or Afro-American Studies or Africana Studies or Black studies. WhatEVER! The discipline has different names at different institutions. That was my undergraduate major (techinically African and African-American Studies). When I decided to major in Afam (as we called it), people questioned my choice. “What are you going to do with that? Be a teacher?” and they belittled the work that I did. “Oh, that’s the easy major. That’s the one all the atheletes choose.” My response: “Negro, please.”
I actually think that’s kind of rude and pretty ignorant. While the discipline of Afam Studies is fairly new in relation to English Literature and not as clear a path to a particular career like Computer Science, that doesn’t mean that it’s just some bullshit major. I chose Afam after taking some classes in the department. I was really intrigued and figured I’d do better in school if I majored in something that was actually interesting. Prior to that, I was a journalism major with a minor in French.
I was in the Dunkin’ Donuts the other day and overheard two folks discussing Black Studies (as they called it). They were grad students. The girl voiced her frustration with people discounting Black Studies as just a “program” at the school. She referred to it as a discipline and went on about it being a legitimate piece of academia, even moreso important because of its activist component. What she meant was, not only does Black Studies foster academic growth and discussion like any other discipline, but it kind of calls for its students to put what they learn into practice or invest their intellectual capital back into the community. At least that has been my experience.
At Carolina, the mission of the African/African American Studies Department is as follows: Continue reading