Welcome to the Department of Africana Studies. 

Africana Studies is a department with an unusual mission within the University of Notre Dame. Our geographic interests span the globe, incorporating African American experience in the US, the African Diaspora throughout the Americas, Europe and the African continent.  The Department’s intellectual interests cross an array of disciplines in the humanities, the social sciences, the arts, business and the sciences.  

We also take responsibility for engaging Notre Dame’s students, faculty and administrators in understanding the importance of African American intellectual research, cultural and religious traditions.  The integration of spiritual values with the intellectual are important commitments for the department and its faculty, as has been the case among Africans in the Americas and wherever they exist.  

Njeri Williams

The Department includes core and related faculty with a rich array of intellectual interests in English, Education, History, Theology and Political Science. Classes in our unit are small, allowing faculty to work closely with their students. This also allows our pedagogical approaches to be responsive and flexible enough to incorporate the interests students aren’t always able to explore in other, larger departments with more structured curricula. 

Given the global scope of Africana Studies, its interdisciplinary breadth, and our campus mission, the Department attracts some of the brightest and most innovative students at Notre Dame. For example, recent Africana Studies graduates Alex Coccia and Emmie Mediate are two highly accomplished Africana Studies majors, each of whom went on to become the University’s most recent Rhodes Scholars in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Their undergraduate research, study abroad and passionate engagement led to their graduation with a host of honors. Emmie and Alex are only two examples of the varied and rich futures our majors and minors pursue. 

We currently have graduates pursuing careers in varied industries and service related fields.  We also have students studying in graduate programs in higher education, law, public service, medicine and other fields at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions. We invite you to enroll in our courses, visit the department, meet our faculty and attend our lectures and programs.


Dr. Dianne Pinderhughes
Chair, Department of Africana Studies