African American Studies
The graduate certificate in African American Studies provides an opportunity for students to complement doctoral studies in their home department with coordinated interdisciplinary training in African American Studies while participating in an intellectually stimulating community. Students entering the program may come from any department in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Requirements for the certificate include an introductory readings course; two additional courses; participation in the yearlong Faculty-Graduate Seminar; and completion of a dissertation on a topic of significance to the field of African American Studies. Certificate requirements are designed to complement the course of study in students’ home departments. In addition to the certificate, the department’s Graduate Affairs Program sponsors programming and events throughout the academic year for graduate students at all stages with interests in African American Studies.
Students wishing to obtain a graduate certificate in African American Studies are encouraged to consult with the Director of Graduate Affairs, ideally during their first year, to plan their course of study. Formal admission to the certificate program will take place upon students’ completion of general examinations and admission to candidacy.
Interested students should contact the Director of Graduate Affairs or support staff within the Department of African American Studies.
Students cannot be admitted to Princeton University through the African American Studies Certificate Program since it is not a degree program. All graduate admissions decisions will be made through affiliated departments. The certificate does not appear on the official transcript.
Individuals' course of study should be determined in consultation with students’ home department advisers and the Director of Graduate Affairs in African American Studies. Certificate requirements include:
- AAS 500: The African American Intellectual Tradition
- Two other relevant courses in the Humanities or Social Sciences
- Participation in the Department of African American Studies’ Faculty-Graduate Seminar for one academic year
AAS 500, The African American Intellectual Tradition, is the core graduate course in African American Studies. This interdisciplinary seminar introduces students to the African-American intellectual tradition and to Black thought from the African diaspora. Reading across disciplines and genres, the seminar engages a broad set of topics and themes, including: race, racial formation and racism; slavery; empire; religion, social movements, and cultural representation. Particular attention is paid to issues of gender and class as well as race. The course presupposes a familiarity with issues in African American Studies.
(Note: Under certain extenuating circumstances, students may petition the Director of Graduate Affairs to substitute HIS 577/AAS 577: Readings in African American History for AAS 500).
In addition to AAS 500, students are required to complete two other courses in the Humanities or Social Sciences. These should be courses (a) whose contents are judged to be devoted primarily to African American Studies or to the study of race more broadly; or (b) for which they write research papers devoted to race; or (c) which are independent study topics tailored to the student’s interests in race or African American studies. Students should consult with the DGS regarding the relevance of their course work to the AAS certificate.
The dissertation is expected to center on a topic significant in African American Studies. Typically, the principal adviser for the dissertation will be a faculty member from the home department, with at least one African American Studies faculty member serving as a reader.
At the time the student receives the Ph.D. in the discipline of the home department, the chair of AAS will award the student with a letter of certification.
Additional requirements include participation for one academic year in the Department of African American Studies’ Faculty/Graduate Seminar.
This works-in-progress seminar is convened by a faculty member around a selected theme and meets bi-weekly throughout the academic year. This interdisciplinary workshop provides a forum for faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars to explore particular topics in the field of African American Studies while engaging multiple fields and methodological approaches. A paper circulates one week prior to seminar meetings. The paper’s author briefly presents his or her work before one or more graduate students offer a response, raising questions and concerns and guiding open discussion of the paper and presentation.
- Eddie S. Glaude
Director of Graduate Studies
- Ruha Benjamin
Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Naomi Murakawa
Sits with Committee
- Dannelle Gutarra Cordero
- Wendy Laura Belcher
- Ruha Benjamin
- Wallace D. Best
- Eddie S. Glaude
- Tera W. Hunter
- Chika O. Okeke-Agulu
- Imani Perry
- Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
- Joshua B. Guild
- Naomi Murakawa
- Kinohi Nishikawa
- Reena N. Goldthree
- Anna Arabindan Kesson
- Autumn M. Womack
- Jacob S. Dlamini, History
- Paul Frymer, Politics
- Simon E. Gikandi, English
- William A. Gleason, English
- J. Nicole Shelton, Psychology
- Stacey A. Sinclair, Psychology
- Keith A. Wailoo, History
- Leonard Wantchekon, Politics
- Judith Weisenfeld, Religion
- Mia Brett
- Kristina Chesaniuk
- Ijeoma Odoh
Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts
- Ayah Nuriddin
Courses listed below are graduate-level courses that have been approved by the program’s faculty as well as the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School as permanent course offerings. Permanent courses may be offered by the department or program on an ongoing basis, depending on curricular needs, scheduling requirements, and student interest. Not listed below are undergraduate courses and one-time-only graduate courses, which may be found for a specific term through the Registrar’s website. Also not listed are graduate-level independent reading and research courses, which may be approved by the Graduate School for individual students.