The Department of African American Studies is an interdisciplinary academic unit, which engages in teaching and research on the global African experience. Thus our priority is to focus on and engage in teaching and research about the African, African American and African Caribbean experience, indeed, the global Black world, centering on the Black experience in the United States. We seek not only to counter-balance the Eurocentric bias that has too often ignored or distorted the perception of Africa and Africans, but more importantly to investigate, illuminate and celebrate the world African experience in its own right
History: African American Studies (AAS) came into the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) as a department in 1979. Prior to becoming a department, it existed as a program for eight years (since 1971). As a program, AAS had no affiliation with CAS or any other college or university within Syracuse University (SU). AAS faculty, successfully worked with SU in creating a set of bylaws, called the 13-Point Document, that institutionally fostered departmental growth and status. In this document, departmental provisions are made for items such as new faculty hires, faculty post-docs and teaching assistantships—provisions that created a path for the department to expand in faculty size, the visiting professorships of esteemed scholars like Patricia McFadden and Angela Davis (2008-2010), and the creation of the Masters Program, Pan-African Studies (2005). AAS has been connecting its scholarship to the Syracuse community since its inception. This has been most notably done thru affiliated programs such as the Community Folk Art Center (formerly the Community Folk Art Gallery) (1971), Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company (1989-2010), and the Africa Initiative (2005). Other affiliated programs include The Martin Luther King Library, Paris Noir Summer Abroad Program, and Black Syracuse Community History & Mapping Project.
Dates of existence: 1979-present