About the Program


The Department of African American Studies is an intellectual community committed to producing, refining and advancing knowledge of Black people in the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Africa. A key component of our mission is to interrogate the meanings and dimensions of slavery and colonialism, and their continuing political, social and cultural implications.

Our faculty is drawn from disciplines as diverse as anthropology, cultural studies, linguistics, literature, history, sociology, performance, and creative writing. We are united by a relentless commitment to pushing the boundaries of knowledge through excellence in scholarship and pedagogy that are at once interdisciplinary and innovative.

Featured Events




400 Years of African American History Symposium

This day-long symposium will kick off a year of events at UC Berkeley to mark the 400 year anniversary of the beginning of slavery in North America. The events are being co-organized by the Haas Institute, the African American studies and history departments, the African American Student Development Center, and the Black Staff & Faculty Organization.

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Race and the Law minor

Departments of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies

Race and the Law Summer Minor

The summer minor in Race and the Law is created to develop students’ understanding of the fundamental interconnections between race and the law within and beyond the U.S.  Historically, law has been instrumental in codifying racial difference and establishing racial hierarchies. Contemporary conflicts over migration, citizenship, indigenous claims to land, and environmental justice are part of a broader history that demands attention to the role of the law in creating and contesting social power.  Course offerings will address these issues to demonstrate why law is an essential component of racialization, and conversely, why it is impossible to understand U.S. legal history without addressing race.

Learn more about the program