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Black/Africana Studies Model Core Curriculum


Black/Africana Studies Model Core Curriculum



Since its inception, NCBS has endeavored to structure, clarify, and define the curricular dimensions of our discipline. Guided by the central praxis, academic excellence and social responsibility, the council has embraced a mission to produce and transmit knowledge and for the empowerment of individuals and institutions in relation to the conditions, experiences, and needs and imperatives of black communities, wherever they are found. A model Core Curriculum endeavoring to address these goals was included in the first Report of the Committee on Curriculum Standards, accepted and adopted by the Executive Board in 1980. The model outlined therein provided significant aid in the development of several programs through 1980s. Curriculum models developed in subsequent and recent years reflected the sizeable influence of Afrocentric, Diasporic, and Global perspectives in terms of both the practice and theory of the discipline in the 1990s and 2000’s. The concurrent appearance of a variety of names in the field at large to name the enterprise through this period has accompanied this process, sometimes causing concern or controversy as to various priorities within the discipline. This current articulation seeks to retain an inclusive, broadened focus, in terms of geography and perspective while also seeking to frame and characterize core elements essential to all perspectives. Emphases and approaches in the field.


The mission of Black/Africana Studies (also called African American Studies, Afro-American Studies, Pan-African Studies, Black American Studies, African Diaspora Studies) is to advance and transmit broad knowledge of the histories, cultures, and linkages among peoples of Africa and their descendants in the New World, and to provide intellectual tools to analyze, understand, and address the significant social, political, economic and humanist problems they face. The discipline rests on efforts to focus in diverse ways on several different configurations of African people, as defined by their locations, migrations and reconstructions on the continent, in the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere. While (as indicated in the various names) programs vary in defining their focus as global, continental, diasporic, or national, the model core curriculum model proposed below offers a well-demarcated yet flexible common framework for the common and the task of integrating several disciplinary perspectives to examine the historical and contemporary experiences, conditions, and aspirations of African-descendant peoples.



A model core curriculum (21-30 credits) would be comprised of the following elements:

1.      Foundation Courses (3-6 Credits) would be comprised of the following elements:

a.       Interdisciplinary Topical Survey Introduction (“Issues in the Black Experience)

b.      Introduction to the discipline (“Introduction to Africana Studies,” study of the discipline itself is also a capstone activity)

c.       Historical Introduction (African History, African-American History, etc.)

2.      Topical/Thematic Tracks (15-18 credits)

a.       Historical Investigation

African, Diasporic, African-American, Caribbean, global

b.      Cultural Production and Expression

Literature, and writing, music/dance, visual and performing arts, film, video, mass media, contemporary culture

c.       Social and Structural Analysis

Social thought, social institutions, political economy, social movement and liberation studies, social and public policy and community development, global issues and perspectives

3.      Capstone Courses and Activities (3-6) credits

Seminars, advanced studies, fieldwork, travel, internships, theory and methods studies, research projects and activities.


Beyond the core requirements, electives and area concentration courses (6-15 credits) would fill out program requirements (36-40 total credits). Courses in the three topical thematic areas should include advanced offerings where theory and methods may be incorporated. Programs may structure the distribution of requirements among core courses to emphasize on track of study and knowledge or they may offer specialization tracks (e.g., “Cultural Studies and the Arts,” “Development and Public Policy,” “Global Interconnections,” “Black Transnationalism and the African Diaspora.”) with their own specific requirements or options.


Core Curriculum Structure





Foundation Courses (3-6 Credits)


Introduction to the Discipline, Topical Survey Introduction, Historical Introduction



Topical/Thematic Tracks (15-18 credits)


Cultural Production & Expression

Historical Investigation

Social & Structural Analysis







Literature, and writing, music/dance, visual and performing arts, film, languages, linguistic studies, technology, video, mass media, contemporary culture, religion and spiritual practices

African, Diasporan African-American, Caribbean, global, regional, special topics, history surveys

Social thought, social institutions, political economy, gender and sexuality, identity and self-definition, social movement and liberation studies, social and public policy and community development, global issues and perspectives








Capstone Courses and Activities (3-6) credits


Theoretical and Methodological Studies


Seminars, Senior Theses, advanced studies, fieldwork, travel, internships, research projects and activities.

NCBS Curriculum Committee

Last Updated February, 2010

International Journal of Africana Studies
The International Journal of Africana Studies welcomes essays presenting original scholarship that systematically examines aspects of the past and present experiences, characteristics, achievements, issues, and concerns of people of African descent worldwide. Each submission must be saved as a Microsoft Word file and sent electronically, as an attachment, to IJAS@ncbsonline.org. An essay also may be sent via postal mail to Bertis English, Editor, International Journal of Africana Studies, 210 G. W. Trenholm Hall, Alabama State University, 915 South Jackson Street, Montgomery, Alabama, 36104, USA. However, the service of an outside peer reviewer will not be secured until the editor receives the electronic submission. A hard copy not accepted for publication will be returned to its author only if a self-addressed and properly stamped envelope is provided in the original parcel.

Potential articles should be doubled spaced and not exceed thirty pages including footnotes, tables, and references. Each author’s name, academic or professional affiliation, rank or title, institution or organization, electronic-mail address, and telephone number should appear on a title or cover page. No identifying information of an author should appear anywhere else on a manuscript. The Turabian approach to citing sources, as presented in the sixteenth edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (2010), is preferred. However, an author may use the current scheme of the Modern Language Association or the American Psychological Association. All footnotes must be textual rather than composed using the automatic-footnoting feature of Microsoft. Use Times New Roman, Calibri or Courier font and apply one-inch margins to the whole document. Pictures, maps, and other illustrations should not be embedded in the main text. Work published previously or that is being considered for publication in another journal, book, or online will not be accepted. Any other editorial matter should be addressed to the editor: Benglish@alasu.edu or 334.229.4368.

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National Council for Black Studies, Inc.
Promoting Academic Excellence and Social Responsibility

University of Cincinnati
Department of Africana Studies
3514 French Hall West
Cincinnati, OH 45221


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