UMKC Catalog


Minor in Black Studies

Students who elect to earn a minor in Black Studies must take at least 18 credit hours of prescribed coursework. Nine hours must be at the 300 or 400 levels, and a minimum of nine hours must be earned at UMKC.

Four core courses are required for the minor. They are BLKS 201, BLKS 302, BLKS 403WI and BLKS 404.

To complete the minor, students must take six (6) hours of elective credit under Black Studies. At least one course must be from a Literature and Culture category and one course from an Institutions and Social Process category. Students should consult with the Director to determine which courses meet these various elective categories. Courses approved for the minor will appear under the Black Studies prefix (BLKS).

Students may also complete their elective requirements by taking three (3) to six (6) credits of BLKS 490 Directed Study or BLKS 480 Special Topics. Directed Study involves establishing an individual research and learning project with a core faculty person in Black Studies. The student and faculty person will determine beforehand if the project meets the Literature and Culture requirement or the Institutions and Social Process requirement for the minor in Black Studies. Special Topics (BLKS 480) are courses that may be offered from time to time to explore important issues in Black Studies that are not currently available in the curriculum. These courses will either be designated as meeting the Literature and Culture requirement or the Institutions and Social Process requirement.

Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes: Black Studies Program

1. Acquire a holistic understanding of the experiences, contributions, and condition of African-descent peoples in the evolution and formation of American society and culture.

2. Develop a basic understanding of the active role of Africa and the  African Diaspora in global society and human culture.

3. Learn to employ Black Studies as a critical tool to understand the human experience generally.

4. Gain exposure to the breath and depth of perspectives that give respect and voice to the Black experience.

5. Learn to employ social science and humanistic approaches to examine human society and culture.

6. Develop advanced skills in critical thinking, written and oral communication, research, analysis, theory building, multicultural understanding, and global awareness.

The core Black Studies Courses are:

BLKS 201: Global Systems and the Origins of Black American Culture and Institutions (3 Credit Hours)

This multi-disciplinary course examines global capitalism, European contact with Africa, the development of the African Diaspora, and the origins of Black American institutions and culture. Applying a Black Studies perspective, the course explores such themes as cultural and gendered oppression, institutional destabilization, economic dislocation, liberation struggles, and creative impulses and aesthetics. (This course replaces Introduction to African American Studies and also meets the general education requirement for a course that focuses on cultural perspectives of an interdependent global environment.)

BLKS 302: Conceptual and Theoretical Foundations in African American Studies (3 Credit Hours)

This course will provide an in-depth examination of the theoretical and conceptual parameters of African American Studies. We will study the evolution of the field, key scholars and creative intellectuals, and seminal categories of thought. (This course also meets the general education requirements for the social sciences.)

BLKS 403WI: Writing for African American Studies (3 Credit Hours)

This course instructs students in how to produce advanced knowledge in the field of African American Studies. It provides training in the construction of quality research papers for graduate, scholarly, and professional work and exposes students to a wide array of scholarly journals, databases, and authoritative resources in African American studies. Each time the course is taught, students will develop their research around a specific topic defined by the instructor. (This course is approved as a writing intensive course.)

BLKS 404 Research Seminar (3 Credit Hours)

This course introduces the logic, theory, and techniques of empirical research and applies them to African American Studies. It exposes students to a variety of research approaches in order to examine their utility for producing knowledge within the field. (This course also meets the general education requirements for social sciences.)