New courses, a prospective name change and co-curricular activities could be coming to the recently-added African American studies minor.
Introduced fall 2019, the minor features a set of core courses where students take two required African American studies courses: introduction to African American studies and global perspectives on the African diaspora, along with a select group of electives to supplement the curriculum, called co-curricular activities.
Plans to grow the African American studies minor include new courses rooted in African culture and history as well as a name change from African American studies to Black studies.
The Pan-African Action Committee, lead by president Najha Marshall, microbiology junior, was instrumental in the creation of the African American studies minor.
Marshall said the shift from African American studies to Black studies broadens potential curriculum to more than just African Americans, expanding the minor to include all black cultures.
“African American studies limits the range of studies to only blacks in America,” Marshall said. “We would like to broaden our studies as much as possible.”
Director of the African American studies program Dwonna Goldstone believes students of all backgrounds and ethnicities should explore having more deliberate conversations about race, and that these courses are an excellent way to do that.
“I think people are afraid to talk about race. Hopefully, (the expansions) will open up a dialogue and a space,” Goldstone said. “It’s a way to talk about where we were and where we’re going.”
Goldstone said the minor is complementary to majors such as English, education and anthropology. Co-curricular activities will also be included with the coursework.
Goldstone recently created a new course, blacks, film, and society, that will be included within the African American Studies minor.
“I’m still learning and seeing what students want to take. Next year I will add more classes,” Goldstone said. “For now, there will be three classes. Only (introduction to African American studies and global perspectives on the African diaspora) will be required.”
The Pan-African Action Committee collectively pushed for the minor’s implementation at Texas State after noticing many other universities offering African American studies courses, including The University of Texas.
Marshall and Goldstone both agree the implementation and further expansion of the minor brings opportunities for new cultural experiences and different perspectives for all students, including how society deals with certain racial stigmas.
“The only way people will deal with the issue of racism is if people start talking about it,” Goldstone said.
Cristina Avila, psychology sophomore, sees the minor as a way to bring diversity and inclusivity to Texas State. As a member of the black student population, Avila said she believes in more opportunities to share diverse historical and cultural perspectives.
“I think (the African American Studies minor) is a good addition to Texas State. Most of the history taught here is focused on white people. Having more cultural opportunities would be better for students,” Avila said.
For more information regarding the African American Studies minor, please visit http://mycatalog.txstate.edu/undergraduate/liberal-arts/center-diversity-gender-studies/african-american-studies-minor/.
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