Majoring in African American Studies (AAS)
In keeping with the Department's dual commitments to academic excellence and social responsibiltily, AAS changes the focus and broadens the vision of students in their explorations of human experience, history, literature, culture, and politics. The Department prepares students for work, life, and the realities and responsibilities of twenty-first century global citizenship through an interdisciplinary approach to liberal arts education. AAS creates learning communities characterized by introductory, advanced, and integrative forms of learning. Students have numerous opportunities to participate in first-year seminars, lectures, writing-intensive courses, undergraduate research experiences, diversity curriculum, and capstone courses and projects. Here, faculty and students work collaboratively in the democratic pursuit of greater understandings of politics, culture, social movements, and society; of knowledge, ethics, evidence, and interpretation; and of the past and present as both means and ends.
A Degree in African American Studies
A degree in AAS helps students train for successful careers and admission to leading graduate and professional programs in a variety of fields. Our majors and minors go on to fulfilling careers in law, education, business, medicine, public service, and more. The Department provides students with opportunities for intellectual growth, community engagement, research, and mentorship. Year after year, our students produce award winning and publishable scholarship, and they earn some of the nation and university’s most prestigious and competitive undergraduate scholarships, fellowships, and awards. The discipline of AAS is about more than the academy and accolades, however—it also is about applying critical knowledge and skills in ways that empower students, other members of the Emory community, and ultimately, society at large.
African American Studies at Emory University
African American Studies at Emory is the oldest undergraduate AAS degree program in the southeastern United States, and its faculty continually have played pioneering roles in the development of the field and the university. AAS students and faculty have access to unique resources and opportunities at Emory. This includes the vast African American history and culture special collections in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, & Rare Book Library as well as the programming of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race & Difference, a unique and nationally distinguished entity established at Emory by the late AAS department chair, Dr. Rudolph Byrd.
The bulk of my preparedness [for graduate school] stemmed from the rigor of the AAS program and classes. The interdisciplinary approach enabled me to think creatively about the issues we explored in class. When I declared a major in African American Studies, people asked me all the time, "What can you do with this?" Given my varied background in the fields of law, business, higher education, and technology, I wholeheartedly say, I can do anything.
- Imani Lewis, '13C