College of Arts & Sciences

Africana Studies Program

Why Africana Studies?

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Mission Statement for Africana Studies

Africana Studies is an interdisciplinary program that offers students an opportunity to explore the historical and contemporary circumstances of those in continental Africa and its Diaspora, and the larger cultures of which they are a part.  As part of this endeavor, the program stresses the importance of understanding the intersecting roles of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and culture in assessing the similarities and differences in experiences throughout the Diaspora.  Many of the courses focus on Black populations in the US.  However, course offerings also focus on continental Africa and its Diaspora more broadly.  Additionally, while some courses focus on a specific group or region, other courses offer a comparative perspective that examines different regions or groups in the Diaspora.  Africana Studies also recognizes the contributions of those allies outside the Diaspora who helped shape their experiences throughout the world.  

In line with the community-oriented philosophy that serves as the foundation for many populations in the Diaspora, and is best expressed by the saying “It takes a village to raise a child,” the minor serves to prepare students of all backgrounds to be effective participants in our increasingly diverse global community.  Catholic social teaching has repeatedly spoken out in support of the dignity of each human person.  It has also emphasized the importance of the common good and of community; focused on the principle of solidarity; highlighted an emphasis on God’s preferential concern for the poor and powerless; lifted up the rights of working persons, urged us toward solidarity with all peoples, and reminded us of the importance of stewardship for the good of creation and of one another.   

The Africana Studies program complements the mission of Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) by calling students to a deeper understanding of truth, justice, and the common good.  Additionally, this program enhances the solidarity among students by providing them with a deeper understanding and appreciation for each other's respective cultures and histories.

The Africana Studies program complements the mission of SJU by calling students to a deeper understanding of truth, justice, and the common good.  This program enhances the solidarity among students by providing them with a deeper understanding and appreciation for each other's respective cultures and histories.

Saint Joseph’s is a community that emphasizes moral and intellectual development.  We stress the importance of being “men and women for others.”  Being for others requires a deepening knowledge of self and others.  The Africana Studies Program is one among many at SJU that gives the students an opportunity to challenge their assumptions about others and to discover their own process of identity-formation in relation to others.  Like SJU in general, the purpose of the program is to enhance critical dialogue, create and encourage solidarity, and ultimately to make a contribution to transforming a world permeated with group conflict and struggle into a world of peace, community, brotherhood, and sisterhood.