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About Us

Our department is Duke’s center for interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship on Africa and people of African descent around the world, in particular the Black Atlantic. We host anthropologists, humanists, political scientists, historians, sociologists, geneticists, scholars of the performing arts and literature whose work engages questions of race, class, gender, sexuality, politics and the law to study the conditions and experiences of Africans and communities of the African diaspora.

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Featured Video

Department Chair Mark Anthony Neal, Director of Graduate Studies Karin Shapiro, and Director of Undergraduate Studies Charmaine D. Royal, present a video message to the Class of 2021 to salute them on their achievement

Academic Offerings

Our program provides a broad liberal arts education and prepares for the increasingly rigorous expectations of prospective employers. Our program appeals to students considering admission to graduate or professional schools, and careers in education, business, law, politics, the media and publishing, international relations, arts and performance, development or humanitarian aid, and global health, or social work.

For Undergraduates

We offer a Bachelor of Arts and minor to equip students with bodies of knowledge that emerge from studying the culture, history and social reality of African and African-American peoples, and of those of African descent across the diaspora.

For Graduate Students

Combining course work, teaching and research, we also offer a Graduate Certificate for students enrolled in doctoral and master's programs at Duke.

Featured Courses


Examines all 60 episodes of the HBO series "The Wire." Described as "socially robust" by one television scholar, the series dramatizes the real world experiences of poor, mostly African American,… read more about The Wire »

AAAS 210

Focuses on African history in twentieth century. Explores history of European colonialism, African nationalism, and the roots of contemporary African issues ranging from conflict and governance to… read more about Modern Africa »


New York Scenes will focus on the various cultural institutions, scenes, establishments, happenings, hang-outs, movements, etc., that make up New York City. Early in the semester, students will… read more about New York Scenes »

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Degree Programs
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African American Studies National Rank*
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Courses Offered

*National Ranking of Top Colleges for African American Studies Majors by College Magazine