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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.


Upcoming Events



UMass History Department invites you to a special event:

The Integrated Lunch Counter

Monday, Nov. 3rd at 12 p.m.

Hampshire Room, Hampshire Dining Commons

Book Signings at Amherst Books

Thursday, December 4th at 5 p.m.

Shawn Alexander (Ph.D. 2004)

An Army of Lions: The Civil Rights Struggle Before the NAACP

T. Thomas Fortune the Afro-American Agitator: Collection of Writings, 1880-1928


Friday, December 5th at 3 p.m.

Sonia Sanchez, John Bracey and James Smethurst

SOS-Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader

































Augusta Savage Art Gallery

Check out their upcoming exhibits!

CMASS Weekly Bulletin

"The Physical Uplift of the Race: The Emergence of the African American Physical Culture Movement, 1900-1930" by J. Anthony Guillory

November 13th at 5:00 p.m.

Sam Houston State University




Department News


The 2014 Constance Rourke Prize

Chair: Franny Nudelman, Carleton University

Rick Baldoz, Oberlin College

Kathleen Donegan, University of California, Berkeley


The Constance Rourke Prize has been awarded annually since 1987 for the best article published in American Quarterly.  The winner of this year’s prize is Janet M. Davis, "Cockfight Nationalism: Bloodsport and the Moral Politics of American Empire and Nation Building," Volume 65, Number 3, September 2013.


Finalist mention goes to Britt Rusert, “Delany’s Comet: Fugitive Science and the Speculative Imaginary of Emancipation,” Volume 65, Number 4, December 2013.

See photos from the Footprints of Peace celebration with John Bracey and Sonia Sanchez, et al.

New England Regional Student Program (NERP)

Afro-American Studies Majors Qualify from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The NERP allows students from the six New England states, who are enrolled in certain programs not offered by their home-state public college or universities, to pay a reduced tuition rate. Not all programs are available in the NERP at UMass.

See the Registrar's Office for details.

Check out our Department News & Events Page for more....

On the evening of January 4, 2013 William Cronon, President of the American Historical Association, awarded the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies with the AHA's Institutional Equity Award for its training and placing of minority historians in the academy. Manisha Sinha, Graduate Program Director and the Jobs Placement Officer of the department for its History-Politics track accepted the award on behalf of the department.

Established over 40 years ago, the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the oldest African American Studies departments in the country. In 1996, this department established a pioneering doctoral program in African American Studies, emphasizing solid disciplinary training in history.  As one of the referees highlighted: "Not only was this doctoral program one of the first in the country but it has since its founding graduated a record number of minority students who have gone on to tenure track positions in history throughout the country."  As one graduate of the department noted, "I learned how to think like a historian and how to be a historian in the academy....Not only did I receive great mentorship, but the graduate program also encouraged me to mentor others, including undergraduate students whom I taught."

This prize is given to recognize individuals and institutions that have achieved excellence in recruiting and retaining underrepresented racial and ethnic groups into the historical profession.  The Department will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the Annual Meeting in New Orleans. You can find information on the AHA's web site, at


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