Professor Emeritus William E. Nelson, Jr, Chair of AAAS Department 1972-1986, giving a speech. Our department has representation from Africa, America, and throughout the African Diaspora. Coat of arms of Ghana, designed by Ghanaian artist Amon Kotei, from AAAS Study Abroad trip.


About the Department
African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University is a proud product of the 1960's Black freedom movement. Originally established as an academic division in October 1969 as Black Studies, it achieved formal department status in 1972 and today enjoys the reputation of being one of the strongest African American and African Studies programs in the nation. The primary mission of the department is to stimulate teaching and research about the Black experience in the United States, Africa and throughout the African Diaspora, and to encourage students and others to assess various strategies for advancing human progress through the examination of the global struggle for Black freedom.

The Department offers courses leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and a Ph.D. in African American and African Studies. Our comprehensive multidisciplinary curriculum includes courses in literature, music, history, psychology, sociology, political science, community development and the most extensive offering of African languages (Swahili, Zulu, Twi, Somali and Yoruba) found at any university in the U.S. Our students have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the black experience from a range of perspectives, which include opportunities to participate in Study Abroad programs to South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana. Our courses are taught by more than 18 full-time faculty members who each hold the doctoral degree in their respective disciplines.

The African American and African Studies Department also has a Community Extension Center which serves as both our outreach arm into the large Black community in the city of Columbus as well as a significant resource for faculty and student research and community engagement. For more than twenty years, the Department has also been the home of Research in African Literatures, one of the most prestigious journals in African Studies. In 2012 we introduced a second journal, Spectrum: a Journal on Black Men. As a part of the Diversity and Identity Studies project at The Ohio State University, our courses and faculty research reflect our longstanding interest in diversity and identity studies.