College of Letters & Science


The Department of Afro-American Studies is committed to bringing academic research to the broadest possible audience, within and beyond the walls of the university. We believe that the deepest understanding of the complex reality of race in America requires a truly interdisciplinary approach, one that draws on history and literature, the social sciences and the arts.

Approved by the Board of Regents in 1970, the Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is an outgrowth of the student concern for relevance in higher education which was so dramatically evidenced on many college campuses during the late 1960s. Today, the department offers a wide variety of courses leading to both undergraduate and graduate degrees and is one of the most successful programs in the country.

Henry Ossawa TannerIda B. WellsW.E.B. Du BoisZora Neale HurstonFannie Lou HamerMarvin GayeSpike Lee

News & Events

Michael Thornton, UW-Madison Afro-American Studies professor  PHOTO BY MICHELLE STOCKER

Michael Thornton says he got his education in the school of hard knocks (before he got his Ph.D. at University of Michigan.) Growing up in a military family, he had to pull up stakes often, and knows what it’s like to live on the wrong side of the tracks.

For the past 28 years, Thornton…

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Doria Dee Johnson

It is with deep sadness that the Afro-American Studies Department announces the passing of former graduate student, Doria Dee Johnson.

Doria earned her Master’s Degree in the Afro-American Studies Department in 2009. Her master’s thesis, “Shh- Big Momma and Dem’ Left Last Night: Shifting…

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Kennedie King
Congratulations to Kennedie King who awarded the Betty Nelson Humanities Scholarship from the College of Letters & Science Undergraduate Scholarships Program. Selecting a recipient is a competitive processes and so it is an honor to be selected and speaks to the student’s academic and civic… Read More


Publication Date: September 2, 2001

Thulani Davis's 1959 is a powerful, poignant coming-of-age novel that captures a dramatic moment in American history as clearly as a photograph.…

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Publication Date: August 1, 1988

Hati and the great powers, 1902 - 1915 examines a critical period of Haitian history and diplomacy.  In this widely researched and persuasively…

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Publication Date: March 1, 1985

Poems consider the past, love, music, romance, art, religion, creation, disease, movies, war, and race relations