The Office of Africana Studies was first established in 1987. Every year since, it has taught a multitude of students about the history and culture of Africa and its people through classes and programs.
The office is held under the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. Students interested in the history and culture of African peoples throughout the world can opt to earn a minor in Africana Studies. The minor consists of 18 credits and is headed by James Conyers, Ph.D.
"Acquiring a minor in Africana Studies, like any degree major or minor, is both heuristic in terms of the acquisition of knowledge and practical in how the knowledge/information is applied. For students of African descent, it is a source of self-knowledge that can benefit as a guide for navigating this society and world," said Conyers on the benefits of acquiring the minor.
A minor in Africana Studies allows students to become better suited for graduate studies, international relations, Foreign Service, government work and more.
"After graduation, many employers look for people who have engaged in ethnic studies (multiculturalism). It is always beneficial for all students to learn as much about the history and cultures of others they may encounter in the workplace," said Conyers.
The minor includes three required courses:
- SOC 1000: Introduction to Sociology
- ANTH 2801: African American Culture
- HIST 3305: History of Black Americans to 1900 or HIST 3306: 20th Century Black History or HIST 2500: African History to 1885 or HIST 2510: African History Since 1885
Along with the three requirements, students can then choose three course electives to fulfill the minor. A full list of accepted course electives can be found on the Africana Studies minor guide sheet.
In addition to conducting the Africana Studies minor program, the Office of Africana Studies is also very involved with a variety of student groups on campus.
Every February, the Office of Africana Studies conducts a variety of events and programs to enrich students' understanding of Black History Month.
"This year's African History Month is inspired by the 400th anniversary of the First Africans in English America, in 1619. However, all of our programs every year are inspired by all, past and present, aspects of African history that bring light to contemporary issues facing people of African descent," said Conyers.
The office hosted four events:
- Living Beyond the Facade: Inside Health and Wealth Practices of Americans of African Descent on Tuesday, Feb. 11
- African People: Law and Order in the Age of Trump on Wednesday, Feb. 12
- African Heritage Jazz Word Concert on Wednesday, Feb. 12
- "DNA-Using it to Change My Slave Last Name" on Thursday, Feb. 13
The Office of Africana Studies also hosts the African Heritage Graduation Ceremony annually. The ceremony is open to graduating undergraduates, graduates and doctoral students, and is considered a cultural celebration, open to the whole Kean community.
This year's African Heritage Graduation Ceremony will occur Saturday, May 2 at 4 p.m. in the Wilkins Theatre. Interested students can register online and find out more information on the event's web page.
For more information on the Office of Africana Studies and its upcoming events, students can visit Cougar Link. Students can also contact the office at (908) 737- 4053 or visit them at Hutchinson, Room 103.