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African Studies

Bachelor of Arts (BA) - Honours

Be a part of the longest-running African studies program in Canada. 

The African Studies (AFST) program provides students with the opportunity to pursue their interests in Africa and its diasporas as a double major or minor alongside another discipline. The program brings together members of the York community with an interest in Africa/African Diasporas to re-imagine Africa and its diasporas in terms of their evolution and the advancement of humanity, centrality to world history, and as sites of knowledge production.

The program has a commitment to both the intrinsic benefits of academic inquiry and to the well-being of Africans and Diasporian Africans, making it a platform/site for elevating theoretical and empirical interdisciplinary research as well as for understanding the cultural, socioeconomic, and political development of African peoples. Our students benefit from academic and pedagogical interdisciplinarity, from faculty members across the University, which allows for innovative program delivery and learning that will equip them with the agility required to apply their knowledge to real-life circumstances.

What you’ll learn

  • Draw on informed understandings of Africa and its diasporas’ richly diverse histories, economies, politics, and cultures to effectively communicate and represent Africa
  • Recognize, appreciate, and highlight/learn/examine Africans’ and their diasporas’ roles in addressing socioeconomic and political challenges, from both historical and contemporary perspectives
  • Examine and appreciate Africa’s contributions to contemporary arts (including music, film, fashion, literature, dance, theatre, painting, etc.)
  • Learn the importance of re-imagining the futures of Africa and its diasporas through the exciting, global Pan African creative phenomenon of Afrofuturism (which is inclusive of cultural production at the intersections between race and technology, including religion, architecture, communications, visual arts, philosophy, etc.)

Hands-on experiences

The program is committed to collective and practical learning through placement courses and other experiential opportunities to make meaningful connections locally and international to multifaceted research and practical initiatives in Africa and its diasporas.

Examples of practical learning opportunities include:

  • The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas.
  • International talks and seminars organized by the African Studies Program and aligned programs
  • Events organized by student associations such as the York University Black Students Alliance (e.g. the All-Africa Students Conference), and numerous African student organizations/clubs

What I liked best about the African Studies program were the professors who challenged my assumptions and encouraged me to think more critically. Also the debates and discussions with my peers in tutorials or in post-lecture conversations were always enlightening. The knowledge and critical thinking skills acquired in the African Studies program will always be relevant.  The world needs a lot more people who can marry a strong technical background with a nuanced understanding of the challenges of economic development on the African continent.

— Richard Gabay
Alumnus, African Studies '97

Read more testimonials from our alumni

Learn More

Current students can contact Program Coordinator Mohamed Sesay or Program Assistant Elvisa Zjakic at