What is African American Studies?
African-American Studies is an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to the study of the history, culture, and politics of Black Americans. Taken broadly, the field studies not only the cultures of people of African descent in the United States, but the cultures of the entire African diaspora but it has been defined in different ways. The field includes scholars of African-American literature, history, politics, religion and religious studies, sociology, and many other disciplines within the humanities and social sciences.
Intensive academic efforts to reconstruct African-American history began in the late 19th century (W. E. B. Du Bois, The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America, 1896). Among the pioneers in the first half of the 20th century wereCarter G. Woodson, Herbert Aptheker, Melville Herskovits, and Lorenzo Dow Turner.
Programs and departments of African-American studies were first created in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of inter-ethnic student and faculty activism at many universities, sparked by a five-month strike for black studies at San Francisco State. In February 1968, San Francisco State hired sociologist Nathan Hare to coordinate the first black studies program and write a proposal for the first Department of Black Studies; the department was created in September 1968 and gained official status at the end of the five-months strike in the spring of 1969. The creation of programs and departments in Black studies was a common demand of protests and sit-ins by minority students and their allies, who felt that their cultures and interests were underserved by the traditional academic structures.
Black studies is a systematic way of studying black people in the world – such as their history, culture, sociology, and religion. It is a study of the black experience and the effect of society on them and their effect within society. This study can serve to eradicate many racial stereotypes. Black Studies implements: history, family structure, social and economic pressures, stereotypes, and gender relationships.