A cross-cultural perspective

Our department explores and contributes to the wide range of current research and scholarly opinion on the history, culture, and social status of black Americans and their African heritage. We introduce undergraduates to the field, offering a Bachelor of Arts degree, as well as interdepartmental majors with English, History, Religious Studies, and Sociology. Our degrees combine well with other areas of study.

We are one of only a small number of departments in the country offering a Ph.D. in African American Studies, and one of the few to explore the diaspora component. We also offer a Master of Arts degree, as well as three dual M.A. degrees—in Library and Information Science, with the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and in Creative Writing with the English department.

Ours is a vibrant and active faculty who contribute research of international reach and reputation. We are community-centered, valuing a fusion between scholarship and service. We pride ourselves on maintaining a warm and welcoming department, committed to the promotion of interdisciplinarity and inclusion.

Scholarship, service, + performance

We are committed to academic excellence, community building, providing our students with relevant services, and supporting the university’s effort to retain and recruit African American students.

Our department stresses service learning as part of its philosophy, ensuring that faculty and students create and maintain reciprocity with the Bloomington community as well as with African diasporic communities. We are deeply connected with various campus partners, and offer courses for credit to students who are participants in three performing arts ensembles: The African American Dance Company, IU Soul Revue, and the African American Choral Ensemble.

A humanistic discipline in the democratic tradition

As an intellectual enterprise, we provide an interdisciplinary analysis of the African American and African diasporic experience.

As a humanistic discipline in the democratic tradition, we seek to dispel the myths and expose the attitudes that perpetuate racism in American life. We also affirm the democratic tradition of equal opportunity for all—combating all forms of discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, disability, and religious differences.