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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
    
 
  Jun 16, 2024
 
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Africana Studies, PhD


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The University of Pittsburgh’s graduate program in Africana Studies is led by faculty trained in Africana Studies as well as other disciplines from the humanities and social sciences. The Ph.D. program in Africana Studies distinguishes itself with its emphasis on Race & Equity, Migration & Community Transformation, and Culture & Creative Production. Graduate students in the program receive rigorous training in the discipline of Africana Studies. In addition, to broaden their intellectual experience and maximize their professional opportunities, students are encouraged to explore the various graduate certificates and courses outside the department which align with their areas of concentration. The Ph.D. program in Africana Studies prepares graduate students for university-level research and teaching, as well as professions in international relations & development, public policy & government, the arts, health equity & global health, non-profit organizations and other careers.

General Requirements

The School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh requires a minimum of 72 credits at the 2000-level or above for the PhD. Of these 72 credits required for the PhD Africana Studies, 39 will be earned through required seminars, courses, and electives offered by the Department of Africana Studies; an additional 33 credits can be earned through other elective courses, seminars, direct reading, independent studies, or dissertation credits. The following course of study will comprise these credit requirements:

  • AFRCNA 2860 Africana Research Methods

This seminar explores how Africana scholars formulate their research questions and design their methodologies. It explains how they use a variety of methodological approaches for conducting research in Black communities worldwide and creating new ideas that contribute to the advancement of Africana Studies scholarship.

  • AFRCNA 2031 Critical Africana Pedagogy

This seminar examines the arts of teaching and learning in Africana Studies. Students are introduced to Africana-centered pedagogical tools while also being exposed to resources from the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning.

  • AFRCNA 2750 Africana Studies Proseminar I

Introduces students to cultural, social, historical, artistic, and theoretical approaches to developing a global analytics of Blackness

  • AFRCNA 2850 Africana Studies Proseminar II

Explore theories of Black migration and community formation

  • Additional AFRCNA courses: 27 credits
  • Electives: 33 credits
Preliminary Exams: The core courses fulfill the role of preliminary exams in the PhD requirements for the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Students must complete the courses with at least a B grade in each course. They should ideally complete their core courses by the end of their first year, and no later than the end of their second year.

Graduate Transfer Credits: Students already holding a Master’s degree have the potential to transfer up to 30 credits from another approved degree-granting graduate program. The transfer credits will be evaluated and approved by the Director of graduate studies and two other members of the department graduate faculty.

Comprehensive Exams: Students should aim to take their comprehensive exams by the end of the third year. Should the student fail the comprehensive exam they will have the right to retake it once. The failed exam must be retaken prior to April 30 of the third year (second year for students entering with an MA). The student has the right to choose new examiners. If a student does not pass the retake exam, tenure will end with the term during which this exam took place.

To obtain the Ph.D. in Africana Studies, it is recommended that students:

  1. Complete required coursework by end of second year (preferably by end of first year)
  2. Pass comprehensive examinations in the fall of the third year
  3. Defend Dissertation Prospectus in the spring of the third year
  4. Be admitted to candidacy at least 8 months prior to defense date
  5. Have their dissertation defended and approved by dissertation committee
  6. Complete at least 72 credits (course work and research included) with a GPA of at least 3.00, including the Four Core Courses

Admissions Requirements


Students will complete the Ph.D. in five years. Students who have already earned a master’s degree Africana Studies can often receive credit for previous coursework which may shorten the time needed to earn a Ph.D. by as much as a year. Students accepted without this disciplinary training will earn an MA in Africana Studies in the course of working toward the Ph.D. Applications are considered once a year for fall admission only. All students wishing to apply must submit their application electronically through the university’s online application process.

