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Areas of Study

African American Studies


African American Studies component examines the historical, cultural, political, economic and social development of people of African descent. Our focus on African America is as part of the African Diaspora. It situates the specific forms of expression and resistance from people of African descent in North America in the context of a wider black world; including societies in the Caribbean, South and Central America. As a part of the Ethnic Studies department African American studies at UCR is particularly strong in comparative analysis. Students learn about African American and black diasporic history and culture in relation to those of Latino, Asian, Native American and other underrepresented populations of North America. Our focus is on social justice: on the histories of slavery, colonialism, segregation, economic exploitation and the continual forms of resistance black people have developed in the struggle for civil and human rights. As an interdisciplinary field, students are trained in the research skills needed in traditional disciplines: history, literature, politics, sociology, psychology, law, and to develop their own independent analytic abilities of investigation.

The major is intended to be in-depth and comparative as well as multidisciplinary.


  • Jayna Brown
  • Ralph Crowder
  • Paul Green

Major Requirements

  1. Lower-Division Requirements (12 units):
    1. Ethnic Studies 001: Introduction to the Study of Race & Ethnicity

    2. Ethnic Studies 003: Introduction to African American Studies

    3. One course chosen from:

      Ethnic Studies 002: Introduction to Chicano Studies
      Ethnic Studies 005: Introduction to Asian American Studies
      Ethnic Studies 007: Introduction to Native American Studies

  2. Upper-Division Requirements (40 units):
    1. Ethnic Studies 101A: Historical Development of Race, Racism, and White Supremacy
      Ethnic Studies 101B: Theories of Race and Resistance

    2. Ethnic Studies 100: Race and Ethnicity in a Comparative Perspective
      Ethnic Studies 131: Race, Class, and Gender

    3. Ethnic Studies 109I: The Black Diaspora: Cultural, Political, and Historical Connections
      Ethnic Studies 191R: Research Methodology

    4. Sixteen (16) additional upper-division units in Ethnic Studies chosen from courses focusing on the African American experience.

    5. A minimum of one Ethnic Studies course chosen from two of the following four areas of emphasis (8 units):
      1. Asian American Studies
      2. Chicano Studies
      3. Native American Studies
      4. Comparative Issues

Note: No internship courses may be counted toward the upper-division electives in Ethnic Studies.

Minor in African American Studies

Lower division (4 units)

ETST 003

Upper division (20 units)


16 additional upper division units in Ethnic Studies focusing on the African American experience