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A Perspective on African American Studies

A Perspective on AAS

The students and faculty of AAS pursue knowledge through an interdisciplinary critical enterprise that brings together faculty and students in departments across the University in English, Sociology, History, Music, Psychology, Education, Anthropology, Political Science and Public Administration. The minor gives students an opportunity to combine approaches and methodologies in these disciplines. For instance, a student majoring in English and minoring in African American Studies can select courses from our AAS curriculum that inform her interest in say critical race studies: AAS 4643 Race and the Media; AAS 2203 Cultural and Racial Minorities; AAS 4393 Postcolonial Literature and Theory. Our minor curriculum includes subject matter from the social sciences, the humanities, and the fine arts. This allows students to create their own unique track of study that brings into focus a particular research interest or area of concentration.

The African American Studies minor also gives students the opportunity to gain valuable research experience outside of their major discipline of study. The AAS program is comprised of both core and affiliated faculty from departments across the University. Core faculty have joint appointments with AAS and their home departments. These professors conduct research and teach courses related to both. Affiliated faculty in other academic departments contribute to the program often by teaching courses that are cross-listed with AAS. Students enrolling in our classes or minoring in AAS have the opportunity to gain a variety of insights from professors across the University. Not only do our students pursue the study of African American culture and lived experience, they get to do so from a multidisciplinary perspective that marshals qualitative and quantitative methods, humanistic philosophies and theories, as well as aesthetic forms and artistic conventions. The result is a minor program that equips students with both salient content and critical tools for academic and professional growth.

The AAS minor embodies the spirit of diversity at Mississippi State University. The program is evidence of the University’s commitment to pursuing knowledge and research that promote diversity. Mississippi has frequently been a historical site of impactful social change in this country. From the hard won victories of the past, to the social challenges of our contemporary moment, our students and professors are committed to investigating the historical and political contexts that continue to shape our individual and collective identities. Courses such as “African American History Before 1865” and “History of the Modern Civil Rights Movement” remind us that not only must we learn from our past, but we must also equip ourselves for a more prosperous future.