Africana Studies, B.A.


Africana Studies Program

De Anna Reese, Coordinator
Science I  Building, Room 182
FAX: 559.278.7268

Degrees and Programs Offered

BA in Africana Studies, B.A.
MN in Africana Studies, Minor

The Africana Studies program (AFRS) at California State University, Fresno offers an interdisciplinary curriculum that illuminates the connectedness of the human experience and provides culturally-appropriate knowledge and skills. This helps students understand the experiences of African peoples all over the world and other ethnic groups in the United States. The program also involves its faculty and students in research, experiential learning, career counseling, computer technology, curriculum development, conference participation, and extended day, evening, and weekend courses.

The program offers interdisciplinary courses leading to the Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies as well as minors in Africana Studies and Ethnic Studies. Students with a B.A. in Africana Studies can pursue a master's or doctoral degree in the humanities, social sciences, or health sciences. Students can also seek other professional degrees in such areas as business, human resources, teacher education, and law. The program teaches appreciation for the heritage of African peoples and their contributions to the shaping of the fabric of American life and history.

Africana Studies emphasizes the study of the history and culture of African Americans as they relate to the experiences of Africans on the continent and other peoples of African descent in the Diaspora. The major in Africana Studies provides an epistemological basis for understanding issues that pertain to the experiences of African peoples and other minority ethnic groups in the American society. The curriculum promotes an awareness of the African heritage of African Americans and others throughout the Americas. Opportunities are provided for students to engage in study abroad and service-learning in Africa and the Caribbean to stimulate intellectual interest in, and linkage to, contemporary Africa and the African Diaspora while enhancing global understanding of the varied social realities of the human experience.


Africana Studies

AFRS 1. Ethnic Experience

Examines the experiences of various ethnic minorities in the U.S., addresses the issue of race as it affects ethnic formation, analyzes public policy and ethnic experience, discusses the comparable idealogies of race and gender, and evaluates culture and ethnic experience.

Units: 3

AFRS 10. Introduction to Africana Studies

A survey course designed to introduce students to the vast array of scholarship defining the African American experience as they relate to the experiences of Africans on the continent and other peoples of African descent in the Diaspora. (Formerly AFAM 10).

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall
GE Area: D3

AFRS 15. Slavery and the American Experience

A survey course examining the role of slavery in the economic, political and social development of the United States from the founding of the colonies through the revolutionary period to the civil war and beyond.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring
GE Area: D3

AFRS 20. Critical Thinking About Race

This course uses critical thinking skills to discuss, analyze, and critique centuries-old ideas on race/ethnicity and the social policies that were enacted to promote prejudice and discrimination against minorities with a special focus on peoples of African decent and American Indians.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
GE Area: A3

AFRS 21. Gospel Choir

(Same as Music 102GC) Performance of a variety of inspirational songs reflecting the African American cultural experience. Participation through rehearsals, activities, programs, and field trips.

Units: 1, Repeatable up to 99 units
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

AFRS 24. African American Music

The origin and evolution of African American music from the perspective of social and cultural history. Emphasis on slave songs, gospel, jazz, rhythm and blues, and soul music.

Units: 3

AFRS 27. Africana Cultures and Images

Introduction to the historical and contemporary experiences of African Americans and other peoples of African descent. Examines historical and social arrangements implicated in the experiences and the images these arrangements construct both in the United States and around the world. G.E. Breadth D3. (Formerly AFAM 27)

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
GE Area: D3

AFRS 35. Art and Music of Africa

Comprehensive study of African artistry and music.

Units: 3

AFRS 36. Contemporary African Societies

Analysis of the cultural and political structure of African societies; understanding the impact of colonialism in Africa; realizing the relationship of African Americans to Africa.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall

AFRS 38. Sociology of the Black Experience

Basic principles sociology and their application to the black experience. This introductory course utilizes the sociological approach to seek an understanding of the various experiences of black people in society. Involves participant observation, interviewing, and field trips. (Formerly AFAM 38).

Units: 3

AFRS 55T. Topics in African American Studies

Selected topics at the introductory level in African American Studies.

Units: 1-3, Repeatable up to 9 units

AFRS 56. The African American Family

Deals with the origin, development, and adaptations the African American family has created to sustain itself as a viable institution. Emphasis is on problems encountered and created by the American society and how the African American family handles these adversities.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall

AFRS 60. Introduction to African American Theatre

Study and practice in performance of African American drama and oral interpretation projects. Class will include poetry reading; dance performances; dramatic interpretations; comedic sketches. Previous experience not required.

