University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400162
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4162
(434) 924-3109 Fax: (434) 924-8820
Overview African-American and African Studies (AAS) is an interdisciplinary program in which students examine various aspects of the black experience. The major consists of two core course requirements and seven area courses in the humanities and social sciences selected from the AAS Course Offering Directory, available in Minor Hall 108 or online at www.virginia.edu/woodson. The AAS program provides a solid liberal arts education as well as broad exposure to African and African-American history and culture.
Faculty The African-American and African Studies faculty comprise professors in departments Grounds-wide who teach courses directly related to topics in African-American and/or African Studies. Departmental offerings vary from year to year, but currently these departments include anthropology, art history, drama, economics, English, French, history, linguistics, music, philosophy, politics, psychology, religious studies, Slavic, and sociology. Each year, the AAS program also supports the teaching of special AAS seminars by visiting scholars.
There are approximately 50 undergraduates majoring in African-American and African studies in a given year, quite a number of whom double-major with disciplines in the humanities or social sciences. Although there are distributional requirements within the AAS major, students have a great deal of freedom in shaping the major to reflect their particular area, topical, and disciplinary interests. Students also have ample opportunity for independent study with faculty members. In addition, some students study abroad in Africa or the Caribbean through the University or other programs, and receive credit in the AAS major for such experiences. Students minoring in AAS are usually either majoring in sciences or enrolled in non-College programs (in the Schools of Architecture, Engineering and Applied Science, or Commerce).
Graduates with a degree in African-American and African studies use their interdisciplinary training and skills as a basis for a wide variety of careers. Recent graduates are pursuing professions in such fields as law, international development, teaching, social work, small and corporate business, banking, and public administration. Every year AAS majors also begin graduate training, including M.A. and Ph.D. programs in the humanities and social sciences, law school, and medical school. Consider an AAS major a springboard from which anything is possible.
Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies The Woodson Institute provides a home base and support for the AAS major. The institute is named after Virginia-born historian Carter Godwin Woodson, who played a pioneering role in the institutionalization of the study of the black experience, and founded and was editor of the Journal of Negro History from 1916 until his death in 1950. The Woodson Institute supports advanced research in black studies, every year providing pre- and post-doctoral fellowships to scholars from within and outside the University. The Woodson Fellows conduct research in African-American and/or African studies on the premises of the institute, and undergraduates should consider them a resource.