African American Studies
The context of African American Studies is rooted in the initial mission of the discipline of Black Studies. Black Studies was created as an outreach of student activism on college campuses. Student activists partnered with other student organizations who were their allies as well as primarily Black faculty to have academic courses specifically addressing the historical and contemporary issues that impact African Americans. This movement worked to acknowledge and revise policies and practices that would create greater representation of Black faculty, staff, and students at the university, shift the culture of the institution to be more inclusive of its Black students and faculty, have a curriculum centered on the Black experience, and create a continuous engagement of students on college campuses and the communities they occupy. The goal of this African American Studies degree program will embody the mission of connecting the academic program with its community through embedded service-learning experiences, internships, and research that has a direct impact on the lived experiences of the people in its community.
Students are directly admissible to the African American Studies program upon their admission to Spalding University. Students who are conditionally admitted will be required to work directly with the program director to support their Student Success Plan and provide an addition to the network of supports available.
Advising is provided by the faculty members to help students sharpen their goals, select courses and access academic support services within the University. The faculty will assist students with professional school applications. In collaboration with the Writing Center and Career Development, students will also receive support on their personal statements, resume/curriculum vitae, interviewing techniques, and job placement.
The Bachelor of Arts degree in African American Studies requires a total of 120 credit hours for the degree. These hours are comprised of 52 credit hours of University Studies requirements, 45 credit hours of major courses, and 23 credit hours of general elective course. The major courses include 15 credit hours of core courses in African American Studies, 18 credit hours of course in a designated track that includes (a) a General Studies track that includes any variation of Social Science and Humanities courses in African American Studies or the affiliated courses, (b) a Policy, Law, and Criminal Justice track, (c) an Education and Socialization track, 12 major course electives, 12 credit hours of major elective courses, and 23 credit hours of general electives. Students can complete up to 60 hours of AAS and affiliated courses which allows them to pursue multiple tracks within the major. All social sciences and humanities courses are designated in the course listings below by asterisk. Major elective courses are all AAS and affiliated courses.
Students must be in good academic standing according to the guidelines outline in the University Catalog and complete all course requirements in order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies.
African American Studies Courses
AAS 201 Introduction to African American Studies*
AAS 202 The Evolution of the Black Studies *
AAS 281 African American Women*
AAS 300 African Civilizations*
AAS 301 Policing the Black Experience*
AAS 302 Color Complex of Black Women*
AAS 303 School to Prison Pipeline*
AAS 305 Rites of Passage*
AAS 306 Modern Africa*
AAS 332 Sex, Sexuality, and Motherhood*
AAS 345 Survey of African American Education*
AAS 346 Black Student Experience*
AAS 349 Praxis in African American Studies*
AAS 351 Honors Seminar in African American Studies***
AAS 385 Special Topics in African American Studies**
AAS 400 African American Studies Research Methods & Capstone*
AAS 401 African American Studies Internship***
ANTH 315 Race and Racism in American Culture*
HIST 330 Jim Crow America*
HIST 383 African American History I*
HIST 384 African American History II*
ENG 310 Special Topics in Sociocultural Linguistics**
RS 218 African American Religion**
ENG 364 African American Literature**
ANTH 305 The War on Drugs*
CJ 220 Race, Crime, and Restorative Justice*
CJR 340 Black Males in the Criminal Justice System*
SW 206 Grassroots History of US Social Welfare: An Alternative Story of Oppression, Resistance
and Social Change*
NOTE: *Counts as a Social Sciences
**Counts as a Humanities
*** Social Science or Humanities designation dependent on content of the learning experience
African American Studies Degree Requirements: 120 credit hours
University Studies (52 hours)
African American Studies Core Courses (15 hours)
African American Studies Track (18 credit hours)
African American Studies Elective Courses (12 hours)
General Electives (23 hours)
African American Core Courses (15 hours):
AAS 201 Introduction to African American Studies
AAS 202 The Evolution of Black Studies
AAS 349 Praxis in African American Studies
AAS 400 African American Studies Research Methods & Capstone (12-week course)
AAS 401 African American Studies Internship (3-6 credit hours over 6 weeks)
African American Studies Tracks (18 hours): Students must complete one of the following tracks in order to complete the bachelor’s degree in African American Studies.
General Track (18 hours):
Students will select courses from the full and affiliated African American Studies course listings to meet the 18-credit hour requirement of the general studies track. At least 6 of the 18 required credit hours must be in Social Sciences or Humanities courses in African American Studies.