Units: 3

AFRS 102A. African Dance

Focuses on the history of African dance in the United States, uses of dance among Africans/African Americans. Activities include dance techniques; imagery/visualization, dance exercises; simple constructive rest techniques; African dance step techniques preparatory for advance class. (2 lecture, 2 activity hours)

Units: 3

AFRS 104W. Writing About American Inequality

Prerequisite: satisfactory completion (C or better) of the ENGL 5B or ENGL 10 graduation requirement. Analysis of poverty, social class, and inequality in America. Students receive feedback in preparing papers on poverty and inequality. Emphasis on research techniques, evaluation and documentation of evidence, and style and mechanics of writing. Meets the upper-division writing skills requirement for graduation. (Formerly ETHS 104W)

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

AFRS 121. Gospel Choir

(Same as Music 102GC) Performance of a variety of inspirational songs reflecting the African American cultural experience. Participation through rehearsals, activities, programs, and field trips.

Units: 1, Repeatable up to 99 units

AFRS 129. African American Literary Classics

Prerequisite: G.E. Foundation and Breadth Area C. Discussion and written analyses of significant poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction by African American writers representing a variety of views and perspectives. Historical and social contexts of literary works. G.E. Integration IC.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
GE Area: IC

AFRS 130T. Topics in Ethnic Studies

In-depth research and writing on the past and contemporary situation of America's major ethnic minorities.

Units: 1-3, Repeatable up to 6 units

AFRS 135. The African American Community

Analysis of the various lifestyles and cultural patterns of African American communities. Emphasis on unique cultural features of the family, religion, foods, music, art, and folkways. (Formerly AFAM 135)

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall

AFRS 137. African American Women

(AFRS 137 same as WS 137.) An overview of the accomplishments of African American women in the United States; their contributions to American culture; African influence; African American women as defined by a dominant soceity vs. legitimate definition designed to encourage a positive self-concept.

Units: 3

AFRS 139. The African American Experience: Black Men and the Search for Self-Liberation

In this course, we will study the history of Black men, Black masculinity, and representations of Black men in media over the last century.. We will explore Black men's relationships with Black women, the State, and to other Black men. (Formerly AFRS 130T).

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall

AFRS 140. The African American Church

History of the formation and development of African American religious institutions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) in the African American community; their effect on the African American personality.

Units: 3

AFRS 142. Hip Hop Culture

Analysis of the pre-history, formal advent, and subsequent cultural development and expansion of Hip-Hop primarily in Africana communities. Examines how Hip-Hop's history, politics, and economics in America shapes Africana gender identities, political sensibilities, and cultural worldviews. (Formerly AFRS 55T).

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring

AFRS 144. Race Relations

Prerequsites: G.E. Foundation and Breadth Area D. Analysis of the moral and intellectual issues surrounding the attitudes of whites toward blacks and other racial groups in the United States and elsewhere. Explores the functions of race relations and the social life that developed among non-white groups themselves. (Formerly AFAM 144)

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring
GE Area: ID

AFRS 145. Life and Times of Martin Luther King Jr.

Explores Dr. King's leadership in the nonviolent movement for racial equality and human dignity, from the Montgomery Bus Boycott to King's assassination (1955-68). Emphasis on philosophy, ideology. Format: lectures, films, slides, recorded speeches, and discussion.

Units: 3

AFRS 146. Law and the Minority Community

Critical analysis of the foundation and changing structure of law and legal institutions as perceived by minority communities, with emphasis on equal employment and education, criminal justice, and political power.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring

AFRS 148. Issues in the African American Community

Prerequisite: AFRS 10 or permission of instructor. In-depth, comprehensive, critical analysis of the current social and economic structure of the African American community. Examination of the effects of institutional racism on current social policy.

Units: 3

AFRS 150. South Africa

Prerequisites: G.E. Foundationand Breadth Aread D. An introductory analysis of the social, racial, political, and economic problems of people of South Africa, both past and present. G.E. Multicultural/International MI.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring
GE Area: M/I

AFRS 164. African Cultural Perspectives

This course explores the realities of the African cultural experiences through readings and films by Africans. The goal is to study the historical, political, economic, religious, and socio-cultural conditions of the continent in the pre-colonial, colonial, and postcolonial periods.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall
GE Area: M/I

AFRS 165. African-American Theatre

(DRAMA 187 same as AAIS 165.) Performance, scene development, and dramatic styles consistent with the African American experience. Exploration of cross-cultural aesthetics as they inform creative development. Development of self-written or published scenes and plays. (Formerly AFAM 165)

Units: 3, Repeatable up to 6 units

AFRS 178. History of African Americans

(HIST 178 same as AFRS 178.)

