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African American Studies and Research Center

African American Studies
Mission Statement:

The mission of African American Studies and Research Center is to provide an interdisciplinary education, which prepares students to be astute readers, clear writers, and critical thinkers.  Our courses allow students to engage complex social problems with the tools of historical resources and theoretical perspectives.  AASRC is building an intellectual community for the 21st century, as students are equipped to adjust to the nuances of our ever-changing world.



29th Bi-Annual Symposium on Culture and Philosphy will be held :
November 20-22, 2014

click here for program booklet


 In the wake of national protests regarding the lack of indictments following the killing of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Purdue University's African American Studies and Reseasrch Center, American Studies Program, and Women's , Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program must acknowledge our solidarity with peaceful protestors across the country who insist that black lives matter.  As faculty, we have heard the anguish of students who are overwhelmed by the state of a society that kills its own citizens with impunity.  We must harness our research regarding racism, sexism, and police profiling, so that we can all feel safe walking the streets and approaching the police.  As scholars and educators who put our research and teaching at the service of justice, we join with anti-racist, feminist, and human rights activists throughout this country in condemning the use of state forces to prey on black people rather than to protect their liberty and their very lives.  As members of the greater Lafayette community, we cannot simply provide intellectual commentary on matters that are affecting our families, friends, and students.  We call on political leaders and those with influence over the criminal justice system to stop hiding behind arcane procedural issues and to step forward with bold solutions to end police violence against black people.  If the grand jury system is broken, we demand it be fixed.  If the police cannot police themselves, we demand they be held accountable and
re-trained.  The situation will not stand and we will not stand for it.

Venetria K. Patton
Director, African American Studies & Research Center

Rayvon D. Fouche
Director American Studies

TJ Boisseau
Director Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program








The African American Studies and Research Center is an interdisciplinary program offering an undergraduate major and minor in African American Studies. Courses are taught by African American Studies faculty from several departments throughout Liberal Arts at Purdue. Students may seek a major or a minor in African American Studies, or may take courses as electives. Additionally, students have the option of a double major in African American Studies and another academic area such as Communications, English, History, Psychology, and Sociology.

The major in African American Studies focuses on the experience of African Americans and their connections to the African Diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America. Coursework addresses such topics as cultural practices, with reference to literature, history, and film as well as inequality as it relates to issues of nationality, race, class, and gender. The major provides students with a solid theoretical and research basis to pursue either graduate professional study or employment in business or industry. In addition, our faculty led study-abroad programs allow students global engagement that will benefit them upon graduation.

The research component of the African American Studies and Research Center sponsors a Harriet A. Jacobs Lecture, W.E.B. Du Bois lecture series, a Talkin' & Testifyin' works in progress series, Conversations on the Diaspora and our annual Symposium on African American Culture & Philosophy. The research component is structured to enhance courses and extend understanding of the African Diaspora. Scholars and artists such as John Kurewa, Houston Baker, Patricia Hill Collins, Vincent Harding, Delores Aldridge, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Darlene Clark Hine and Ntozake Shange have participated in lectures sponsored by the African American Studies and Research Center. Students are encouraged to participate in the AASRC sponsored programs.

Why should you take our courses?

You may be an engineering major from Gary, Indiana; a management major from Chicago, Illinois; or an English major from Detroit, Michigan. You may be planning a career in teaching, management, or technology. As a student in an African American Studies course, you will understand the history of interaction of peoples in a pluralistic society. This is essential for working in our diverse society, especially for those in government, journalism, human resources, business, law, education, engineering and public service.

Whoever you are and whatever you plan to become, you must have questions about yourself, your environment, your future, your culture, and society. African American Studies can provide engaging answers to these and other issues.

"Education is more than the mere imparting of information. Above all things, the effort must result in making one think and do for oneself. The only way one can function efficiently in society is to know oneself. In studying the records of others one becomes better acquainted with oneself and with one's possibilities to live and do in the present age."

Carter G. Woodson, 1933


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