About us

The Department of African American Studies began as the Center for Black Studies after a student demonstration in 1970 demanded more black students, faculty, staff, and courses on black people. Another student demonstration in 1989 protested for the establishment of the Department of Africana Studies. In 2015 the name was changed to the Department of African American Studies.

African American Studies is the systematic study of the historical, cultural, intellectual and social development of people of African descent, the societies of which they are a part, and their contribution to world civilization. Its principal geographic domains are the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, the African continent, and increasingly Western Europe where large communities of the African Diaspora reside. The field features a diversity of intellectual approaches and practical interests. Based on an interdisciplinary framework, it draws upon the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences.

Our award-winning professors come from Detroit, other cities in the United States, and Africa and study diverse aspects of the black world. Our students and staff are extremely committed and hard working. Together we want to understand the local, national, and international Black experience and improve the living conditions of all people worldwide. We welcome you to join us in studying the discipline.