Our thematic concerns and our diversity of course offerings, together with the Program's concern for the material and cultural well-being of the people of Africa, constitute an exciting, interdisciplinary enquiry into Africa's historic and contemporary role in world affairs. York 's African Studies Program is designed to give graduates a broad theoretical framework and a set of highly developed analytic skills.
Students may participate in this Program in three different ways:
- formally majoring
- taking a minor in the subject (as explained below), or
- by taking whatever Program courses are of interest, while keeping the student's own Ordinary or Honours degree Program requirements.
Students can declare a Double Major or minor in either the traditional linked Programs OR have an Interdisciplinary Linked Program. This means that students now may combine their African Studies degree with one of a number of York's free-standing interdisciplinary Programs such Religious Studies, East Asian Studies, Classical Studies or Creative Writing. In addition Students are able to double major in International Development Studies (IDS).
Other majors interested in Africa are encouraged to consult with the Coordinator.
The core course of the Program, (AP/SOSC 2480 9.0), required for majors, deals with six major themes: Africa's social organization and cultural heritage; the history of Africa's conquest in the era of slavery and colonialism; the creation of a Diaspora; the struggle to create economically and politically viable nation-states in the post-colonial era; gender relations in the past and present; and African social thought and cultural and expressive production. These major themes also constitute reference points for other and more detailed contribution from the participating departments.
The fourth-year required seminar - AP/SOSC 4510 6.0 African Popular Culture (formerly AP/SOSC 4990N 6.0) presents students with the opportunity to engage in an advanced synthesis of the knowledge they have obtained during their studies. This course investigates the multiple dimensions of African popular culture through looking at forms of cultural productivity: music, film, literature, theatre, cartoons, sport, leisure, and aspects of material culture. It also explores ways in which cultural productivity is linked to various social relations, ethnic identities and the politics that have characterized nationalist and post-independence politics in Africa.
African Studies is also affiliated with the Centre for Maghreb Studies at York, which promotes and encourages cross-cultural studies of the countries in the North African region known as the Maghreb , as well as well as research into literature and the arts of francophone Canada
In addition to the Teaching Faculty of the African Studies Program, York University has a number of scholars who are involved in research on Africa. Some members of the Program are involved in Canadian and international aid policy development and implementation. Many are engaged in political initiatives for the promotion of democracy and human rights in Africa. As well, York is host to a number of African graduate and undergraduate students.