Africana Studies

Though five centuries have elapsed since the arrival of enslaved West Africans to the colony of Jamestown, Virginia in 1619, the project of Africana Studies has never been more urgent.

We continue to make meaning of the paradox that organized the modern world: the forging of free societies and peoples by unfree black labor. We take measure of human experience as the paradox unravels and structures change. Our Program’s Faculty pursue a wide range of research interests, among them Black filmmaking and the Hollywood Western, Postcolonial diplomacy, Muslim identity in France, Black women in the American Judiciary, Arab Women’s writing and Orientalism, the production of memoir, and the abolition of prisons. We aim to bring the traditional academic disciplines into conversation for our students and train them in the protocols that produce knowledge about the diaspora.

Most important to us, is that students develop intellectual poise and voice, and become skilled in asking productive questions about how the modern world works. Most recently, our students have pursued successful projects on Black Families and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Afrofuturism in Black Visual Art, Sudanese memoir and queer identity, Haitian immigrant life in Brazil and Independent Farming in Cameroon. We are eager to meet more students who wish to join us in doing this kind of work.

About the Program

We have, perhaps, among the most comprehensive list of talented faculty members and courses from Anthropology, Arabic, Art, Education, English, Film, French and Francophone Studies, Hispanic Studies, German Studies, History, Political Science, Psychological Science, Religion and Sociology.

Think of Africana Studies as a comprehensive liberal arts education encapsulated in one program.

A Quest for Racial Justice: We Must Do More

A girl writes "Black Lives Matter" on a board

The late, legendary Civil Rights icon John Lewis spent his life and career fighting to oppose systemic racism. As this past year has shown, the wheels of progress turn agonizingly slowly. “Take a long, hard look down the road you will have to travel once you have made a commitment to work for change,” Lewis once said. “Know that this transformation will not happen right away. Change often takes time. It rarely happens all at once.” Such transformation requires a community. As President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Sherrilyn Ifill ’84 has said, “It takes an entire ecosystem to make transformational change.” Read more about racial justice