African Studies and the African Diaspora
Loyola's Black World Studies (BWS) program allows students to become informed and knowledgeable in dialogues concerning the historical, sociological, literary, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of black life in the U.S. and in specific African contexts. Inaugurated in 1971, the BWS minor was the first interdisciplinary program in Loyola’s College of Arts and Sciences, designed to educate individuals working in social and public service organizations who seek to enhance their awareness of racial, cultural and ethnic differences.
Although the continent of Africa has a vast history and rich culture, it faces significant challenges, including a shortage of clean water, dwindling food supplies, famine, war and disease. The BWS program provides students with an understanding of these global issues confronting African people and their descendants. BWS graduates will be prepared to address these and other human environmental crises.
Students develop an understanding of the history of enslavement of Africans in the Western Hemisphere as this history relates to current issues of race and racism in America and elsewhere. During the course of their studies, students conduct research and share their knowledge with groups that are nationally, ethnically and politically diverse. Students are also encouraged to participate in internships, service-learning experiences and study abroad opportunities. These educational activities prepare them for life in a complex, diverse world where good citizenship is to be highly valued.
The BWS degree is useful to students planning to work in social and political service organizations. Students learn to:
- Appreciate the contributions of the black world to literature, performance and the arts.
- Master the research methods traditionally used to study Africa and her scattered people and their cultures.
- Understand the impact and politics of language and culture and its use in various settings, both formal and informal.
- Understand the implications for poor and disenfranchised populations who are often the victims of a disingenuous research agenda.
- Develop critical thinking and writing skills in the discourses comprising the discipline.
- Apply the disciplinary knowledge acquired in the service of people of color and become aware of employment opportunities based on acquired disciplinary specialization.
- Recognize the significant achievements of people of color in the United States and global contexts.
- Become sensitive to and tolerant of differences with regard to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity and religion.
- Apply research methods acquired in the BWS course sequence.
- Associate with a social service or community organization or other internship opportunity.
- Demonstrate proficiency in writing through construction of a paper based on the acquired research methodology and hands-on, field study or internship experience.
- Build the capacity to become social change agents.