Africana Studies

We are an integral part of Luther's mission to move students "beyond immediate interests and present knowledge into a larger world." Our department expands students' knowledge and appreciation of the histories, literatures, and cultures of Africana peoples. We do this while promoting the liberal arts values of the college - critical thinking and inquiry, effective writing, breadth and depth of knowledge within the major, and the development of commitments to justice and service.

In all our courses, the Africana Studies faculty will help you discover new ways of conceiving the world by focusing on the experiences and knowledge of the people of Africa and the African Diaspora. If you were to take a course with us, you might read a tale of adventure and heroism from ancient Mali that each generation retells to understand their identity. Or maybe you will watch and discuss Blaxploitation Films of the 1970s that reinforced some stereotypes even while they exploded others. Or you could begin to understand how contemporary issues of mass incarceration in America are rooted in decisions made before the Civil War. Or you could listen to jazz and gospel in order to debate the role of music in the Civil Rights Movement.

Like Africana Studies programs at colleges and universities nationally, the Africana Studies program at Luther College as consistently emphasized the critical link between intellectual rigor and social responsibility. Such a holistic way of educating students occurs in the classroom, in relationships we build with students through mentoring, and in extracurricular events and programming such as the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture and Black History Month Conference.

Each January we offer compelling study abroad courses in such places as Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. In addition, a number of our majors study in Africa for a semester, often with the opportunity to do original research. Students consistently tell us that their time in Africa - whether a month or a semester - is one of their most rewarding college experience.

Luther College's goals for student learning include knowledge, abilities, and values and its mission statement emphasizes preparing students to "serve with distinction for the common good." Thus, in the ways in which the Africana Studies Department educations the student as a whole person, we manifest and reinforce the core goals and values of Luther College. We see our vocation in education students about the histories, cultures, and literatures of the peoples of the African Diaspora as a joyful calling.

Major/Minor in Africana Studies

We offer a major and a minor in Africana Studies, and encourage students to combine their work in Africana Studies with another major or minor in one of Luther's many academic disciplines. A student interested in legal work or international relations might choose, for instance, to double-major in Africana Studies and history. Another student interested in a career in community service may choose to major in social work and minor in Africana Studies.

Africana Studies graduates enter the work force or graduate school with a global perspective, an appreciation of diversity, and strong skills in critical thinking and effective writing.