Department of African American & African Studies

Established in 1969, the Department of African American & African Studies brings to sharper focus the complexities of Africa, African America, and the African Diaspora through research, teaching, public engagement, and creative activity. Our journey of intellectual, artistic, and personal discoveries begins with the premise that the social, political, economic, and cultural experiences of Africans and peoples of African descent around the globe—then and now—are rich, deep, and dynamic. They are necessary contexts from which to engage with the fundamental and pressing problems of the modern world and in doing so develop critical perspectives to move in a direction to fulfill the promise of a new society, both locally and globally. The diversity of our faculty and course offerings contribute to an environment that encourages rigorous and generative academic work through:

  • Exciting learning in the traditional classroom and in the local and wider communities
  • The cultivation of diasporic consciousness and comparative thinking that enables students to make connections across differences, conflicts, and tensions both within and beyond the Black world
  • A multidisciplinary approach that not only exposes students to the nexus of the local and the global, but also decisively prepares them as engaged citizens for a wide range of professions in education, business, medicine, biological and engineering sciences, law, arts and humanities, journalism, local and transnational advocacy work, and foreign affairs; and
  • Researching and teaching on African American and African issues of local, national and international importance.
Community and Economic Development
Diversity & Inclusion
Education (including Equity, Access, & Student Success)
Environment/Environmental Justice/Sustainability
Poverty (including hunger)
Public Policy
African American
African diaspora
social justice
Campus and College: 
Twin Cities
Liberal Arts
Geographic Scope: 
Type of Engagement: 
Public Service or Outreach