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Department of African American Studies

Learn about the interplay between political, economic and cultural forces unique to the global African experience and central to American culture. Shape your understanding through interdisciplinary study and draw insights from the arts, religion, sociology and more.

African American Studies (AAS) investigates the cultural, literary, historical, socioeconomic and other issues affecting the African, African American, and African Caribbean experiences, and ultimately the Black experience in the United States.

Gain historical understanding and insight through the lens of the humanities by examining art, literature, religion and music of the Pan African world. Discover social and scientific influences through the interdisciplinary study of sociology, political science, economics and anthropology.

Multiple viewpoints
Teaching and research emphasizes critical and analytical skills to prepare you to think, write and speak critically, and to make your own sense of the world.

Supplement your studies of the African diaspora and the life and culture of Black people at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library. Access special collections and a wide variety of media, personal papers, artifacts and photographs.

Broaden your understanding and link your studies to the local community by studying at, visiting or working at the Community Folk Art Center.

The Africa Initiative is a campus-wide project focused on Africa highlighting teaching, research and publications by Syracuse University scholars representing a variety of disciplines including the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences, mathematics, engineering and others.

What can I do with my degree?
As a graduate of the AAS program, your future is unlimited. Studying African American Studies will give you many skills desired by future employers, such as:

  • Analytical and creative thinking
  • Writing and speaking
  • Multi-cultural awareness
  • Research
  • Synthesizing new ideas
  • Problem-solving

Whatever your interests, your liberal arts degree can take you far—from journalism, politics or education to film, public policy or law. To learn more about all your options, talk to your advisor.

Study Abroad
Students of African American Studies are encouraged to explore credit-bearing study options, including summer programs, through Syracuse University Abroad and its partners.

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Books by AAS Faculty
Latest News
James Rolling Jr. headshot.

(May 1, 2024)

A&S Names Interim Chair of the Department of African American Studies

Professor James Haywood Rolling Jr., a faculty member of SOE, will serve a two-year term as interim chair of AAS.

Side by side portraits of Kishi Ducre and Alan Middleton.

(Aug. 21, 2023)

A Commitment to A&S Excellence

Dean Mortazavi recognizes Kishi Animashaun Ducre and Alan Middleton, outgoing associate deans, for their achievements in fostering equity and inclusion and research excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences.

(Aug. 17, 2023)

Remembering Ralphaline (Rae) A. Banks

Professor Banks offered courses about race, inequality and the Black experience in A&S.

Micere Mugo headshot.

(July 27, 2023)

Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo Celebration & Memorial

The celebration and memorial dates for Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo are from Friday, July 28 to Monday, July 31, 2023.