Department of African and African American Studies

Bachelor of Arts in African and African American Studies

The study of the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora has a long and dynamic history. So too does the Department of African and African American Studies (AAAS) at Brandeis. AAAS is one of the oldest departments of its kind in the country, founded in 1969 at the height of a movement to institutionalize Black studies in U.S. colleges and universities.

Just as Black studies is a foundational field, AAAS is a foundational department. People of African descent, in countless ways, have transformed the cultures of the Americas and the world. African, African American and Caribbean thinkers have also played a major role in defining some of the most critical issues in modern history of our time, just as the cultures of Africans and their descendants have transformed the cultures of the Americas and the world.

As a AAAS major or minor, you will take courses in the humanities, creative arts and social sciences. You will gain the analytical tools needed to read, write, talk and think knowledgeably about the past, present and future of Black people on the African continent, in the Americas and around the world.

The possibilities of a degree in AAAS are endless. Some of our students go on to pursue graduate study in African and African American studies or in a discipline represented in our department. Others use their knowledge to pursue careers in health care, social work, government, international organizations, business, journalism, law, education and other professions.

Why Brandeis?

At Brandeis, you will be taught by award-winning AAAS faculty from a range of disciplines who are  active, research-intensive scholars and dedicated to their students. They will encourage you to think and learn deeply about this vibrant field of study.

As a AAAS student at Brandeis, you'll explore cultures, histories and societies of African and African-descended people through an approach that is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary, both comparative and cross-cultural. Indeed, our department prides itself on the diversity of disciplines represented by our faculty, which include sociology, creative arts, law, history, literature, music, politics and more.

Academics and Research

Faculty and Student Excellence

Beyond the Classroom

Careers, Graduate Study and Alumni

“If there's one thing that defines a Brandeis student, it is passion. All the people I've been lucky enough to get to know over the past few years all have passion — to fight for racial equality, gender equality or climate change.”

Hannah Young ’15