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. 


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AFAS Alumni '10, Dr. Heather Skanes, highlighted in the New York Times for her work surrounding Black Maternal Health

AFAS Alumni '10, Dr. Heather Skanes, highlighted in the New York Times for her work surrounding Black Maternal Health

AFAS Summer Institute Recap

Enjoy a brief recap of our inaugural Summer Institute, where we welcomed educators from the St. Louis metropolitan area. These educators either integrate elements of Black culture, history, and literature into their courses or teach at a school that currently offers or intends to introduce the AP/African American Studies course.

AFAS Faculty Lead the Way with New Ampersand Hip-Hop Class

Faculty members Jonathan Fenderson and Zachary Manditch-Prottas are uniting students from diverse disciplines in a rigorous study of hip-hop and rap, the predominant music of their generation.

AFAS Highlights - Students/ Alumni/Faculty

AFAS Highlights - Students/ Alumni/Faculty

campus organizations

  • African Students Association

    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.

  • Association of Black Students

    The Association of Black Students is an organization with a rich, powerful history of fellowship, service, and advocacy at Washington University..

  • Black Alumni Council

    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

    Black Anthology was founded in 1989. It is an annual performance that is written, choreographed, directed, and produced entirely by Washington University students.

My time in AFAS provided me with a family that kept me focused and motivated throughout my time at WashU. There was an abundance of resource sharing and support from both students and faculty. My time in AFAS also encouraged me to ask questions and challenge the erasure of Blackness in other areas of study. AFAS gave me a second home while at WashU, and continues to keep me rooted today.

―Ashley ThompsonClass of 2021, double major in Political Science and AFAS with a minor in Sociology. She is currently a second-year law student at Stanford Law School.