Black Studies Matter

Deepen your knowledge of Africa and its diaspora through an examination of the centrality of racism, slavery, and colonialism in the construction of the modern world. Learn the importance of opposition and resistance to these forces in the pursuit of social justice. Concentrate in areas such as African, African-American or Africana, and develop an affirming understanding of the cultures and histories of the peoples of Africa and of African descent.


Student Spotlight

leah foster '25 

Major: sociology
Minors: Africana Studies, french

"My favorite Africana Studies class is "Interrogating Race in the US & South Africa." This class sparked my interest in conversations revolving around race and equity on our campus, and also combined aspects of writing, which I’m also interested in. It inspired me to continue this work outside of the classroom. In the future, I hope to be able to continue to advocate for People of Color while also encouraging more conversation and awareness." 




Experiential EducationInteractive Knowledge

Explore the roots and prevalence of racism in American society through lectures held by the Fisher Center for the Study of Gender and Justice and cross-cultural diversity through events at the Intercultural Affairs Center, and participate regionally and nationally in the Model African Union.

At Hobart and William Smith, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.



No Borders:Global Education

Study apartheid in South Africa or racial disparities in Portugal.

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose.






As faculty members of the Africana Studies Program at Hobart and William Smith, we stand in solidarity with all those protesting the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, among too many others. These are not isolated criminal acts, but rather expressions of institutional and structural racism in United States society. We are heartbroken, but also angry. We must work for racial justice. As fellow human beings, we extend empathy through shared horror. As teachers, we invite you to learn and demand meaningful social change with us. #BlackStudiesMatter

We agree with Dr. Benjamin Reese who states the key issues at hand, but also reminds us to keep our focus on those in Category 1 below. Category 2 is important, but it is not enough. We call for racial justice through a true reckoning of the systems and structures of inequality in our society.

Category 1

  • Institutional and structural racism
  • Failure of leadership in politics, policing, healthcare, business and higher education to confront structural racism
  • Need for significant and long-term structural changes in wealth distribution, health policies, policing, voting, higher education, etc.
  • Personal and institutional admission that past efforts, although often well meaning, have been focused on "nuanced changes around the edges," while sustaining the current distribution of power and privilege

Category 2

  • Need to treat everyone fairly
  • Greater respect for difference
  • Greater inclusion
  • Solidarity with those experiencing pain



AFS 110 Introduction to African Experience

Introduce yourself to the major themes in the study of African history, culture, literature, politics, and economics.

AFS 309 Black Cinema

Examine films by African, African-American and other African diaspora directors and the attempt by filmmakers to wrest an African/diasporic identity and aesthetic from a medium that has been defined predominantly by American and European models.

AFS 410 Deconstructing the Police

In this senior seminar, examine the origins, evolution and ideas about policing and delve into theories, perspectives and critiques of policing including those that consider policing to be disciplinary power, as an apparatus of class rule, a white supremacist instrument and as democratic institution.

Alum ImpactBuilding an Education to Give Back

joshua barclay '23 
J.D. Candidate at George Washington University Law School

Joshua's curiousity as a student at Hobart and William Smith has helped prepare him for law school and to give back to the community.  


Companies That Employ Our graduates

  • American University
  • AmeriCorps
  • ASCO Foundation
  • Bangs Ambulance
  • Fordham University
  • Harlem Lacrosse
  • Hyde School
  • Jefferson County Public Schools
  • Motion Recruitment
  • Peace Corps
  • Poughkeepsie High School
  • Steeltown Entertainment Project
  • Success Academy
  • Travelers Insurance Company
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • World Learning/School for International Training
  • YMCA