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.

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

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News and Events

  • “Nordic Utopia? African Americans in the 20th Century”

    This April, African American Studies Professor Dr. Ethelene Whitmire guest curated “Nordic Utopia? African Americans in the 20th Century” with Leslie Anne Anderson, Chief Curator, at the National Nordic Museum. The exhibit was inspired by …

  • Christy Clark-Pujara speaks at the OAH Annual Conference

    Department Chair and Professor of African American Studies, Christy Clark-Pujara, attended the Organization of American Historians (OAH) Annual Conference in New Orleans last week and participated in the Roundtable “The Black Midwest and Public Dialogue: …

  • Cops on Campus: Who Keeps Us Safe? — April 17, 2024

    Paul E. Raether, Davarian Baldwin, Kacie Lucchini Butcher, and Department of African American Studies Affiliate Simon Balto will be giving a panel discussion at the Pyle Center on Wednesday, April 17th on “Cops on Campus: …

  • 2024 Hudson Symposium

    First year graduate students Philip Adeyemi and Forrest Ashworth traveled to the 2024 Hudson Symposium at Indiana University last week to present their research, exchange ideas, and network with scholars and peers on a national …

  • Screenwriting Symposium this Friday and Saturday, 4/12-4/13

    Co-sponsored by The Department of Communication Arts, and the International Screenwriters’ Association, the first annual Wisconsin Screenwriters’ Symposium is a convening of area storytellers, aspiring screenwriters, and film students for a series of workshops, panels, …

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