Units: 3

AFRS 189. Fieldwork in Community Relations

Supervised field observation, participation, and documentation in the operation of minority communities.

Units: 3, Repeatable up to 6 units
Course Typically Offered: Spring

AFRS 190. Independent Study

See Academic Placement -- Independent Study. Approved for RP grading.

Units: 1-3, Repeatable up to 6 units
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

AFRS 191. History of Allensworth

An examination of the historical development of the African American town of Allensworth from its status as a town to its existence as a state historic park. Students will be exposed to various academic disciplines through lectures and a field trip to the park.

Units: 1
Course Typically Offered: Spring


Africana Studies, Major Requirements

Major requirements (33 units)
Lower-division requirements (12 units)
AFRS 10, 15, 27 or 36; SOC 125 or PLSI 90

Upper-division requirements (15 units)
AFRS 137, 104W, 144, 150 or 164, 189 (3 units)

Approved Africana electives (6 units)
Consult your academic adviser for approval.

General Education requirements (51 units)

Electives and remaining degree requirements (36 units)*
(See Degree Requirements); it is recommended that units in this area be utilized to complete a second major or minor.

Total units (120)

* This total indicates that AFRS 1 in G.E. Breadth D3 also may be applied to the Africana Studies major. Consult the program coordinator for additional details and guidance on electives.

Advising Note

No General Education Integration or Multicultural/International course offered by the Africana Studies Program may be used to satisfy the General Education requirements for Africana Studies majors.

Double B.A. Major in Africana Studies

A double B.A. major in Africana Studies will consist of 33 units, of which 24 units will be in Africana studies. Fifteen units of the 24 units must be upper division. Units can be double counted. Students are strongly encouraged to see an Africana Studies academic adviser for assistance in planning the major.


The AFRS Program is made up of faculty with backgrounds and expertise in Africana history, literature, cultural studies, music, and theatre. Professors have written books and published in prestigious national and international peer reviewed academic journals and anthologies. They are also the recipients of numerous awards for teaching, research, and community service.

For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.

For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.


Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies

A Roadmap identifies the specific set of courses students must complete in their major in sequential order. Information on corequisites or prerequisites is listed along with other pertinent information to assist students in completing courses towards the major.

Click here for roadmap.

Please note: Roadmaps are not a guarantee of course availability.

If you are looking for archived roadmaps, please click here.


African-American students and their families at graduation ceremonies

Africana Studies uses an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective to illuminate the connectedness of the human experience and provide culturally-appropriate knowledge and skills necessary to understand the experiences of African peoples all over the world and American Indians in the United States.

We seek to build bridges across similar “Ethnic or Interdisciplinary” programs at Fresno State (eg., Armenian Studies, Asian-American Studies, Chicano and Latin American Studies, Women’s Studies) as well as other traditional academic disciplines (e.g., Anthropology, History, Social Work, Economics, Geography, Sociology, Theater Arts, etc.) that provide knowledge and skills needed to understand the institutional arrangements and cultural constructions as they affect the contemporary American experience of race and ethnicity.

What You Can Earn

Social Worker - $48,562 (in our region)

Campus Recruiter - $60,602 (in our region)

estimations calculated at as of March 2012

Interesting Classes You Might Take

  • Ethnic Experience
  • Critical Thinking About Race
  • American Indian History
  • Art and Music of Africa

What You Can Learn

  • Appreciation for the heritage of African peoples and American Indians and their contributions to the shaping of the fabric of American life and history
  • Historical and contemporary experiences of African Americans
  • Current problems of American Indians and Arctic Natives

About the College

The College of Social Sciences studies the human experience, including the depth of the past and the breadth of the entire planet.

We place emphasis on learning practical skills to aid you in your career. Our students do internships, participate in archaeological digs, or do service-learning projects with a non-profit agency. Students can assist on research projects or organize a social change project.

Whatever a student's major, they enjoy our witty and talented faculty and our caring staff as they discover our social world.

College Contact Information

Phone: (559) 278-3013
FAX: (559) 278-7664

5340 N. Campus Drive MS/SS91
Fresno CA 93740-8019

Department Contact Information

Mailing Address: 2555 E. San Ramon M/S SB 69 
Fresno CA 93740-8034

Mail Stop: M/S SB69

Location: Science 182

Phone: 559.278.2832 
Fax: 559.278.7268