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

1 month ago

Congratulations to Timeka Tounsel on the publication of "Transfiguring Theaters for Disrespectable Leisure: An Ethnography on Black Womxn’s Ratchet Performances in Movie Showings of Girls Trip" in Oxford's "Journal of Communication"!

1 month ago

Please join us in congratulating Keith Gilyard on the recent publication of his ambitious and energetic poetry collection, "Impressions: New and Select Poems"!

2 months ago

Please join us in congratulating AFAM affiliate faculty member Josh Inwood on the recent publication of his essay (with Anne Bonds of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee) in the journal Society + Space, “Relations of Power: The U.S. Capitol Insurrection, White Supremacy and US Democracy.”