultural studies, popular culture, gender, sexuality, race, and public policy to explore and reveal the multifarious experiences and perspectives of people of African descent as well as to theorize and historicize racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and other markers of difference. Further, we interrogate and rethink the disciplinary methods that conventionally have rendered these experiences and markings invisible. In service of this ambition we offer courses and conduct research that investigates the contributions, challenges, aspirations, and achievements of those of African ancestry. Our aim is to produce thoughtful, well rounded, and globally competent graduates who are ready to function in a densely interconnected world.
The African and African American Studies Program faculty have expertise in various fields such as art, communications, history, literature, music, philosophy and religion, political science, sociology, world languages, and writing. The faculty have degrees from distinguished universities around the United States and the world. Several have received prizes for research and teaching, and many are well-published in their respective fields. Teaching comes first at UCA, and our small class sizes ensure a warm, supportive atmosphere conducive to learning.
Students may join various organizations that advance the understanding of the culture and experiences of people of African descent. These organizations include the Griot Society, the Students For the Propagation of Black Culture, the African Studies Association, World Languages Club, National Association of Black Men United, and the Minority Mentorship Program.
Educating for Diversity and Global Engagement (EDGE) – back to top
With the College of Liberal Arts emphasis on EDGE, students have access to a truly global curriculum and have the opportunity to study abroad, undergraduate research, internships and service learning. In the past students have presented their research at national conferences, have had rewarding adventures studying abroad, and have gained practical experience interning at sites such as the Clinton Presidential Library or Arkansas Historical Preservation Project. Students have the opportunity to live in EDGE Residential College, which makes global education a living/learning experience. Visit our website.
Why Major or Minor in African/African-American Studies? – back to top
A major or minor in African/African-American Studies equips you with the following intellectual and practical skills: Expressing Ideas, Listening Skills, Persuasion, Public Speaking, Technical Writing, Written Communication, Cultural Understanding, Gathering Information, Identifying Problems, Research Skills, Planning, Strategic Planning/Visioning, Creating Innovative Solutions, Multi-tasking, Analytical/Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and many more! The minor in African/African-American Studies pairs well with majors that prepare students for careers in international business, public policy, social work, nonprofit activism, and more.
Gain Skills to Prepare You for Careers in:
Management and Industry
Cultural Resources Manager, Civil Services Worker, Social Worker, Human Resources
Communication and Media
Journalist, Media Relations Specialist, Linguist, Interpreter
High School Teacher, Administrator, Professor, Student Affairs, University Administration
Peace Corps Staffer, Program Administrator, HIV/AIDS Activist
Foreign Service Specialist, Political Analyst, Public Administration, State and Local Government, Civil Service Work, Community Urban Planning, Public Affairs and Policy
Professional and Graduate School
Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, English to name but a few!
Notable African/African American Studies Majors – back to top
Angela Bassett – award-winning actress. (BA in African-American Studies from Yale University).
Rakim H. D. Brooks – Rhodes Scholar and C. Edwin Baker Fellow in Democratic Values at Demos. (BA in Africana Studies from Brown University).
Megan L. Comfort – Senior Research Sociologist, Urban Health Program at RTI International and Adjunct Asst Professor of Medicine, UCSF. (BA in Black Studies from Wellesley College).
Jendayi Frazer – Distinguished Professor, Carnegie Mellon University and former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. (BA in African and Afro-American Studies & Political Science from Stanford University).
Brian L. Harper – Medical Director and COO of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention. (BA in Afro-American Studies & Biology from Brown University).
Mae Jemison – Physician and NASA astronaut on the Endeavor in 1992. (BA in Afro-American Studies from Stanford University).
Do Kim – Civil rights attorney & founder of the Korean American Youth Leadership Program. (BA in Afro-American Studies & Sociology from Harvard University).
Aaron McGruder – Cartoonist, writer and creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip “The Boondocks.” (BA in African-American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park).
Gloria Naylor – Educator and novelist. Winner of the National Book Award in 1983 for The Women of Brewster Place. (MA in Afro-American Studies from Yale University).
Michelle Obama – attorney and First Lady of the United States. (BA in Sociology with a minor in African-American Studies from Princeton University).
Richard W. Roberts – US District Court Judge for Washington DC. (BA in Black Studies & Political Science from Vassar College).
Claudia Thomas – author and first black female orthopedic surgeon in the U.S. (BA in Black Studies from Vassar College).
For more information contact program director: – back to top
Dr. Michael Mwenda Kithinji
Irby Hall 421
201 Donaghey Avenue
Conway, AR 72035
Phone: (501) 450-5650
Fax: (501) 450-5617 email@example.com