Kente Cloth

Department of Africana Studies

The Department of Africana Studies stand in solidarity with the international protests in expressing our condemnation of the history of state sanctioned violence against African people in the United States. In fact, we ARE the protestors and the protestors ARE us. While the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd may have been the spark, the global uprising is a result of the centuries-long systematic assault on Black lives and aspirations.

For nearly 50 years, the Department of Africana Studies at San Diego State University has affirmed that Black Lives Matter and remain committed to examining, critiquing, and celebrating the lived experiences of all Africana peoples.  Black Studies is a result of protests more than 50 years ago. In the same tradition, the Black Resource Center at SDSU stands as a monument to the continued demands and struggles of Black faculty, students and community members.

As scholars and educators, we focus on a variety of subjects pertaining to the Africana experience. As such, the Department is concerned with strengthening the bond between Black students and the Black community and developing frameworks for social change and the struggle for Black dignity.

Further, we recognize that racist policing is but a symptom of a much larger problem endemic to American society. It is our obligation to engage our students and community in developing strategies for dismantling every system of oppression that seeks to systematically silence, erase, and destroy us. We draw our inspiration from not only the sacrifices of our ancestors and elders, but also from the agency and leadership of our youth making their own demands and sacrifices in this contemporary moment.

The Department of Africana Studies does not and cannot exist outside of the reality and everyday experiences of African people and is very much a part of this global demand for human rights and dignity. The discipline of Africana Studies IS because we ARE.

The Department of Africana Studies
San Diego State University

“...for all kinds of offenses - and, for no offenses - from murders to misdemeanors, men and women are put to death without judge or jury; so that, although the political excuse was no longer necessary, the wholesale murder of human beings went on just the same.”
~Ida Bell Wells-Barnett
Lynch Law in America, 1900

Major in Africana Studies

Major in Africana Studies

A major in Africana Studies prepares students interested in history, culture, law, and foreign affairs with the skills to become outstanding, productive citizens.

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Minor in Africana Studies

Minor in Africana Studies

A minor in Africana Studies will provide an invaluable foundation in critical thinking, research, writing and analysis. This minor consists of a minimum of 18 units.

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Minor in African Studies

Minor in African Studies

A minor in African studies is offered through Interdisciplinary Studies, but advising is done through our department. This minor consists of a minimum of 15 upper division units.

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Why choose Africana Studies?

Africana Studies offers a broad, interdisciplinary program. The curriculum is designed to focus on a variety of subjects pertaining to the Africana experience. It is also concerned with strengthening links between black students and the black community, and developing frameworks for social change and the struggle for black dignity. 

Africana Studies is a degree that can offer limitless career opportunities. Students will learn strong skills in critical thinking, communication, research, writing and analysis, skills that are invaluable in most any field. A degree like this encourages you to follow your passions and interests.

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In Memoriam: Francis Njubi Nesbitt

Dr. NesbittWith a deep sense of sadness and loss, we write to report on the death of one of our own, Francis Njubi Nesbitt, Associate Professor of Africana Studies, who passed away suddenly on May 31 at the age of 56.

A native Kenyan, Professor Nesbitt received a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Nairobi in Kenya, an M.A. in international peace studies from University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D. in African American studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Before joining us in the College of Arts and Letters in 2000, he worked as a reporter and editor for the Daily Nation in Nairobi, as well as a reporter for papers in Seattle and Springfield, Massachusetts. His first book, Race for Sanctions: African Americans against Apartheid, 1946–1994, was published by Indiana University Press in 2004. This study was described by the late American anthropologist and United States Ambassador Elliott P. Skinner as “an important contribution to the political history of this period [and] a must for those interested in the influence of the great pan-Africanists.” In 2012, he published Politics of African Diasporas with Lambert Academic Publishing. In addition to these monographs, he wrote articles and book chapters published in a number of journals and scholarly volumes.

For Africana studies, Professor Nesbitt taught courses such as Intermediate Expository Writing and Research Fundamentals, Black Political Participation in America, Political Economy of the African Diaspora, and Modern Civil Rights Movement.

As a scholar, Professor Nesbitt was passionate about the subject of civil rights and the struggle against apartheid. One of his goals was to hold a symposium titled “Coming to Terms with Apartheid: Resistance, Legacy” at San Diego State University. He also had plans to establish a center for the study of civil rights within the College of Arts and Letters. He was an enthusiastic blogger and public intellectual, and his public-facing work appeared in a number of fora.

Professor Nesbitt is survived by his wife of seven years, Teresa Nesbitt. She remembers him with great love as “a good, kind man” and “a gentle soul.” She requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to any society or organization dedicated to eradicating disease. Professor Nesbitt’s ashes will be scattered at sea; there is no memorial service planned.


Study Abroad: "Inequality and Activism in Brazil"

African dancers in Brazil

Learning will take place both inside and outside the classroom as we explore the Africana experience in Brazil. Nearly 40% of African captives during the centuries long European slave trade were destined for Brazil. Today, Brazil has the largest population of African people outside of Africa.  The largest concentration of African Brazilians live in the state of Bahia.

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