The black world studies major is designed to enable students to demonstrate a deep understanding of black world experience, culture, societies, life, history, and philosophies. Students must also be able to grasp, analyze, and synthesize the various applicable texts used or recommended by disciplines that are included in the major.
Black world studies is the study of “blackness” both within and without geographic, temporal, spatial, political, and/or ethnic boundaries. Blackness is defined as an evolving set of constructs that elucidate key elements of African diasporic history and culture through utilization of wide-ranging academic disciplines. This approach moves in concert with contemporary scholarly trends that seek to situate black world studies in a broader international scope. Dominican’s international relations and diplomacy program and the civic mandate exemplified in Dominican’s commitment to service learning link to black world studies in a variety of significant ways. For example, the global examples of blackness brought to the forefront of black world studies parallel the unique challenge of black identity in a global environment. Thus, students who elect this major or choose selected courses are prepared to engage in a number of post-graduate options that contribute to enhancing global cultures and identities, not unlike other university programs. The choice of the name “black world studies” over Africana, African, or African-American studies is a reflective one that embodies its global parameters. It is designed to engage themes such as Atlantic history or culture; a revision of themes of culture; and contact between Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Black world studies also seeks to engage blackness in other distinct contexts such as Pacific Rim and/or Middle East examples of blackness, or evolving methodological questions around the validity of Afro-centricity and interpretations of blackness relative to subaltern and post-colonial themes, all of which coalesce in a well-developed black world studies program. To achieve these goals, students must take a number of courses, chosen in conference with a major advisor or the director of the black world studies program.