Photo by Paul Everett available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

Photo by Paul Everett available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

Chair's Welcome

Welcome to the UC Irvine Department of African American Studies!

Our faculty examines the history, culture and politics of African-derived peoples worldwide and features a range of disciplinary background, methodological approach, and topical focus. To paraphrase eminent Black feminist literary scholar Hortense Spillers, there is not a subject in the modern world that does not relate directly to the aims, objects, and concerns of African American Studies.

The program lays particular emphasis upon African Americans in the United States, but situates this emphasis within a global perspective and supplements this emphasis with sustained consideration of Black peoples throughout the Americas, the Caribbean, and the African continent, and in various regions of Europe and Asia. Engaging broadly across the arts, humanities and social sciences, we possess notable strengths in critical theory, visual studies, and intersectional analysis of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

African American Studies offers a major and a minor course of undergraduate study and regularly offers graduate seminars through the Culture and Theory Ph.D. Program. Faculty members also contribute to the Ph.D. programs in Comparative Literature, Criminology, Drama, English, History, and Visual Studies as well as to the graduate emphases in Critical Theory and Feminist Studies.

Our majors and minors often combine training in African American Studies with instruction in traditional disciplines like Economics, Psychology, or Sociology; or in kindred interdisciplinary programs like Women’s Studies. Others join coursework in African American Studies with concentration in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. Our curriculum is tailored to support precisely this sort of learning across programs, departments, and schools.

African American Studies graduates go on to a variety of opportunities, including top-ranked graduate and professional programs in counseling, education, law, medicine, policy, and social work; and employment with the gamut of public agencies, non-profit groups, private foundations and charitable organizations. In preparation for such future endeavors, all of our students are strongly encouraged to pursue education abroad and undergraduate research.

Come talk with us about how African American Studies can work for you.

- Bridget R. Cooks, Department Chair