Policy, Law, and Social Justice Track (18 hours):
AAS 301 Policing the Black Experience
AAS 303 School to Prison Pipeline
ANTH 305 The War on Drugs
ANTH 315 Race and Racism in American Culture
AAS 385 History and Socio-politics in Black Louisville
CJ XXX Criminal Justice Elective (CJ 220 or CJR 340 recommended)
Education and Socialization Track (18 hours):
AAS 345 Survey of African American Education
AAS 346 Black Student Experience
AAS 303 School to Prison Pipeline
ENG 364 African American Literature
RS 218 African American Religion
ANTH 315 Race and Racism in American Culture
Gender and Sexuality Track (18 hours):
AAS 281 African American Women
AAS 331 Color Complex of Black Women
AAS 332 Sex, Sexuality, and Motherhood
AAS 305 Rites of Passage
CJ XXX Criminal Justice Elective (either CJ 220 or CJR 340)
PSY XX/SW XX Psychology or Social Work Elective (upon approval of Faculty Advisor)
Student learning is assessed through a variety of measures, including objective examination, research and reflective writing, and self-assessment by the student. Students will also be assessed through the projects within the Research Methods and Capstone Course completed in the late junior/early senior year as well as their internship course. It is through these experiences students will be able to demonstrate the applicability of theories and concepts within a supportive learning environment and under the supervision of a faculty member.
Application and Student Engagement in Black Studies:
The African American Studies program at Spalding University is guided by the theoretical framework of “applied” Black Studies (also referred to as Applied Africana Studies). This framework guides the production of scholarship that is both centered and relevant to the needs and interests of people of African descent. In this respect, students are required to not only engage in scholarship that provides analysis of social issues within Black communities, but also work directly in these communities. Each student must complete an approved internship showcasing this direct community interaction.
Students are encouraged to be actively engaged within the classroom and most importantly to connect with other majors and minors within African American Studies outside of the classroom. These identified points of engagement enhance the overall student experience as well as their success as a student and their ability to transition their knowledge and skills into their work upon graduation. These experiences include, but are not limited to:
Ankh Maat Wedjau Honor Society: Through the National Council of Black Studies, eligible students will be annually nominated by African American Studies faculty and African American Studies affiliated faculty to the Ankh Maat Wedjau Honor Society. The purpose of this honor society is the promotion of scholarly study, research, publication and other scholarly activity in the field of Africana Studies among students at academic institutions, and among academic professionals in the field of Africana studies.
• Students nominated must be a major or minor in Africana Studies, Pan-African Studies or Black Studies, etc.
• They must have maintained a 3.5 grade point average (or an equivalent letter grade) in their Africana Studies coursework.
• They must have a 3.0 grade point average overall in all course work undertaken.
• Students must have completed a minimum of 60 semester credits or its equivalent and have undertaken a minimum of 12 semester units (or its equivalent) in their Africana Studies major or minor.
• Must be a member of NCBS.
• Must complete an application by the deadline submitting the required information and $25.00 induction fee.
Black Student Alliance (BSA): This is a recognized student organization with mostly an undergraduate Spalding student membership. The purpose of this organization is to embrace the African American experience through educating others on the African American experience, and work to improve the experience of students of color at Spalding. They offer a number of programs and events that work to create an inclusive environment for Black students and their allies that includes #ForTheCulture, an orientation for Blacks and students of color coming to Spalding University.
Elmer Lucille Allen Student Conference: This annual conference is named in honor of Elmer Lucille Allen who is a Spalding University alum with a legacy of being a trailblazer throughout the span of her life. This conference highlights the scholarship and activism of students taking African American Studies courses and/or working to expand the scholarly and community-centeredness of the African American experience. This event is offered each year in February as a signature event during Black History Month.
Sowing Seeds with Faith Program
The Sowing Seeds with Faith Program is based in Louisville and serves as a community driven summer tutorial program that addresses all levels of academic inquiry for youth K-12. In the summer of 2021, the program partnered with the African American Studies program for their 8-week program. One Spalding graduate in African American Studies and one Spalding student in African American Studies were hired to teach African American Studies to 120 Jefferson County Public School students. The curriculum that was taught was created and developed in the African American Studies program courses. In the process of the course development, it was proposed to establish a way for the 11th grade students to take apply Spalding credit to their completion of the class.