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 working at the New York Times after completing a post-graduation internship there.
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 working at the New York Times after completing a post-graduation internship there.

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

2 weeks ago

Amira Rose Davis, assistant professor of history and African American studies, has been named a 2021 Mellon Emerging Faculty Leader by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation’s Institute for Citizens and Scholars. The Mellon awards “support junior faculty whose research focuses on contemporary American history, politics, culture, and society, and who are committed to the creation of an inclusive campus community for underrepresented students and scholars.”

2 weeks ago

Dara Walker, assistant professor of African American studies; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; and history in the College of the Liberal Arts, has been named a postdoctoral fellow for 2021 by the National Academy of Education (NAEd), an honorary educational society whose mission is to improve education policy and practice by advancing high-quality research. Walker is one of 25 scholars selected from a competitive pool of 249 applicants.