A Message from the Chair


Dear Students, Colleagues, Alumni, and Friends of the Department:

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.

Our scholarly and teaching approach is interdisciplinary, with an educational experience that draws from a number of fields including history, literature, political science, sociology, anthropology, the arts, and education.  We challenge our students to understand the experiences of diverse communities, emphasize critical thinking and writing, foster an appreciation of the relevance of community service and service learning, and cultivate an understanding of the significant contributions of African and African descended peoples throughout the world.

African American and African Studies provides students with a broad, multifaceted education that will prepare them successfully to interact with a dynamic, fast-paced, ever-changing social environment.  Our undergraduate program, which includes major and minor tracks, draws students from across our campus, and serves as an excellent preparation for an array of careers. We are 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 distinguished careers in public or private sector professions like business, teaching, social work, criminal justice, policy, management, administration, and law.

The award-winning faculty, which is widely recognized for mentorship and teaching, serves all students by providing a rigorous understanding and appreciation of Africans, African Americans, and communities of the African Diaspora in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.  As a department of scholars, artists and teachers, the department’s faculty prides itself on uniting stimulating classroom experiences with demanding research and creative programs.

Every year we bring locally and nationally recognized artists, scholars and performers to the university, for the benefit of our Rutgers, Newark and surrounding communities.

We encourage you to browse our web site and meet the faculty and staff.  We also invite you to enroll in a course or participate in a campus event sponsored by the department and share the excitement of building a department and growing field that reflects the history and pride we all feel.

John Keene
Chair, Department of African American and African Studies