African American Studies Minor at Tuskeegee

Carla Jackson Bell

The Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science in conjunction with the department of History at Tuskegee University was awarded a grant from the National Education of Humanities in 2018 to develop humanities curricula—architecture, education, history, and philosophy—for a first–ever interdisciplinary minor in African American studies with a concentration in the Tuskegee Architects and the History of the Built Environment in the South. The minor will explore ways of thinking, researching, and writing about the diverse experiences of African Americans.

The new minor seeks to extend African American history and liberal arts formally into the architecture curriculum through new humanities offerings, and in so doing, provide a focused historical perspective for students’ current educational and professional trajectories. The minor will be discipline-specific to architecture and integrate a humanities approach into the professional training of architects and builders. Unlike many historical courses of study, this minor goes beyond documenting educational inequities and offers an alternative curriculum that will advance diverse issues and inclusiveness in architecture and humanities education.  

In order to make an interdisciplinary connection between African American studies and the architecture curriculum, a collaboration will take place in the summer of 2018 between visiting scholars with critical research projects, national guest speakers, and an HBCU faculty cohort. After this one-week workshop, participants will unveil a curricular model that is vital to understanding and appreciating the philosophical roots of African American architecture education, history, and culture for students in any major. The product of the workshop will be three new architecture course syllabi for classes beginning fall 2018. This minor will serve as a model for other HBCUs with schools of architecture and will unveil how to integrate the humanities into other professional disciplines as well as stimulate the revision of existing humanities courses to bridge humanities studies with professional schools.