Welcome to the Department of Africana Studies.

O Shaughnessy Seal

Academic excellence and social responsibility are the twin pillars defining the discipline of Africana Studies (originally Black Studies) from its very beginnings in 1968.

Placing Africans and their descendants worldwide at the center of our inquiry, Africana Studies takes an interdisciplinary approach in exploring the histories, politics, and cultures of the African diaspora. In doing so, Africana Studies produces essential scholarship while bending its academic talents and resources toward the support of black communities both within and beyond the physical campus.

Here at the University of Notre Dame, Africana Studies has assembled an exceptional group of scholars and teachers, all advancing research in the most vital areas pertinent to African diasporic experiences: black political thought, literacy and education, theology, American and African American politics, African American and Afro-Latin American literature and culture, African American history, and more.

Equally as important, our faculty teach classes that lead students through a course of study that develops highly refined critical reading and writing skills, while cultivating in students the insight and cultural competency to enter a host of professional settings where ethnic and cultural diversity is the standard.

So too, Africana Studies provides an intellectual and physical space to support undergraduate research, offer academic counseling, and support our students more generally in their academic and civic pursuits.

As a result of Africana Studies’ challenging curriculum, quality instruction, and supportive mentoring, our graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers in a myriad of fields including higher education, business, law, medicine, athletic administration, advertising, the arts, public service, and much more.

Also, Africana Studies offers thought-provoking programming for the greater Notre Dame and South Bend communities, programming that confronts issues of systemic racism and celebrates black expressive cultures. In recent years Africana Studies has hosted Ibram X. Kendi (perhaps most famous for How to Be an Antiracist), former Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, and operatic soprano Kathleen Battle. We also collaborate closely with the Initiative on Race and Resilience within the College of Arts and Letters. 

We invite you to major or minor in Africana Studies, visit the department, meet our faculty, and attend our programming. Here you will find courses and professors who will nurture your intellectual lights and work with you to build local, national, and global communities that more fully realize the ideals of equality and justice. Please visit us in our new office suite on the 3rd floor of O'Shaughnessy Hall anytime!

Dr. Mark Sanders
Chair, Department of Africana Studies

Support us

The Department of Africana Studies welcomes your support in any number of ways. We value the time, talent, and treasure of our graduates and friends and welcome collaborative efforts to further our work. Make a gift or connect with the department about other ways to get involved.