Question everything you’ve been taught about race and racial groups and begin again. You have to question the dominant discourse about every group. Begin again with evidence instead of myth. Look past outcomes to origins. How did we get there? Why does one side of town look like this, and the other side looks like that? The answer is never that one side of town are better people.
– Imani Perry
The Department of African American Studies at Princeton University provides an exciting and innovative model for teaching and research about African-descended people, with a central focus on their experiences in the United States. We embody this mission in a curriculum that reflects the complex interplay between the political, economic, and cultural forces that shape our understanding of the historic achievements and struggles of African-descended people in this country and around the world.
African American Studies at Princeton
In our department at Princeton, we believe African American Studies plays a significant role in producing cosmopolitan people who are capable of not only encountering difference, but thinking about difference in very sophisticated ways.
African American Studies at Princeton was founded in 1969 in response to widespread student demands that African American intellectual traditions be represented at the University. At its inception, the teaching staff of seven was comprised, with one exception, of visiting lecturers and non-tenure-track faculty members representing the following fields: African American Studies, English, History, Politics, and Psychology.
Princeton decided in 2006 to commit itself to the idea of African American Studies. The Center for African American Studies was established. Professor Valerie Smith served as the first director. Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. was appointed chair in 2009.
In July of 2015 the University’s Board of Trustees voted to grant African American Studies academic department status, and approve a concentration in African American Studies.
Today, the faculty members of the Department, whether solely or jointly appointed, are established leaders or rising stars in their respective fields: African American Studies, Art and Archaeology, Comparative Literature, English, History, Psychology, Religion, and Sociology.
Recent Department Publications
The first Annual Report of the new Department of African American Studies. This version of the report omits information of special interest to the Office of the President.
A more comprehensive and descriptive Report, offering a glimpse of Department programs, and information about the faculty and students in the new Department of African American Studies.
A commemorative booklet developed for the 2018 Princeton Reunions and Class Day honoring the first cohort of African American Studies concentrators, and all classes of AAS certificate recipients.
Advisory Council and Undergraduate Board of Advisors
The Advisory Council assists the Department in various strategic efforts.
The Undergraduate Board of Advisors acts as the voice for students in the Department, and plans many events each year.
Department Staff and Requests
Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is Chair of the Department of African American Studies. Please contact Ms. Dionne Worthy to reach Dr. Glaude.
- Request to reserve a Seminar Room in Stanhope Hall
- Request to co-sponsor an event with African American Studies
- Press releases, news about the Department and media inquiries
Our unofficial goal has always been for each Princeton student to have some encounter with African American Studies during their time here.
– Joshua Guild