The following application materials are required:

  • An application form must be submitted to the School of Arts & Sciences online using the link below: https://gradcas.liaisoncas.org/apply/
  • A non-refundable application fee of $75. The University offers fee waivers for the following national programs that cover application fees: Gates Millennium 3 Scholars Program, McNair Scholars, and Society for Advancement of Chicanos & Native Americans and applicants who are currently serving or who previously served as members of the U.S. Armed Services. To apply for a fee waiver, you need to fill out the application form at the link below: https://pitt.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3CxvKCWrXUv6tCd
  • A statement of purpose describing the applicant’s intellectual interests and professional aspirations. The applicant should also be able to explain how their intellectual interest aligns with our faculty areas of expertise. Be as specific as possible about your research interests and qualifications.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation intended to provide independent evaluation of each applicant’s potential. Letters should come from current or former teachers or others who can evaluate your intellectual and academic qualifications for graduate study. Reference writers will submit these forms and letters independently from the application using a link embedded in an e-mail they receive from the “apply online” process.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended. If non-US citizens, please submit transcripts in the native language accompanied by notarized English translations. The University requires at least a 3.0. GPA. Note: official transcripts will need to be sent if admitted into the program.
  • English Language Scores for all non-US citizens: All non-U.S. citizens applying to the graduate program - except for those who have received degrees from a U.S. institution or from other English-speaking countries - must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), IELTS, or Duolingo as part of their application packet to demonstrate a sufficient command of English to meet the requirements of their field. The minimum scores are 90 for TOEFL (with at least a score of 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading, and writing), 7.0 for IELTS (with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections), and a 120 for Duolingo.

Program Requirements


The School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh requires a minimum of 72 credits at the 2000-level or above for the PhD. Of these 72 credits required for the PhD in Africana Studies, 39 credits must be earned in the four AFRCNA core courses (12 credits) and through nine additional AFRCNA seminars and courses at the 2000 level or higher (27 credits). Additional credits may be earned through elective courses and seminars (in AFRCNA or other departments), directed studies, independent studies, or dissertation credits. The following course of study will comprise these credit requirements:

Core Courses: 12 credits

Additional AFRCNA coursework: 27 credits

Additional electives: 33 credits

Students should aim to complete the required course credits and take their comprehensive exams by the end of the third year (students already holding a Master’s degree have the potential to transfer up to 30 credits from another approved degree-granting graduate program towards their PhD) and thus take the comprehensive exam by the end of their second year. The transfer credits will be evaluated and approved by the Director of graduate studies and two other members of the department graduate faculty. Students without the Master’s degree will receive a Masters in Africana Studies after the completion of their comprehensive exam.

To obtain the Ph.D. in Africana Studies, it is recommended that students:

  1. Complete required coursework by end of second year (preferably by end of first year)
  2. Pass comprehensive examinations by the end of the third year.
  3. Defend Dissertation Prospectus in the spring of the third year
  • Be admitted to candidacy at least 8 months prior to defense date
  • Have their dissertation defended and approved by dissertation committee
  • Complete at least 72 credits (course work and research included) with a GPA of at least 3.00, including the Four Core Courses

Core Courses


  • AFRCNA 2031 - Critical Africana Pedagogy
  • AFRCNA 2750 - Africana Studies Proseminar I
  • AFRCNA 2850 - Africana Studies Proseminar II
  • AFRCNA 2860 - Africana Research Methods
  • AFRCNA 3000 - Research And Dissertation PhD

 

Electives


  • AFRCNA 2010 - Issues in Contemporary Africa
  • AFRCNA 2035 - Black Body Studies
  • AFRCNA 2042 - Class and Inequality Portrayals in Black Women’s Writing
  • AFRCNA 2110 - Race and Race-Making in U.S. History
  • AFRCNA 2131 - Mobility, Identity, and the Black Atlantic
  • AFRCNA 2301 - Black Space: Architectures of Race and Resistance
  • AFRCNA 2435 - Prison Literature & Black Life
  • AFRCNA 2610 - Health in the Environment in the Caribbean
  • AFRCNA 2900 - Field Placement
  • AFRCNA 2901 - Independent Study
  • AFRCNA 2902 - Directed Reading
  • AFRCNA 2903 - Directed Research

