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

Ntozake Shange
Poet, novelist, and trailblazing playwright Ntozake Shange died this weekend in Bowie, MD., at the age of 70. She was only the second African-American woman ever to have a play on Broadway. Shange is best known for her famous play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is… Read More
Aretha and Religion: Reflections on the Queen of Soul flyer
Date & Time:
H.F. Deluca Forum, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
"Aretha and Religion: Reflections on the Queen of Soul, Religion, and Culture" is a faculty panel featuring Craig Werner, Alexander Shashko, Susan Ridgely, and Corrie Norman, and will take place in the H.F. DeLuca Forum. An introduction will be provided by John Baldacchino, Director of the Division… Read More
Arethra Franklin
Two members of the Afro-American Studies faculty contributed to national tributes to Arethra Franklin — Thulani Davis on All Things Considered Craig Werner on… Read More


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

Rhonda Mawhood Lee
Publication Date: January 20, 2015

Love and Happiness is a profound meditation on the meaning of eros, the creative and disturbing power usually thought of as romantic love…

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