In 1969, Washington University began offering courses under the rubric of Black Studies. It was a momentous occurrence. A Black Studies Program was meant to reassure students about the core mission of their education: to change the world’s values to bring about the liberation of African-descended peoples from the thralldom of Eurocentric hegemony. Fifty years later, that tradition lives on in today's Department of African and African-American Studies (AFAS).discover our history
About Our Department
Our faculty pursue interests across the spectrum of African and African-American studies. In addition to our expertise in core subjects areas like English, history, sociology, and anthropology, AFAS faculty are actively engaged in interdisciplinary, practice-oriented fields across Washington University, including social work and public health, architecture and design, computer science, business, law, and education.
The department regularly sponsors lectures and events, such as plays, film festivals, exhibits, field trips, and panels and speakers, which focus on contemporary or perennial topics of interest in all areas of the Black experience. In many cases, guest lecturers and artists visit classes and interact directly with our students and others across the campus community. Through our scholarship, teaching, and broader engagement activities we seek to foster a vibrant and impactful social and intellectual community of African and African-American Studies.
Panel: Ghost Sanctuary
Jonathan Stitelman, visiting assistant professor of architecture and urban design, Sam Fox School, and students in this semester’s graduate architecture studio course “Ghost Sanctuary” discuss the notion of sanctuary in relation to their own work and to Ai Weiwei: Bare Life.View Event
Panel: Ghost Sanctuary
Inspired by both the exhibition and philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer, the course focuses on places of comfort to which we can no longer return, with students considering their own individual experiences and exploring ideas through both digital and analog representation.
Free and open to the public.Full Event Details
Truths and Reckonings: The Art of Transformative Racial Justice
In Truths and Reckonings, a Teaching Gallery opening in Spring 2020 at Kemper Art Museum, AFAS professor Geoff Ward creates a "pop-up" memorial museum to explore the roles of art works and art spaces in addressing histories of racial violence, their legacies, and the need for repair.View Event
ASA's mission is to advance political, social, cultural, and economic awareness about the African continent by engaging individuals in dialogue that will establish a deeper understanding and appreciation of the dynamic cultures within the continent.
The Association of Black Students is an organization with a rich, powerful history of fellowship, service, and advocacy at Washington University..
The mission of the BAC is to support the professional and personal development of WashU black alumni, to assist in the recruitment and retention of African-American students, and to enhance the continued growth and development of the university.
Black Anthology was founded in 1989. It is an annual performance that is written, choreographed, directed, and produced entirely by Washington University students.
AFAS Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2020-2021
The Department of African and African American Studies (AFAS) at Washington University in St. Louis invites applications from recent Ph.D. graduates in the humanities and social sciences for a one-year postdoctoral fellowship, with the option to apply for a second-year renewal. The fellowship aims to support junior scholars whose research focuses on topics related to Africa, African Americans, and/or the African Diaspora by providing them with opportunities for mentorship, advancing their research, and enhancing their teaching. Follow the link below for more information about the fellowship and application instructions.AFAS Postdoctoral Fellowship