African-American Studies

Tobin Miller Shearer, Program Director

African-American Studies at the University of Montana connects African and African-American (including Latin America and the Caribbean) history, experiences, and perspectives with the 21st century. The goal of the African-American Studies curriculum is to develop basic knowledge of, and appreciation for, the diverse experiences of the African Diaspora, and their contributions to the nations into which they were incorporated. Through this study students will recognize that the African-American narrative connects to the core issues of nation formation, identity politics, social movements, and the liberal state. Those who take this minor will likewise be equipped to talk alongside, through, and in the midst of the racial fracture lines that mark this nation as a country where the color of one's skin is socially significant. In all these efforts, we promote scholarship that is driven first and foremost by an interest in creating knowledge and furthering our understanding of the African-American experience. The interdisciplinary curriculum of African-American Studies includes course offerings from the following academic disciplines: anthropology, economics, English, geography, history, music, political science, and sociology. Some topics of study include:

  • African heritage and cultural continuity among African-Americans;
  • African-American identity issues and cultural variation;
  • the history of African-American protest and resistance, including the abolitionist, anti-lynching, and civil rights movements;
  • the Harlem Renaissance;
  • the social dynamics of integration and segregation; and
  • the various circumstances of, and prospects for, African Americans in the 21st century.