School of Interdisciplinary Studies African American Studies and Research Center

African American Studies and Research Center

By choosing to major or minor in African American Studies, you will enjoy an exciting and challenging array of courses focused on the experience of African Americans and their connections to the African Diaspora. You will develop a solid theoretical and research basis to pursue either graduate professional study or employment in business or industry. 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. Additionally, our faculty led study-abroad programs offer global engagement that will benefit you upon graduation.

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


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.


Study Abroad

The African American Studies and Research Program at Purdue has been dedicated to engaging the African Diaspora on a global scale. Within the past five years, we have offered study abroad opportunities for you, our students, to Martinique, Cuba, and Brazil. These course offerings are purposefully designed through our Program for you and are generally offered during the summer school modules. We in African American Studies are committed to providing academic opportunities for our students in order to prepare you for participation in the global world enterprise. In addition to our sponsored study abroad courses, we assist students with finding programs through the CIC, CIEE and others. So, get your passports ready, pack your bags and don't forget your books as we in African American Studies take you on a journey into the worlds of Blackness! For more information, please contact (765) 494-5680. The world awaits you!

Please click here to see photos from our 2013 Ghana Study Abroad 


Course Information

Purdue Admissions Website

African American Studies Major

African American Studies Minor

AFAS News and Events

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