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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

W.E.B. Du Bois Department


Welcome to the official website for the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst.  The Department is an intellectual, professional, and social community that stands at the forefront of global education and research on people of African descent in the United States and the world.  Please browse the site to learn more about who we are and what we do behind the doors of New Africa House on the UMass flagship campus and beyond.

FALL 2016

Afro-American Studies Course Guide

Upcoming Events



VIDEO now available on YouTube:

June Jordan Symposium

March 25, 2016


The Feminist Wire's Forum on June Jordan, published in conjunction with our Symposium, is live at:



Department News


Dr. Trimiko Melancon (Ph.D. 2005)

"An Ugly Truth about Black People and Money: When Blacks Get It, Were It, and Will Be on It."

See Dr. Melancon's recent article in The Huffington Post: "What Can We Learn from Orlando to Lessen or Prevent Mass Shootings?" 

Professor Steve Tracy to be Inducted into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is pleased to announce that SThe Huffington Postteve Tracy of Amherst, MA will be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Tracy is currently a Professor in Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tracy is among approximately 32,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors, having at least 72 semester hours, are eligible for membership. Graduate students in the top 10 percent of the number of candidates for graduate degrees may also qualify, as do faculty, professional staff, and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction. Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine and headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society. The Society has chapters on more than 300 college and university campuses in North America and the Philippines. Its mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."

More About Phi Kappa Phi
Since its founding, more than 1 million members have been initiated. Some of the organization's more notable members include former Presidents William Howard Taft and Jimmy Carter, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, poet Rita Dove, pianist Dave Brubeck, novelist David Baldacci, and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley. The Society has awarded approximately $15 million since the inception of its awards program in 1932. Today, $1 million is awarded each biennium to qualifying students and members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad grants, member and chapter awards and grants for local and national literacy initiatives.

UMass Amherst Astronomers Report Most ‘Outrageously’ Luminous Galaxies Ever Observed

March 22, 2016 Contact: Janet Lathrop

AMHERST, Mass. – Astronomers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst report that they have observed the most luminous galaxies ever seen in the Universe, objects so bright that established descriptors such as “ultra-” and “hyper-luminous” used to describe previously brightest known galaxies don’t even come close. Lead author and undergraduate Kevin Harrington says, “We’ve taken to calling them ‘outrageously luminous’ among ourselves, because there is no scientific term to apply.” Details appear in the current early online edition of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Harrington is a senior undergraduate in astronomy professor Min Yun’s group, which uses the 50-meter diameter Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT), the largest, most sensitive single-aperture instrument in the world for studying star formation. It is operated jointly by UMass Amherst and Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica and is located on the summit of Sierra Negra, a 15,000-foot extinct volcano in the central state of Puebla, a companion peak to Mexico’s highest mountain.   Read full article here from News and Media Office.


Check out Kevin Harrington's recent interview "Local Youth Shooting for the Stars" and with WCAI at: 

Kevin Harrington is a minor in Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst.

Dr. Chris Tinson (Ph.D. 2010) wins Gruber Award for Excellence in Teaching

Mtali Banda

Oneness Project – Open Your Hear (Barnhouse Studio Session)

The November 2012 newsletter of the Organization of American Historians has a brief article, accompanied by a pie chart,  that begins as follows: "African American history topics were the most popular for the OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program during the 2011-2012,accounting for nearly a quarter of all lectures given."  We are glad that there is such an interest in African American history. We also must acknowledge that the need for scholars in this field is not being met by the full time faculty at many of the institutions requesting guest lecturers. Our department  will continue to do our part in producing first rate graduates who will be available as openings occur.    Professors John Bracey, a Life Member of the OAH since 1964, and Manisha Sinha have served as Distinguished Lecturers for several years.  

*Click on chart for pdf version.




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W.E.B. Du Bois Department of
Afro-American Studies
329 New Africa House
180 Infirmary Way
UMass Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003
Phone: (413) 545- 2751
Fax: (413) 545-0628

(Photo by Ed Cohen)

Department Links:



College of Humanities & Fine Arts

Faculty Presentation Grants (CHFA)

Faculty Senate Course Proposal Submission

ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst Afro-Am Collections

Afro-Am Librarian-Isabel Espinal

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Studies


NCBS Online

The African Studies Review