From left to right: Kweku Andrews, William L. Van Deburg, Freida High, Alex Haley, and Tom Shick photographed together in the mid-1970s.

Committed to bringing academic research to the broadest possible audience, the Department of African American Studies at UW–Madison believes the deepest understanding of the complex reality of race in America requires a truly interdisciplinary approach. Within and beyond the walls of the university, our studies draw on history, literature, the social sciences, and the arts.

Approved by the Board of Regents in 1970, the Department of African American Studies (formerly Afro-American Studies) is an outgrowth of the student concern for relevance in higher education which was so dramatically evidenced on many college campuses during the late 1960s. Today, the department offers a wide variety of courses leading to both undergraduate and graduate degrees and is one of the most successful programs in the country.

Enrollment for Fall 2024 courses is open.

See the full list of our course offerings here.

Professor Brittney Edmonds discussing Ann Petry's "The Street" in AfroAmer222: "Introduction to Black Women Writers"

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News and Events

Our colleague and friend, Nina Liamba, passed away unexpectedly on April 26, 2024.


Nina was kind, quiet, and generous. She was a devoted mother, and beloved daughter and sister. Nina had a welcoming spirit and smile. Her easygoing personality and the pictures of her children in her office invited casual conversations about our lives outside of work. As the Student Affairs Program Coordinator, Nina was often the first point of contact for our students, and she went out of her way to accommodate their needs and requests. Her patience was noted by many.


Nina’s abrupt passing reminds us of the importance of our relationships and the gratitude we share for one another.