Why Pursue Africana Studies?

People of African descent make up 17.5% of the world’s population. They have given this planet extraordinary intellectual, cultural, and scientific achievements. Yet their history and contributions remain understudied in our schools. Africana Studies emerged out of this need to have the history and culture of Africana peoples explored in a direct way. Join us in exploring perspectives that are outside of the norm. Discover why race is a powerful component of identity and the crux of conflict throughout the world.

Why Pursue Africana Studies at Luther?

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 understanding 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 nation-wide, the Africana Studies program at Luther College has 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 experiences.

Join students passionate about fighting systemic oppression and promoting social justice. Our students are active in on-campus debates about making Luther as inclusive as it can be. Our graduates go on to work in international development, public health, university administration, education, and US based non-profits.

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 workforce or graduate school with a global perspective, an appreciation of diversity, and strong skills in critical thinking and effective writing.