Africana Studies Program

Geographical and Interdisciplinary Scope

The Atlantic slave trade resulted in the largest forced migration in human history. It altered every civilization which came in contact with the traffic, including those in Africa. The rise of empires involved in the trade—including Portugal, Britain, France, Spain, and later, the United States—transformed the globe and the course of modern history.

At its core, Africana Studies is the study of the historical, cultural, and political legacies left by this world-changing event.  However, Africana Studies gives central attention to the study and perspectives of communities within the African diaspora, from the U. S., the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe to Africa and the Middle East. For example, students might study Ghanaian Independence, the rebuilding of New Orleans, Caribbean literature, Afro-Latin history or race and the law in the U.S. The program’s geographical scope will also help prepare students for the challenges of an increasingly global world.

The Africana Studies Program at GW promotes an interdisciplinary, comparative course of study. Students are introduced to methodology from core areas of the humanities and social sciences, such as history, sociology, literature and anthropology. Many of these students have gone on to advanced study and careers in a wide array of fields, including public policy, medicine, international affairs, history, education, literature, communication, law, and ethnic studies.