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.
Gerald Early Interviews Professor Emeritus Robert L. Williams II
In early 2019 Dr. Gerald Early, the current chair of African and African American Studies, sat down to interview the unit's founding director, Dr. Robert L. Williams, to mark the 50th anniversary of Black Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.
History of Black Studies
Gerald Early talks about how black studies programs came to college campuses across America. In spring 2017, Early oversaw a milestone for African and African-American Studies, when the former program in Arts & Sciences became a full department.
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.