Minor in African and African Diaspora Studies

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 Minor Program in African and African Diaspora Studies is designed for students interested in the cultures and experiences of the peoples of African descent on the continent, or elsewhere. The goal of the minor program is to emphasize the importance of Africa and people of African descent in world cultural, economic, and social developments, and to provide a balance between language, humanistic, historical, and contemporary study. The minor includes study of economic and political systems as they reflect the African continent and areas of the African diaspora, and the histories, languages, and literatures of Africans and peoples of African descent elsewhere.

All of Africa falls within the geographical scope of the minor. A student may concentrate on a particular region or on any of the broad groupings of African cultures, such as Arabic-speaking, Anglophone, Francophone, or Lusophone Africa. Equally, a student choosing to focus on the African Diaspora may concentrate on any group of African-descended populations in the Americas. Students focusing on either principal area (Africa or the African Diaspora) must also take at least one subject which deals with the other area or with interactions between them.

The Minor Program in African and African Diaspora Studies consists of six subjects (at least three of which must be MIT subjects) arranged in four areas of study:

Area I: Language
Area II: Humanities and the Arts
Area III: Social Sciences
Area IV: Historical Studies

As with all HASS Minors, only five of the six minor subjects may be counted toward the eight-subject Institute HASS Requirement. Of these five, at most one shall count toward satisfaction of the HASS Distribution Requirement. Of the six subjects required for the minor, at least four must count only toward that minor (and not toward any other degrees, major or minor).


Click here for the latest listing of eligible subjects.


Courses offered elsewhere:

A substantial number of courses dealing with Africa and the African Diaspora are available to our students at Wellesley College, offered through their program in Africana Studies and other departments, and Harvard’s Department of African and African American Studies. Students may take relevant courses at these institutions provided they receive permission in advance from the HASS African and African Diaspora Studies Minor Advisor.

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 minor advisor.


Additional information can be obtained from the Minor Advisor:
Professor Danielle Wood, drwood@media.mit.edu, E14-574N, 617-253-9805
Or by emailing shass-ug@mit.edu.