African Studies and the African Diaspora
What is African Studies and the African Diaspora?
Loyola's African Studies and the African Diaspora (BWS) program is an interdisciplinary course of study that replaces the Black World Studies Program as of July, 2014. The acronym "BWS" will continue to apply as administrative changes progress. This web page and linked pages are in the process of being updated, so some older content may still exist.
African Studies and the African Diaspora taps a wide range of academic pursuits, intellectual methods and cultural traditions to give our majors and minors a broad perspective of African experiences – both historic, contemporary, local and global. Our students are informed and knowledgeable in dialogues concerning the socio-political, literary, cultural, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of how the African experience has influenced every aspect of the world we live in. This ranges from the history, politics and culture (among other aspects) of African countries, to the influence and lives of people in the African diaspora around the world, including black life in the United States. Numerous opportunities exist for our students to study abroad in Africa, Latin America, or the Caribbean, further enabling them to expand their international and multicultural awareness of issues relative to globalization and social justice. Internships or service-learning programs that foster experiential learning are also available. The Black World Studies program was inaugurated in 1971 as Loyola's first interdisciplinary program. It uniquely advanced the university's transformative educational mission for over four decades. As agents of social change, our students strive to apply their knowledge of the global black experience in ways that help make our world a home for all. In keeping with changes in the various disciplines that study the African and diaspora experience, in 2013 the program evolved into the new African Studies and the African Diaspora program.
What will I learn in the program?
Upon successful completion of the program, our students can recognize, identify, and appreciate the unique gifts and enriching contributions of African and African descended people, communities and countries in the areas of literature, politics, spirituality, morality, psychology, philosophy, and the arts. In service of humanity, our students are able to skillfully communicate their knowledge and values to peoples of all cultural backgrounds, nurturing within them a spirit of tolerance, accommodation, and respectful inclusion that grounds a more just, humane, and peaceful social order. Differences with regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, ethnicity, and religion are viewed and affirmed as valuable. Our students are able to reasonably discuss Africa as the cradle of humanity and civilization, locate African and African influenced culture in space and time from its earliest beginnings, and describe the varied ways in which African people’s cultural identity and gifts have come to expression across global communities for centuries. They are knowledgeable about the liberation struggles of African and diaspora communities and the inspirational impact these struggles have exerted globally on other civil and human rights movements. They understand the history of enslavement of Africans in the Western hemisphere and the European colonization of Africa as this history relates to current issues of institutional racism and social inequality in the U.S., Africa, and elsewhere. From their elevated perspective, our students view African descended peoples as actors or agents of justice rather than as helpless victims of injustice on the stage of history, recognizing that the primary reality is not what oppressors have done to blacks but what blacks have done to resist, counter, and overcome their oppressors' power to enslave, exploit, defame, and dominate.
How will I use what I learn in my career?
The program provides a unique and specialized preparation for careers in business, government, educational, non-profit, and medical fields, as well as graduate programs in the social sciences, the humanities, and professional schools.