African American Studies minor launched at Texas State
Texas State University launched a new undergraduate minor in African American Studies this fall with Dr. Dwonna Goldstone at the helm as coordinator and associate professor of history.
Dr. Goldstone comes to the university after 18 years at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee where she led the African American studies minor and served as a professor of English. Dr. Goldstone received her doctorate in American Studies in 2001 from the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation was the source for her book, Integrating the 40 Acres: The 50-Year Struggle for Racial Equality. In the book, Dr. Goldstone traces the university’s history of integration from the 1940s to the 1990s, drawing on oral histories, university documents and newspaper accounts.
The minor is an interdisciplinary course of study under the Center for Diversity and Gender Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. It is the 76th undergraduate minor currently offered at Texas State. Requirements include 18 semester credit hours, with six hours of essential courses and 12 hours of electives. Students must take Introduction to African American Studies (AAS 2310) and Global Perspectives on the African Diaspora (AAS 4320). The prescribed electives list includes courses from the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Applied Arts, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the College of Education, the McCoy College of Business Administration and the Honors College.
Dr. Goldstone says she is looking forward to creating courses for the minor. “I will go across campus and see if there are classes that people want specifically for the African American Studies minor.”
She plans to put together an advisory board with faculty and students and also hopes to lead programming to show films and have what she calls critical conversations. “One of the things I have learned in creating the minor is that while I have my ideas, I am not of the students’ generation.” At Austin Peay, she created a course about race, gender and sexuality; and a class on the Black Panthers, which she says was well received by students.
Dr. Goldstone says her new passion is bringing literacy to prisons. She started volunteering to teach in a men’s prison in Nashville, Tennessee, along with two other college professors. “One thing I can say about the experience is — while I think I am a good teacher — it made me a better teacher because I had 20 men who had done all the reading. They actually wanted to do the reading. The oldest was 60, the youngest in their 20s.” She hopes to publish a paper about teaching feminism in a men’s prison.
“I’d like to think if you ask my (college) students what kind of teacher I was, I’m interactive. I try to avoid lecturing. I always want to know what they think. I want them to come and learn about different parts of African American history and the African diaspora.”