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African American & African Studies


We study the cultures of Africa and its diaspora from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.  Our course offerings focus on African societies as well as on African-descended communities of the United States,the Caribbean, Latin America, and other African diaspora communities around the world. The faculty of African American and African Studies are all specialists of Africana scholarship but trained in a variety of fields, among these literature, history, sociology, political studies, and anthropology. Our courses are mostly interdisciplinary and designed to integrate scholarship on race, gender, and class. Several of our courses are cross-listed with other units. We offer courses that fulfill the general education requirement as well as the intensive writing requirement.

How You Will Learn

Geared towards both the scholarly and the working world, we aim to produce graduates who are ready for advanced graduate study in the humanities or social sciences. We also aim to produce professionals who can work in a variety of fields that require an understanding of the history and cultures of African and African-descended peoples. This major can be used in a broad array of fields,including education; law; health professions; marketing; journalism; and the arts. We encourage our majors to pursue internships, where they can apply their scholarly knowledge to a particular career. Flexibility is a key characteristic of our program.

John Keene

John Keene

Welcome to the Department of African American and African Studies at Rutgers University-Newark.

Our department, which was founded in 1970 as a result of student activism, is one of the oldest departments of African American and African Studies in the nation. We are committed to cultivating and bringing together a diverse community of students, scholars and artists interested in better understanding the experiences and contributions of people of African descent throughout the world.

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John Keene
Chair, Department of African American and African Studies

Featured Course

Black-ish and the Black Middle Class

This introductory-level course will interrogate the meaning of blackness primarily through the optics of the African American middle class.

"Black-ish and the Black Middle Class" course title superimposed on cast photo of sitcom showing family talking and laughing.


John Keene

John Keene

Professor and Chair of African American and African Studies

Wendell P. Holbrook

Wendell P. Holbrook

Associate Professor

Lauren O’Brien

Lauren O’Brien

Teaching Assistant

Aliya King

Alumni Spotlight

Aliya S. King is an award-winning journalist and the author of Platinum.

She is the co-author of Original Gangster and the New York Times bestseller Keep the Faith. Her work has appeared in Vibe, Giant, Uptown, Essence, King, Ms., Us Weekly, and Teen People.