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African-American Studies

Tobin Miller Shearer, Program Director

African-American Studies at the University of Montana connects African and African-American (including Latin America and the Caribbean) history, experiences, and perspectives with the 21st century. The goal of the African-American Studies curriculum is to develop basic knowledge of, and appreciation for, the diverse experiences of the African Diaspora, and their contributions to the nations into which they were incorporated. Through this study students will recognize that the African-American narrative connects to the core issues of nation formation, identity politics, social movements, and the liberal state.  Those who take this minor will likewise be equipped to talk alongside, through, and in the midst of the racial fracture lines that mark this nation as a country where the color of one's skin is socially significant. In all these efforts, we promote scholarship that is driven first and foremost by an interest in creating knowledge and furthering our understanding of the African-American experience.  The interdisciplinary curriculum of African-American Studies includes course offerings from the following academic disciplines: anthropology, economics, English, geography, history, music, political science, and sociology.  Some topics of study include: African heritage and cultural continuity among African-Americans; African-American identity issues and cultural variation; the history of African-American protest and resistance, including the abolitionist, anti-lynching, and civil rights movements; the Harlem Renaissance; the social dynamics of integration and segregation; and the various circumstances of, and prospects for, African Americans in the 21st century.

Requirements for a Minor

The African-American studies minor is an interdisciplinary program requiring twenty-four (24) credits drawn from a combination of disciplines-history, anthropology, English, sociology, geography, economics, and political science.

  1. African-American Core Courses 
    9 credits required from the following: 
    • AAS/HSTA 141H Introduction to African-American Studies
    • AAS/HSTA 342H African-American History to 1865
    • AAS/HSTA 343H African-American History Since 1865

    6 credits required from the following electives, 3 of which must be in an upper division course (i.e. 300 or 400 level):

    •      AAS 191 Special Topics
    •      AAS Discovering Africa
    •      AAS 260 African Americans and Native Americans
    •      AAS/HSTA 262 Abolitionism: The First Civil Rights Movement
    •      AAS 291 Special Topics
    •      HSTA 327 The Rise and Fall of Atlantic World Slavery
    •      AAS 372 African-American Identity
    •      HSTA 347 African-American Religious Experience: Voodoo, Muslim, Church
    •      AAS 391 Special Topics
    •      AAS/HSTA 415 The Black Radical Tradition
    •      AAS/HSTA 417 Prayer and Civil Rights
    •      HSTA 420 America Divided, 1848-1865
    •      AAS 491 Special Topics
  2. Electives
    • 9 credits required from the following courses.  At least two of the courses must be from different disciplines: 
    • Anthropology
    •      ANTY 122S Race and Minorities
    •      ANTY 349 Social Change in Non-Western Societies
    •      ANTY 330X Peoples and cultures of the world
    • Economics
    •      ECNS 217X (ECON 350) Economic Development
    • English
    •      LIT 343 (ENLT 337) African-American Literature
    •      LIT 420 (ENLT 421) Critical Theory
    • Geography
    •      GPHY 243X (GEOG 207S) Africa
    • History
    •      HSTR 262 (HIST 283H) Islamic Civilization: The Classical Age
    •      HSTA 344 (HIST 362) African-American Struggle for Equality
    •      HSTA 361 (HIST 361H) The American South: From Slavery to Civil Rights
    •      HSTA 382 (HIST 363H) History of American Law
    •      HSTR 388 (HIST 388H) Africa to 1880
    •      HSTR 409 (HIST 409) History of Southern Africa
    •      HSTA 418 (HIST 470) Women and Slavery
    •      HSTA 419 (HIST 471) Southern Women in Black and White
    •      HSTA 420 America Divided, 1848-1865
    •   Modern Languages
    •     FRCH 391 (FREN 395) Special Topics: African-American Literature
    • Music
    •      MUSI 130L (MUS 132L) History of Jazz
    • Political Science
    •      PSCI 326H (PSC 326H) Politics of Africa
    • Sociology
    •      SOCI 220S(SOC 220S) Race, Gender and Class
    •      SOCI 325 (SOC 325) Social Stratification
    •      SOCI 443 (SOC 322) Sociology of Poverty
  3. Exit Interview                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        All minors must meet with the AAS coordinator to discuss their experience and primary learning from the program prior to graduation 
  4. Honors Designation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Students may elect to achieve an honors designation by writing a twenty-five-page research paper in which they develop an argument based on their class learning about a fundamental problem in the study of the African-American experience as part of a three-credit independent study.


R- before the course description indicates the course may be repeated for credit to the maximum indicated after the R. Credits beyond this maximum do not count toward a degree.

African-American Studies (AAS) - Course Descriptions

141H, 191, 208H, 260, 262, 291, 342H, 343H, 347, 372, 391, 396, 409, 415, 417, 420, 495, 496, 562



George Price, Ph.D., University of Montana, 2006

Tobin Miller Shearer, Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2008 (Director)

Emeritus Professor

Ulysses S. Doss, Ph.D., The Union Institute, 1974

Registrar's Office

Lommasson Center 201

Phone: (406) 243-2995

Fax: (406) 243-4807