African American Studies

University of California, Berkeley


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 the mission is to interrogate the meanings and dimensions of slavery and colonialism, and their continuing political, social and cultural implications.

The Department fully embraces the notion that a public institution can lead in shaping and defining disciplines, not just teaching them. It contributes to this mission by investing in a strong faculty and talented and ambitious graduate students from a variety of backgrounds. Faculty is drawn from disciplines as diverse as anthropology, cultural studies, linguistics, literature, history, sociology, performance, and education. But, the department is not simply a collection of experts from traditional disciplines; it is united by a relentless commitment to pushing the boundaries of knowledge through excellence in scholarship and pedagogy that are at once interdisciplinary and innovative.

Undergraduate Programs

African American Studies: BA, Minor

Graduate Program

African American Studies: PhD

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African American Studies

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Brandi N. Catanese, Associate Professor. Critical race theory, African American theater, non-traditional casting, racial performativity, gender studies, sexuality studies, American popular culture.
Research Profile

Chiyuma Elliott, Assistant Professor. Poetry and poetics, visual culture, creative writing, intellectual history .
Research Profile

Nikki Jones, Associate Professor. African American communities, policing, racial/gender disparities and the criminal justice system, violence and violence interventions.
Research Profile

Sam A. Mchombo, Associate Professor. African languages, linguistics, political development, sports and politics, national identity, globalization .
Research Profile

G. Ugo Nwokeji, Associate Professor. Atlantic slave trade, historical demography, African history and political economy, oil and gas policy .
Research Profile

Tianna Paschel, Assistant Professor. Racial ideology, politics and globalization in Latin America, Black political subjects, transnationalism .
Research Profile

John Powell, Professor. Civil rights and civil liberties, structural racialization, racial justice and regionalism, concentrated poverty and urban sprawl, opportunity based housing, voting rights, affirmative action in the United States, South Africa and Brazil, racial and ethnic identity, spirituality and social justice, and the needs of citizens in a democratic society.
Research Profile

Leigh Raiford, Associate Professor. Social movements, visual culture, memory, photography, African American history and culture.
Research Profile

Darieck Scott, Associate Professor. 20th and 21st century African American literature, creative writing, queer theory, and LGBTQ studies, race, gender and sexuality in fantasy, science fiction, and comic books .
Research Profile

Janelle Scott, Associate Professor. Educational policy, charter schools, politics of education, race and education, school choice, desegregation, philanthropy and education, advocacy.
Research Profile

Stephen Small, Associate Professor. Public history, collective memory, African diaspora in Europe.
Research Profile

+ Ula Taylor, Professor. African American studies, cultural African American history, colonial times, civil rights movement of the 60's, African American women's history, cultural, institutional and individual racism, United States.
Research Profile


Michael Cohen, Lecturer SOE.

Aya De Leon, Lecturer.

David Kyeu, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Robert Allen, Professor Emeritus.

William M. Banks, Professor Emeritus.

Charles Henry, Professor Emeritus. Human rights, Black politics, race and public policy.
Research Profile

Percy Hintzen, Professor Emeritus.

Margaret B. Wilkerson, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

Department of African American Studies

660 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-7084

Fax: 510-642-0318

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Department Chair

Ula Taylor

Phone: 510-642-7084

Graduate Adviser

Lindsey Villarreal

662 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-3419

Undergraduate Adviser

Althea Grannum-Cummings

608 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-8513

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