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Africana Studies

About the program

Africana Studies integrates multiple perspectives and disciplines to give students a holistic view of their subject area. The major combines courses from history, music, English, political science, religion and sociology to explore the histories of the African peoples and their descendents around the globe.

Professor John Boateng-Tawaih talks about the program at the annual Africana Studies dinner.

"The integrated nature of the Africana Studies Program sets it apart," says John Boateng-Tawaih, professor of English who will be teaching "Topics in Anglophone Literature" and "Contemporary African Literature" as part of the program.

"For years Augustana offered African American studies as a minor with other courses on Africa, the Caribbean and the Black Atlantic offered in isolation. Students now have a unique opportunity to study the lives and experiences of peoples of African descent in a global context," says Boateng-Tawaih.

The major incorporates the expertise of nearly a dozen Augustana faculty members in diverse academic areas. Boateng-Tawiah and three other faculty will lead Augustana's inaugural international studies program to West Africa in spring 2010.

Outside the classroom

  • Augustana offers more than 100 extracurricular organizations, honors clubs, and special interest groups. Several of these have been formed by African-American students for others who share or who are interested in African-American ethnicity.

The Black Student Union was founded in 1968, with the purpose of promoting pride in the history and traditions of African Americans. BSU members work to establish unity and a positive environment for African-Americans on campus, and work with other organizations to educate the Augustana community on diverse cultural traditions.

BSU sponsors or co-sponsors many events on campus, including the annual Kwanzaa celebration, the African-American Leadership Conference and other Black History Month events, the Martin Luther King Celebration, retreats, black student orientation, and a parents' banquet.

  • The Black Culture House, an on-campus center, offers space for group meetings, studying and tutoring, an African-American history library, displays of African artifacts and paintings by African-American artists.
  • The Augustana Inspirational Gospel Choir rehearses weekly, performing contemporary and traditional works from the gospel church choir repertoire. Auditions for the Inspirational Gospel Choir are open to both Augustana students and members of the Quad-City community.

Program advisors

  • John W. Hildreth, coordinator of African-American Studies; professor, Department of Music
  • David M. Dehnel, associate professor, Department of Political Science
  • Peter Kivisto associate professor, Department of Sociology
  • Paul V. Olsen, professor, Department of English
  • Lendol Calder, associate professor and chair of the History Department