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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 list of courses posted, on-line at http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/woodson/courses/index.html. 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 American Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Drama, English, French, History, Linguistics, Media Studies, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Women, Gender & Sexuality. Each year, the AAS program also supports the teaching of special AAS seminars by post-doctoral fellows and visiting scholars.
Between 70 and 75 undergraduates major in African-American and African Studies in a given year, many of whom double major in 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. 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.
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, social sciences, education, law, and, medicine.
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. He founded the Journal of Negro History in 1916, which he edited until his death in 1950. Under his leadership, Negro History Week (now Black History Month) was inaugurated. 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.