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Exploration of issues of race differences, identity and subject formation.

The Africana Studies major provides a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the shifting historical, cultural, social and political meaning of blackness.

In this major, students learn about the collective experience of black/Africana people in today’s world, with a focus on the diasporan societies, cultures and people of the United States, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Students learn to challenge the traditional ways of thinking about difference and gain a critical consciousness of the roles that people of color play in global relations.



Current position: Vice president of government relations for the Midwest at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Elam worked in public policy for more than 14 years, an interest that started at DePauw. She spent a semester and winter term working as a legislative intern at the NAACP Washington Bureau. It was in D.C. where her classroom studies in political science and black studies met the reality of the real world.

She received a law degree cum laude in 2008 from the Howard University School of Law, where she was the solicitations editor of the law review and a student attorney in the civil rights clinic.

Before joining JPMorgan Chase, she led the government and external affairs strategy for ITT Educational Services, worked as a senior director at the government affairs firm Ice Miller Strategies and was an attorney at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP focusing on congressional investigations and complex litigation in Washington.

Courses & Careers


Introduction to Africana Studies, Sociology and Hip Hop, Harlem Renaissance, American Government, Race, Power and Privilege, Caribbean Religion and Cultures, Jazz History, History of the Black Atlantic

Career Options

Lawyer, Teacher or professor, Doctor, Musician, CEO, Business owner, Government worker


Matthew Oware, Ph.D., Indiana University. Lester Martin Jones endowed chair, 2017- 2022; Edwin Minar Scholarship Award, 2016-2017; United Methodist Church General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award, 2008- 2009. Research interests are race/ethnicity, popular culture, masculinities and hip-hop.

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