Cross-Listed Electives


  • AFRCNA 2012 - Early 20th Century Black Social Movements
  • AFRCNA 2021 - History Of The African Diaspora
  • AFRCNA 2039 - History Of Caribbean Slavery
  • AFRCNA 2108 - African American Folk Culture
  • AFRCNA 2150 - Contemporary African American Writing
  • AFRCNA 2201 - Global Diasporas: Contemporary African And Caribbean Migration
  • AFRCNA 2240 - African Literature And Society
  • AFRCNA 2250 - Black Europe
  • AFRCNA 2309 - Women Of African And African Diaspora
  • AFRCNA 2310 - Cultures Of Africa
  • AFRCNA 2330 - Science And Technology In Africana Context
  • AFRCNA 2347 - Francophone Africana Literature
  • AFRCNA 2349 - Contemporary Caribbean Literature
  • AFRCNA 2402 - Learning Paradigms African American Child Development
  • AFRCNA 2420 - Power And Performance In Africa: From Hip-Life To Soukouss
  • AFRCNA 2425 - Caribbean Identities
  • AFRCNA 2450 - Africana Cultural Memory
  • AFRCNA 2510 - Health In The African Diaspora
  • AFRCNA 2522 - Sex And Racism
  • AFRCNA 2535 - Dimensions Of Racism
  • AFRCNA 2537 - Race And The Criminal Justice System
  • AFRCNA 2555 - Afro Caribbean Dance
  • AFRCNA 2616 - African American Women Writers
  • AFRCNA 2628 - Afro-Latinos In The United States
  • AFRCNA 2655 - African Cinemas/Screen Griots
  • AFRCNA 2704 - Africana World Literature
  • AFRCNA 2710 - African American Health Issue
  • AFRCNA 2904 - Rebels And Revolution

Themes


The theme information highlights various areas of study that students may pursue. Students may choose to focus on a single theme or to sample from multiple themes, depending on their interests. These themes are meant to help graduate students organize coherent programs of study without requiring any specific commitment to a fixed number of themes or courses per theme.

Race & Equity


Drawing from various methodological and theoretical approaches, this research theme articulates an understanding of race as a social construct with material, intellectual, cultural, political, and bioethical implications. It aims to create and develop the tools to achieve social justice and equity throughout Africa and its diaspora. Graduate students may enhance their expertise by exploring opportunities in Public Health Programs with an emphasis on equity https://www.publichealth.pitt.edu/certificates , as well as The Center for Urban Education https://www.cue.pitt.edu/people

Theme Courses:

  • AFRCNA 2035 - Black Body Studies
  • AFRCNA 2039 - History Of Caribbean Slavery
  • AFRCNA 2042 - Class and Inequality Portrayals in Black Women’s Writing
  • AFRCNA 2110 - Race and Race-Making in U.S. History
  • AFRCNA 2131 - Mobility, Identity, and the Black Atlantic
  • AFRCNA 2150 - Contemporary African American Writing
  • AFRCNA 2250 - Black Europe
  • AFRCNA 2309 - Women Of African And African Diaspora
  • AFRCNA 2310 - Cultures Of Africa
  • AFRCNA 2347 - Francophone Africana Literature
  • AFRCNA 2349 - Contemporary Caribbean Literature
  • AFRCNA 2402 - Learning Paradigms African American Child Development
  • AFRCNA 2420 - Power And Performance In Africa: From Hip-Life To Soukouss
  • AFRCNA 2425 - Caribbean Identities
  • AFRCNA 2435 - Prison Literature & Black Life 
  • AFRCNA 2510 - Health In The African Diaspora
  • AFRCNA 2522 - Sex And Racism
  • AFRCNA 2535 - Dimensions Of Racism
  • AFRCNA 2537 - Race And The Criminal Justice System
  • AFRCNA 2616 - African American Women Writers
  • AFRCNA 2655 - African Cinemas/Screen Griots
  • AFRCNA 2710 - African American Health Issue

