Vincent Odamtten specializes in African, Caribbean and African-American literatures.
As an Africana studies major you will explore the field’s central questions and debates in a transdisciplinary and cross-cultural department.
About the Major
As an Africana studies student you may get a chance to spend a summer doing research with a professor or earn a fellowship to pursue your own academic work abroad for a year after graduation.
I think when most people ask me what I majored in they expect me to talk about my career plans. For me, though, Africana studies was really a ‘re-education.’ I cannot stress enough the importance, for both Black and non-Black people, of having language to recognize and critique racist systems.
C. Jana Prudhomme — Africana studies major
Students focus on five geographic areas – Africa, the Caribbean, the U.S., Latin America and Europe – and the links between them, taking cross-listed courses in anthropology, classics, English, government, history and other disciplines. Africana studies faculty and students come from a wide range of racial and ethnic backgrounds, bringing to the classroom a diversity of experiences, perspectives and disciplinary strengths.
The department began in the mid-1980s in response to students who pressed for a space within the academy to explore issues of race and the lives of people of Africa and the African diaspora.
Careers After Hamilton
- Volunteer, U.S. Peace Corps
- Financial Analyst, Lazard Capital Markets
- Architectural Designer, Coyle & Associates
- Foreign Services Officer, U.S. Department of State
- Program Coordinator, Posse Foundation
- Editorial Assistant, EPIX
- Teacher, Bronx Academy of Letters
Black Spaces 130
Study of black lives and struggles in particular places, and as intrinsic to the Western world. Explores iconic representations and knowledge of black social life and how these are contested in narrative and visual (artistic) expressions; what we are taught to see, and to ignore; the tension and play between ideas we inherit from the outside, and our inner worlds. Topics include representation, resistance, imperialism, violence, racialization, social erasure, subjectivity, power, and art. Writing-intensive.View All Courses
Understanding Caribbean Carnival 140S
Introduces the Carnival tradition in the Caribbean, examining the rise of Carnival from its slavery and post-emancipation roots; the political and historical dynamic associated with Carnival customs; the complex cultural expressions forged by Carnival’s unique mix of folklore and religion including vodun, dance and dress styles, satire and musical forms like reggae and calypso; the interrelations between the economic and cultural products created by Caribbean peoples, and the spread, content and impact of modern Carnival to large North American cities.View All Courses
History of Jazz to the 1950s 160
A study of jazz from its origins (its African heritage, blues and ragtime) to 1950. A survey of jazz styles, including New Orleans and Chicago styles, boogie-woogie, swing, bebop and cool jazz.View All Courses
Gender, Space and Identity in the African Diaspora 224S
This course examines how racialized and gendered identities are made in relation to space. How does gender intersect with race, class and other power relations embedded in the places we live? How do women and men come to occupy different places in the world – literally and figuratively – or occupy the same places in different ways? Case studies focus on identity making in relation to the body and the course more broadly focuses on the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity as matrices of social and structural power relations and hierarchies. Writing-intensive.View All Courses
Black Popular Culture 303S
Examines black popular culture of the African diaspora through an exploration of a series of representations, cultural practices and folk traditions. Participants will interrogate the "black experience" and its legacy in aspects of consumer culture, film, music (jazz, hip hop, blues), television, social class and gender. Considers the methodological and theoretical implications of these approaches for both anthropological inquiry and Africana studies. Writing-intensive.View All Courses
Ancient Egypt 374
A study of the history of ancient Egypt and of its interaction with other ancient African kingdoms, including Nubia, Kush and Punt. Examination of Egypt’s prehistory, language, social and gender relations, and cultural development.View All Courses
Connections and Careers
How Africana Studies Shaped My Growth as a Black Person