Research & Funding

We encourage Africana Studies students to become involved in the research enterprise during their time as undergraduates. Students have access to myriad research opportunities. Funding and support is available through the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement, Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement, the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

Students can begin researching areas of interest as soon as they arrive on campus and continue steadily for the duration of their time at Notre Dame or they can find a passion for a particular idea while in a class later in their course of study and pursue that in their remaining time at Notre Dame. 

Many students will become research assistants for various faculty members exploring topics as broad as corporal punishment, restorative justice practices, health care in the developing world, or Hebrew poetry. Our faculty are eager to help students explore these opportunities and to find grant funding.

To discuss the possibility of becoming a research assistant or questions of independent research please reach out to any of our Africana Studies faculty members. 

Senior Thesis

2016 Africana Studies Senior Thesis Workshop
2016 Africana Studies Senior Thesis Workshop

All full majors in the department of Africana Studies complete a senior thesis or extended internship prior to graduation. These independent projects stem from the student's interest and the unanswered or underexplored questions in that field. Topics are varied and each student is paired with a faculty mentor for guidance and support. Students share their work at a public workshop in the spring of each year. Previous topics include:

"Mr. Lucas’s Bronzeville: Community Preservation in Bronzeville, Illinois"  A hybrid paper/film documentary examining the work of community organizers in the South Side of Chicago's historically Black neighborhood. 

"Cultural Connections: Understanding the Importance of the Black Arts Movement and Creating Diverse Curriculum" A hybrid thesis/community based learning project, this work explores the significance of the Black Arts Movement to the author and a group of local middle school students. 

"The Role of Print Media in the Discourse of Ugandan Anti-homosexual Legislation" A document analysis of print media related to the AHB in Uganda drawing attention to international discourses around human rights in Africa.

"Disabling Donor Demands: The Coercion of the International HIV/AIDS Agenda" An analysis the funding environment and various interventions for HIV/AIDS in Uganda vis-a-vis​ a set of 2,600 archival data entries, interviews with 45 patients, 19 doctors/clinicians, two Ministry of Health officials, 36 civil society organizations, and two meeting transcripts.

"Gospel Music and Spirituals in Education: Fostering Community, Action, and Voice" An exploration of the history of gospel music and constructs of community, action, and voice alongside narrative research on the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir at the University of Notre Dame. 

“Food and the Soul of Black Folks: Food Ways that Contextualize African American Life” A study of various textual material related to food in the Africana tradition including the Breakfast program of the Black Panthers.