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  • 50th Anniversary Virtual Symposium

    Over three days, 22-24 October 2020, the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies will hold a virtual symposium to recognize fifty years on the UMass Amherst campus. The fiftieth anniversary theme is Conscious to Woke: Fifty Years of Revolutionary Black Thought.

    The symposium will present student-activist and faculty founders of Black studies on this campus and in the Pioneer Valley along with current students and faculty  who will discuss the history of the department’s founding and provide insight on the student movement establishing Black Studies in Western Massachusetts. 

    Follow the 50th anniversary on all social media platforms at #Conscious2Woke2020. View the virtual symposium program and anniversary scrapbook here:

  • Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights

    Parker examines the movement to racially integrate white-collar work and consumption in American department stores, and broadens our understanding of historical transformations in African American class and labor formation.


  • Fugitive Science: Empiricism and Freedom in Early African American Culture

    Honorable Mention, 2019 MLA Prize for a First Book
    Sole Finalist Mention for the 2018 Lora Romero First Book Prize, presented by the American Studies Association
    Rusert's book exposes the influential work of a group of black artists to confront and refute scientific racism. Traversing the archives of early African American literature, performance, and visual culture, Britt Rusert uncovers the dynamic experiments of a group of black writers, artists, and performers.



  • Afro-American Studies at UMass

    One of the largest departments of its kind, the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies serves students seeking in-depth knowledge of the history and culture of black people in the Americas and the worldwide African Diaspora.


Dr. Ashford's Recent Article and Book Review

October 19, 2020

Medical Messiahs: African American Women in Mississippi Medicine, 1900-1940 ...

Spotlight Scholar: Professor James Smethurst

October 16, 2020

Black Arts Matter...

Dr. Julia Bernier's Article - AAIHS

October 16, 2020

Bail Funds, Buying Freedom, and a History of Abolition...

More News »


There are no upcoming events at this time.

For comprehensive resources and updates regarding the University's response to COVID-19, please visit the UMass Amherst Coronavirus website.

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Why Afro-American Studies?

Our department is named for the great intellectual, a native of our Western Massachusetts region, who was the first academic scholar to pioneer the systematic study of people of African descent in the U.S. and throughout world. To earn a degree in Afro-American Studies, to take courses leading to a certificate or a minor is to follow in W.E.B. Du Bois’ footsteps of academic excellence and social responsibility.

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