Student smiling with a crowd of African students

Major in Africana Studies

What is an Africana studies degree?

An Africana studies degree draws on the social sciences and humanities to provide a complex, nuanced, culturally situated and shifting understanding of the meanings of “Black” and “African” identities and experiences; it pushes us to reexamine geographical boundaries and paradigms surrounding the production of knowledge about Africa and the African diaspora. Take your first steps by contacting admissions or reading more about how to apply.

Why study Africana studies at Furman?

Intentionally small classrooms give room to ask the hard questions, have honest discussions and, in the process, develop a healthy, and accurate perspective of the lived Black experience. From there, we can get to the causes of inequalities and differences that so often divide humans along racial lines. A multidisciplinary approach to Africana studies unravels the complex tangle of historical, political, cultural and economic factors that inform our understanding of Black, African and other persons of color. Plan a visit to Furman’s beautiful campus or start your application today.

How will you learn?

Sharpen your critical thinking, problem solving, and verbal and written communication skills with an Africana studies major. Global citizens are naturally drawn to the places and people for whom they are passionate. Travel to southern Africa to study the sociology of medicine, public health and global health. Every other year, some students take a full course load and travel throughout South Africa, Namibia and Botswana to add a new dimension to their understanding of health concerns and culture in the region.

Or choose a three-week, immersive May Experience, “Media and Culture in Ghana,” which explores topics such as the transatlantic slave trade, customs, traditions, gender roles, socio-economic development and media practices.

Unique to the major is the integration of the Furman University Gospel Ensemble (FUGE) as a critical element in understanding the cultural development of African descendants through music and other art forms.

Careers for Africana studies majors

  • Community developer
  • Foreign service officer
  • Historian
  • Journalist/writer
  • Media relations consultant
  • Cultural heritage site consultant, museum curator/director
  • News analyst
  • Business manager
  • Politician or civil service
  • Social worker
  • Nonprofit manager
  • Secondary education teacher or higher education professor
  • Ministry vocations
  • Banker
  • Insurance representative
  • Human resources manager
  • Publishing house staff member
  • Wine and food industry expert
  • Hospitality and tourism manager
  • Retail sales and marketing professional, customer service representative
  • Information technology or software development professional
  • Medical or health care staffer
  • Lawyer or paralegal
  • Visual and performing arts and entertainment roles
  • Non-teaching positions in higher education

Africana studies courses: What will you study?

Sample courses include:

Introduction to Africana Studies

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Africana Studies Capstone Course

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14
Average class size
59%
Furman students who study away
2021
Year Africana studies became a major

What our students say

Outside of Dining hall in the fall

"The Africana studies major allows students to learn more about the experiences, culture and history of people of African descent. I can learn more about my history and people who are like me through this major and educate others as well." – Abijah Leamon ’24

Our faculty

Your academic advisor will help you explore your passions, define your interests and achieve your goals. You’ll tap into a widespread network of community and alumni mentors to help you on your individual educational path – and to the opportunities at the end of it. Furman’s Africana studies faculty represent decades of study and expertise.

  • Omar Carmenates
    Title:

    Professor of Music, Percussion

    Omar Carmenates

    Omar Carmenates
    Title:

    Professor of Music, Percussion

    Phone Number: 8642942406

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  • Erik Ching
    Title:

    Walter Kenneth Mattison Professor, History; Director, Undergraduate Research

    Erik Chang headshot

    Erik Ching
    Title:

    Walter Kenneth Mattison Professor, History; Director, Undergraduate Research

    Phone Number: 8642942119

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  • Teresa Nesbitt Cosby
    Title:

    Professor, Politics & International Affairs

    Associate professor, Teresa Nesbit Cosby

    Teresa Nesbitt Cosby
    Title:

    Professor, Politics & International Affairs

    Phone Number: 8642942129

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  • David I. Gandolfo
    Title:

    Associate Professor of Philosophy; Undergraduate Evening Studies Faculty

    David I. Gandolfo

    David I. Gandolfo
    Title:

    Associate Professor of Philosophy; Undergraduate Evening Studies Faculty

    Phone Number: 8642943238

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  • Glen Halva-Neubauer
    Title:

    Dana Professor, Politics and International Affairs

    Glen Halva-Neubauer

    Glen Halva-Neubauer
    Title:

    Dana Professor, Politics and International Affairs

    Phone Number: 8642943608

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  • Cynthia King
    Title:

    Professor of Communication Studies

    Cynthia King

    Cynthia King
    Title:

    Professor of Communication Studies

    Phone Number: 8642943068

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  • Janet Kwami
    Title:

    Associate Professor of Communication Studies

    Janet Kwami

    Janet Kwami
    Title:

    Associate Professor of Communication Studies

    Phone Number: 8642942304

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  • Nicholas F. Radel
    Title:

    Professor of English

    Dr. Radel

    Nicholas F. Radel
    Title:

    Professor of English

    Phone Number: 8642942795

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  • Roger Sneed
    Title:

    Professor of Religion and Department Chair

    Dr. Sneed

    Roger Sneed
    Title:

    Professor of Religion and Department Chair

    Phone Number: 8642942188

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  • Claire Whitlinger
    Title:

    Associate Professor of Sociology; Program Founder, Intergroup Dialogue Program

    Claire Whitlinger

    Claire Whitlinger
    Title:

    Associate Professor of Sociology; Program Founder, Intergroup Dialogue Program

    Phone Number: 8642943697

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  • FAQ

    What can you do with an Africana studies degree?

    The multidisciplinary nature of the Africana studies degree sets you up for a multitude of career paths. Some possibilities include working as a community development specialist, foreign service officer, historian, journalist, lawyer, media relations professional, cultural heritage site consultant, museum curator or director, news analyst, business manager, politics and government analyst, social worker, nonprofit manager, secondary education teacher or higher education professor. Others may pursue ministry vocations, work as a banker or sell insurance, serve as a human resources professional or find a career in the medicine, the wine and food industry, hospitality and tourism, retail, information technology, software or performing arts and entertainment.

    What is the average salary for Africana studies majors?

    The average annual salary for graduates of African American and African studies is $62,000, according to payscale.com.

    How long does it take to earn an Africana studies degree?

    The Africana studies B.A. at Furman is a four-year program.

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