Africana Studies

Africana Studies, a discipline within the Liberal Arts and Sciences Department, provides innovative, substantive, sustained, and connected programs in black music and culture. Our focus is on the study of black-music practice(s), history, and meaning. This includes traditional West African music and West African pop, spirituals, ragtime, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, reggae, soul, funk, Caribbean, Cuban, and Brazilian music, as well as contemporary urban music traditions. Programming and courses emphasize the relationship between music and society by increasing students’ understanding, awareness, and appreciation of artists’ roles in the modern world.

Read a feature article on the initiative.

"We want to talk about the richest tradition in the history of modernity, and that has to do with musical tradition[s] from people of African descent who, out of their doings and sufferings, were able to transcend and transfigure their moans and groans into an art form that all of us now must focus on. Black music matters…"

– Cornel West, speaking at Berklee during the inaugural concert of Africana Studies