2023-2024 University Catalog 
    
    Apr 16, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog

Africana and Latin American Studies


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Division of University Studies


Faculty
Professors Baptiste, Bigenho, Etefa, Hodges, Klugherz
Associate Professors Humphrey, Page (Director)
NEH Distinguished Chair Brown
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Visiting Chair Velez-Velez

Coordinator of African American Studies and African Studies Hagos
Coordinator of Caribbean Studies and Latin American Studies Humphrey

Africana and Latin American Studies (ALST) is an interdisciplinary program that studies the histories and cultures, both material and expressive, of the peoples of Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and of African American and Latinx communities in the United States. The ALST curriculum centers Black diaspora experiences, Indigenous articulations, and transhemispheric migrations–while engaging historical and on-going structures of racism and colonialism, and anti-colonial projects of resistance within these contexts. Underpinning our curriculum is the belief that Africans, African Americans, Latin Americans & Latinxs, and the peoples of the Caribbean share historical and political experiences, as well as relationships to Blackness and Indigeneity, that provide rich opportunities for interdisciplinary and comparative studies. 

The major in Africana and Latin American studies consists of nine courses. There are three required courses: the introductory course (

 ); a 300-level course on a major concept, figure, or key knowledge producing community in Black & Latinx Studies ( ); and a 400-level capstone seminar (ALST 4XX or UNST 410). Students will choose six electives from across different disciplines according to their intellectual and professional interests. These electives may center on a particular region (i.e., Latin America, Africa, the U.S., or the Caribbean), a set of themes, or a disciplinary approach. All students are encouraged to pursue language and off campus study opportunities relevant to their interests. For majors, a maximum of two courses from a student’s second major or minors may be counted for the ALST major, with the approval of the ALST director.

The minor in Africana and Latin American studies consists of six courses:

  or  , and five electives from across different disciplines according to the student’s intellectual and professional interests. No more than one of these courses may also be counted toward a student’s major or another minor.

Substitution of other appropriate or equivalent courses, independent studies, or special study groups for the degree requirements may be possible, but must be approved by the director of Africana and Latin American Studies. Transfer courses, field study, and one-time-only courses by visiting professors can be credited toward the major or minor only with approval of the program director. A minimum average GPA of 2.00 in the courses chosen to count toward the major or minor in Africana and Latin American studies is required for graduation.

The relationship between students and their advisor is a vital one, and it is imperative that each major and minor meet with their advisor at least once a semester to assess progress toward meeting graduation requirements.

More than one Core Communities or Core Communities and Identities course may be counted toward the major or minor, but only one Core course used to meet Liberal Arts Core Curriculum requirements may also be counted toward the major or minor.


Awards

The Wangari Maathai and Nelson Mandela Award for Excellence in African Studies – awarded to a graduating senior with the highest grade point average in African studies courses. The award celebrates Wangarĩ Maathai and Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela. 

Wangarĩ Maathai was a Kenyan educator, environmentalist, and political activist who became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She was also the founder of the Green Belt Movement, a broad-based grassroots organization, whose main focus is poverty reduction and environmental conservation through tree planting. Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela was a South African lawyer, anti-apartheid activist, and political leader who served as South Africa’s first democratically-elected president (c. 1994-99). He also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

The Pauli Murray Award for Excellence in African American Studies – awarded to a graduating senior in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements in African American studies courses and their distinction as an ambassador of our program’s values. This award celebrates the legal trailblazing, intellectual life, and legacy of Pauli Murray and represents the African American Studies program’s commitment to studying the histories, cultures, and traditions of African Americans in the United States and around the world.

Rev. Pauli Murray, lawyer, author, and women’s rights activist-intellectual was the first Black person to earn a Doctorate of the Science of Law degree from Yale Law School, a founder of the National Organization for Women, and the first Black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest. As a lawyer, Murray was committed to tackling oppression in the law and legal statutes that contributed to the advancement of legislative rights and religious life. Murray’s scholarship and service addressed Murray’s acute awareness of the inequities on account of race and gender.  

Bartolina Sisa Award for Excellence in Latin American Studies – awarded to a graduating senior in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements in Latin American studies courses and their distinction as an ambassador of our program’s values.

Bartolina Sisa was an Amayra revolutionary leader who led rebellions against Spanish colonial rule in the Andean region. Today she remains a symbol of anticolonial resistance, indigenous persistence, and the defense of the land and peoples of Latin America. This award celebrates her legacy and represents the Latin American Studies program’s commitment to studying the histories, cultures and traditions of the region.

The 1804 Award for Caribbean Studies is given to a graduating senior in Caribbean Studies who has demonstrated academic excellence and a deep engagement with the program’s core values of distinction.

Upon declaring independence on January 1, 1804, Haiti became the first Black republic in the Western Hemisphere. This date not only marks the end of the long struggle against colonial rule for Haiti; it catalyzed a ripple effect across the Caribbean that would eventually result in the emancipation of millions of enslaved Africans. Today, it remains a potent symbol of the spirit of ongoing resistance and the right to self-determination and to freedom from oppression. 

The Manning Marable Award for Service – this award, named after the visionary founder of our program in Africana & Latin American Studies, will be given to a graduating senior who has contributed to the visibility of African-American, African, Caribbean and Latin American cultures on campus, through organizing, event planning, and service. Ideally, the student will have worked to forge alliances across the different components, bringing students together from across the four components and areas of study. 

Dr. Manning Marable, Colgate University’s Africana And Latin American Studies Program (ALST) program’s founding director was an esteemed public intellectual, and activist whose work was grounded in, and advanced, the Black Radical Tradition. In scholarship and early works, and culminating with his Pulitzer Prize-winning opus, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, which was published days after his death, Marable’s scholarship and intellectual commitments reflected a commitment to transnational, Afro-diasporic, collaborative democratic thought. Beginning in 1976, Marable had a nationally syndicated column “Along the Color Line” which was printed in dozens of newspapers and was fodder for public radio programs.


Honors and High Honors

Majors may graduate with honors or high honors in Africana and Latin American studies. Qualifications for honors include, at graduation, a minimum overall average of 3.00, a major average of 3.30, and a successful defense before a designated faculty committee of an honors paper or project prepared under the direction of a member of the Africana and Latin American studies faculty. The committee that evaluates the final paper will be identified by the program director in consultation with the student and the student’s faculty adviser. Prospective honors students should notify the appropriate coordinators of their intentions by the first week of October of the senior year. A student with a double major in Africana and Latin American studies and a second field may apply for honors in both areas by submitting and defending a paper in each. The paper topics may be related, but the focus and/or content of the two papers must differ substantially. Beyond the requirements for honors, high honors requires a major average of 3.7. High honors projects are usually begun in the fall of the senior year. Students who expect to qualify for honors or high honors should register for

 .


Study Groups 

Study Groups Periodically, the Africana and Latin American Studies Program has sponsored study groups in Africa, Latin America, or the Caribbean under the direction of faculty members associated with the program. Decisions on the awarding of credits are set prior to the consolidation of each study group. See Off-Campus Study  for further information about interdisciplinary study groups in Jamaica; Trinidad; and Capetown, South Africa.

Additionally, the Africana and Latin American Studies Program supports extended study groups to Cuba (

 ) and Ghana ( ). For more information, see Extended Study .


Courses

The courses listed below are offered by the ALST program. As an interdisciplinary program, select courses from other departments/programs may also count toward the ALST major and minor requirements. Use the major/minor links below to find other courses that count toward these requirements. 

Majors and Minors

    MajorMinor

    Courses

    Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Division of University Studies