Migration & Community Transformation


Building from the extensive scholarship in Africana and African Diaspora Studies, this research theme analyzes the causes and implications of the movements of people of African origin throughout time and space. Through an interdisciplinary methodological approach, it sheds light on how such movements led to transformative outcomes in both the sending and receiving spaces. Graduate Students may find support for their research with the University Center for International Studies https://www.ucis.pitt.edu/main/  & the World History Center https://www.worldhistory.pitt.edu

Theme Courses:

  • AFRCNA 2012 - Early 20th Century Black Social Movements
  • AFRCNA 2035 - Black Body Studies
  • AFRCNA 2039 - History Of Caribbean Slavery
  • AFRCNA 2131 - Mobility, Identity, and the Black Atlantic
  • AFRCNA 2201 - Global Diasporas: Contemporary African And Caribbean Migration
  • AFRCNA 2240 - African Literature And Society
  • AFRCNA 2250 - Black Europe
  • AFRCNA 2301 - Black Space: Architectures of Race and Resistance.
  • AFRCNA 2309 - Women Of African And African Diaspora
  • AFRCNA 2310 - Cultures Of Africa
  • AFRCNA 2330 - Science And Technology In Africana Context
  • AFRCNA 2347 - Francophone Africana Literature
  • AFRCNA 2349 - Contemporary Caribbean Literature
  • AFRCNA 2425 - Caribbean Identities
  • AFRCNA 2450 - Africana Cultural Memory
  • AFRCNA 2510 - Health In The African Diaspora
  • AFRCNA 2535 - Dimensions Of Racism
  • AFRCNA 2537 - Race And The Criminal Justice System
  • AFRCNA 2555 - Afro Caribbean Dance
  • AFRCNA 2610 - Health in the Environment in the Caribbean
  • AFRCNA 2628 - Afro-Latinos In The United States
  • AFRCNA 2655 - African Cinemas/Screen Griots
  • AFRCNA 2704 - Africana World Literature

Culture & Creative Production


This theme seeks to illuminate the intersections between socio-economic, political, intellectual, and psychological transformation and Black cultural productions in music, literature, performing and visual arts, as well as film & media. To further develop their expertise, Graduate students may use resources from various programs, including The Center for African American Poetry and Poetics https://www.caapp.pitt.edu/about/people , The PhD Concentration in Jazz Studies https://www.music.pitt.edu/graduate/phd-jazz-studies , the graduate program in Film & Media Studies https://www.filmstudies.pitt.edu/graduate,the August Wilson archive https://augustwilson.library.pitt.edu & the Rob Penny papers https://library.pitt.edu/rob-penny-papers

Theme Courses:

  • AFRCNA 2010 - Issues in Contemporary Africa 
  • AFRCNA 2035 - Black Body Studies
  • AFRCNA 2042 - Class and Inequality Portrayals in Black Women’s Writing
  • AFRCNA 2108 - African American Folk Culture
  • AFRCNA 2110 - Race and Race-Making in U.S. History
  • AFRCNA 2131 - Mobility, Identity, and the Black Atlantic
  • AFRCNA 2150 - Contemporary African American Writing
  • AFRCNA 2240 - African Literature And Society
  • AFRCNA 2301 - Black Space: Architectures of Race and Resistance.
  • AFRCNA 2330 - Science And Technology In Africana Context
  • AFRCNA 2347 - Francophone Africana Literature
  • AFRCNA 2349 - Contemporary Caribbean Literature
  • AFRCNA 2420 - Power And Performance In Africa: From Hip-Life To Soukouss
  • AFRCNA 2450 - Africana Cultural Memory
  • AFRCNA 2555 - Afro Caribbean Dance
  • AFRCNA 2616 - African American Women Writers
  • AFRCNA 2655 - African Cinemas/Screen Griots
  • AFRCNA 2704 - Africana World Literature

Total Credits: 72


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