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Though five centuries have elapsed since the arrival of enslaved West Africans to the colony of Jamestown, Virginia in 1619, the project of Africana Studies has never been more urgent.

We continue to make meaning of the paradox that organized the modern world: the forging of free societies and peoples by unfree black labor. We take measure of human experience as the paradox unravels and structures change. Our Program’s Faculty pursue a wide range of research interests, among them Black filmmaking and the Hollywood Western, Postcolonial diplomacy, Muslim identity in France, Black women in the American Judiciary, Arab Women’s writing and Orientalism, the production of memoir, and the abolition of prisons. We aim to bring the traditional academic disciplines into conversation for our students and train them in the protocols that produce knowledge about the diaspora.

Most important to us, is that students develop intellectual poise and voice, and become skilled in asking productive questions about how the modern world works. Most recently, our students have pursued successful projects on Black Families and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Afrofuturism in Black Visual Art, Sudanese memoir and queer identity, Haitian immigrant life in Brazil and Independent Farming in Cameroon. We are eager to meet more students who wish to join us in doing this kind of work.

About the Program

Think of Africana Studies as a comprehensive liberal arts education encapsulated in one program.

We have, perhaps, among the most comprehensive list of talented faculty members and courses from Anthropology, Arabic, Art, Education, English, Film, French and Francophone Studies, Hispanic Studies, German Studies, History, Political Science, Psychological Science, Religion and Sociology.

Votes for Women: Vassar and the Politics of Voting Rights Past, Present, and Future

September 26, 2:00pm

Location: Zoom

A symposium commemorating 100 years of women’s suffrage, featuring: keynote speaker Sherrilyn Ifill ’84, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Taneisha Means, Assistant Professor of Political Science on the Class of 1951 Chair; and Miriam Cohen, the Evalyn Clark Professor of History. Vassar community only, registration required. Read more