African American Studies

We examine the history of people of African descent from the colonial period through the present. This includes studying racial inequality and social movements and exposing students to the ideas, institutions, and practices that African-American peoples have used to survive and shape the modern world.

Our multidisciplinary program draws upon expertise in the College of the Liberal Arts and Penn State at large while remaining a close-knit family that brings together students, faculty, staff, and the broader African-American community.

Welcome to the Department of African American Studies at Penn State
Adriana Lacy

Meet Adriana Lacy

Alumna Adriana Lacy combined her African American Studies major with her interest in journalism to start The Underground, a student news organization that covers Penn State through a multicultural lens. She’s currently a freelance journalist, audience strategist and journalism professor.
Adriana Lacy

Meet Adriana Lacy

Alumna Adriana Lacy combined her African American Studies major with her interest in journalism to start The Underground, a student news organization that covers Penn State through a multicultural lens. She’s currently a freelance journalist, audience strategist and journalism professor.

Meet Brian Anthony Davis

Alumnus Brian Anthony Davis made the most of his time at Penn State. He was a member of the University’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity, gave a TEDxPSU talk, and received a Rock Ethics Institute Stand Up Award — just to name a few of his achievements. "I would give most of the credit for my success to the African American Studies department— all of my professors there are my mentors, every single one of them," said Davis.

Meet Brian Anthony Davis

Alumnus Brian Anthony Davis made the most of his time at Penn State. He was a member of the University’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity, gave a TEDxPSU talk, and received a Rock Ethics Institute Stand Up Award — just to name a few of his achievements. "I would give most of the credit for my success to the African American Studies department— all of my professors there are my mentors, every single one of them," said Davis.

Latest News

4 months ago

Ray Block, associate professor of political science and African American studies has two milestones to report. Ray and some of his colleagues won some grant money, and he and a team of graduate students recently published the article, "Perceived risk, political polarization, and the willingness to follow COVID-19 mitigation guidelines" in Social Science & Medicine,

4 months ago

Cynthia Young, associate professor of African American Studies and English, recently shared her expertise in the Yahoo News article "Critics say Mastriano’s pledge to make Pennsylvania citizens reregister to vote is aimed squarely at Black Americans".

5 months ago

Support the Department of African American Studies in the College of the Liberal Arts with an award in memory of Yaayaa-Maria Hunt, a 2016 alumna.