African and African Diaspora Studies Concentration

The Honorable Barbara Jordan (1936-1996), photographed during the Watergate hearings in U.S. Senate, 1973. Jordan was a stateswoman, Member of the U.S. Congress from the 18th District of Texas, keynote speaker for the 1976 National Democratic Convention, orator and defender of the U.S. Constitution.

"There was only one Barbara Jordan," said Eve Clayton, Representative from North Carolina, "and when she spoke—we listened. The world listened.”  

Recording: Barbara Jordan speaking on the extension of the Voting Rights Act 



The African and African Diaspora Studies Concentration offers a variety of subjects on the history, culture and structure of societies of African descent throughout the world, with special emphasis on those of the United States and the Caribbean. The purpose of the concentration is to allow students to focus critical and analytic attention on issues of concern to black communities of the Western hemisphere, to allow students to gain a wider appreciation of the dynamic nature of those communities, and to assist students to understand the historical, humanistic, political and social dimensions of ethnicity and race.

Concentration requirements: Four subjects, selected in consultation with the Concentration Advisor. A HASS Concentration may include only one subject that also counts toward the HASS Distribution Requirement. You may include more than one only if the additional subject will NOT count as a HASS Distribution subject in your degree audit.

The following subjects, offered by the various departments, programs and sections within the School of Humanities and Social Science, constitute the core of the African and African Diaspora Studies concentration:




21H.165 A Survey of Modern African History, HASS-H

21H.229 The Black Radical Tradition in America, HASS-H

21H.319 Race, Crime, and Citizenship in American Law, HASS-S

21H.358 Colonialism in South Asia and Africa, HASS-H

21H.385J The Ghetto: From Venice to Harlem [11.152], HASS-S

24.912J Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies [21H.106, 21L.008, 21W.741, WGS.190], HASS-A/HASS-H, CI-H
Can count toward Historical Studies or Humanties and the Arts, but not both.

STS.048 African Americans in Science, Technology, and Medicine, HASS-H

STS.088 Africa for Engineers, HASS-H

WGS.220J Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa, HASS-H



21A.136J/21G.326 Global Africa: Creative Cultures [21G.026J], HASS-S

21A.137J/21G.328 African Migrations [21G.028J], HASS-S

21L.007 World Literatures, HASS-H, CI-H

21L.504J Race and Identity in American Literature [WGS.140], HASS-H

21M.030 Introduction to World Music, HASS-A, CI-H

21M.226 Jazz, HASS-A,

21M.293 Music of Africa, HASS-A

21M.460 MIT Senegalese Drum Ensemble (6 units)
Must register for two semesters. These two 6-unit classes may be combined by petition to form one 12-unit HASS-Elective.

21W.742J Writing About Race [WGS.231], HASS-H, CI-H

24.912J Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies [21H.106, 21L.008, 21W.741, WGS.190], HASS-A/HASS-H, CI-H
Can count toward Historical Studies or Humanties and the Arts, but not both.

WGS.142 Narrative and Identity: Writing and Film by Contemporary Women of Color, HASS-H




11.135J Violence, Human Rights, and Justice [WGS.270], HASS-S

11.136 Global Mental Health, HASS-S

11.164J Human Rights at Home and Abroad [17.391], HASS-S

11.166 Law, Social Movements, and Public Policy: Comparative and International Experience, HASS-S

17.269 Race, Ethnicity, and American Politics, HASS-S

17.523 Ethnic Conflict in World Politics, HASS-S

17.571 Engineering Democratic Development in Africa, HASS-S

21A.135J Africa and the Politics of Knowledge [21G.025J], HASS-S

24.908 Creole Languages and Caribbean Identities, HASS-S, CI-H

WGS.225J The Science of Race, Sex, and Gender [21A.103, STS.046], HASS-S

WGS.228 Psychology of Sex and Gender, HASS-S

WGS.229 Race, Culture, and Gender in the US and Beyond: A Psychological Perspective, HASS-S


This list is not exhaustive. Relevant subjects that are no longer offered and subjects with variable topics (such as “special subjects” or “selected topics” courses, for example) may also be counted at the discretion of the concentration advisor.

[ ] Jointly listed subjects


Additional information can be obtained from the Concentration Advisor:
Professor Danielle Wood,, E14-574N, 617-253-9805.