The Department of African American and African Studies at Rutgers University-Newark offers students an opportunity to 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.

The African American and African Studies major/minor is 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. Our major can be used in a broad array of fields, such as marketing; journalism; education; and the arts. In future we hope to establish internships for our majors, where they can apply their scholarly knowledge to a particular career. Flexibility is a key characteristic of our program. African American and African Studies majors have a wide array of courses to choose from, and may also take courses in other departments as a way to fulfill electives in their major. Additionally, some of the courses in African American and African Studies may be taken for credit towards a major or minor in another department. The Department of African American and African Studies is dedicated to giving our students the most expansive education possible, and for this reason we allow our students a range of course options, both from within and without the department. Several of our courses are also offered during the evening.

Our Mission

The primary mission of the Department of African American and African Studies is to educate Rutgers University students, residents of the state of New Jersey, and people throughout the world about the unique history, culture, contributions and experiences of Africans and people of African descent throughout the world.  The department encourages and promotes exceptional teaching, scholarship, and research.  The education presented in the department is intended to be systematic, rigorous, and comprehensive.

The department is committed to serving an undergraduate population that is preparing for graduate study and research in traditional and interdisciplinary disciplines as well as for those students preparing to pursue careers in public or private sector professions like teaching, social work, criminal justice, policy, management, administration, and law.

In order to achieve its goal, the department offers experiences in the classroom and beyond that focus on topics and issues of particular importance to those interested in developing a broad, cohesive body of knowledge about black communities throughout the world.

The expertise of faculty in the department and affiliate faculty includes history, literature, sociology, political science, media studies, women and gender studies, and Caribbean studies.