African American Studies, an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi, began in 1970 and now operates with departmental status. The departmental name was changed in 1983 to the African American Studies Program, in part to signal that a new direction had been taken in terms of professional standards.
The African American Studies Program, has been assigned the mission of investigating the history, culture, and achievements of African Americans as members of American society via research and teaching. The Program develops and coordinates and interdisciplinary curriculum that focuses mainly on the African American experience in the United States, especially in Mississippi and the South. Its objectives are to encourage all students and faculty to examine the African American experience, to facilitate a cultural and intellectual atmosphere on campus that will be favorable to such studies, and to develop a program of research and community service.
The course of study leading to a major seeks to provide students with an interdisciplinary understanding of African American history, culture, politics, and society and to prepare them for professional careers in relevant areas. In addition to core requirements, students will concentrate in one of the following subfields: art, history, literature, music, or public policy. The curriculum integrates the methods and theories of the various behavioral/social sciences, humanities, and arts into a comprehensive analysis of the life, issues, culture, and history of African Americans.