Department of Africana Studies

A famous poet once said, “Knowledge is power.” The Department of Africana Studies at the University at Albany motivates students (majors, minors, and all who love knowledge) to learn and to enter the real world to serve. Our Department enrolls students from all over the world who drink deep from our course offerings. In our nationally-ranked Department, students learn about Africa’s ways of life, about African Americans' ways of life, about African languages, about black religion, about black arts, literature, psychology, black history, the law and the black community, public speaking, critical thinking, expository writing, race theory and social thought, geography of Africa, black popular culture, statistics, among many other areas concerning Africa and black America. 

An excerpt from The Power and Beauty of an Africana Studies Degree by Dr. Leonard A. Slade, Jr.

Scholarship Announcement

The Department of Africana Studies is proud to announce the creation of the Dr. Leonard A. Slade, Jr. Scholarship Award. Due to a generous donation from Dr. George Hendrick, former Chair of the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, five Africana Studies students from the Undergraduate and Graduate level at the University at Albany will receive $1000 each for academic excellence for the next two years, starting with the 2016-2017 academic year. It is hoped that future donations will help to continue the award past the 2017-2018 academic year. The Department is grateful to receive this generous donation from Dr. Hendrick, and looks forward to helping our students with this award. Please contact Dr. Oscar R. Williams at or 518-442-4730 for additional information.


The Department of Africana Studies at the University at Albany promotes excellence in teaching, research, and service. The Department is concerned with the study of the experiences of the people of Africa and the African diaspora. Through the study of such disciplines as history, politics, economics, culture, literature, sociology, and psychology, the Department aims to engender an appreciation of diversity and emphasize the ways in which Africans and people of African descent in the Americas have constructed and interpreted their own lives and cultures.

Departmental Aims and Objectives

  • Provide students with an interdisciplinary understanding of the Black experience in Africa, the United States, and other areas of the Diaspora.

  • Foster research on African and African-American issues.

  • Provide conceptual frameworks to illuminate the causes and effects of Africana people's subordination and their struggle for liberation.

  • Prepare students to think critically, to express themselves creatively, to respect cultural diversity, and to make independent and rational judgments.

  • Promote and share in the University's stated objectives to provide for a racially and gender-balanced curriculum and contribute to the elimination of racism and the creation of a more equitable society by offering new knowledge and research paradigms.

  • Encourage faculty to share their expertise with the community and maintain a community service component that promotes special classes, symposia, forums; and contribute to the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual growth of the community.

  • Promote internships that allow students to integrate their academic and practical knowledge.

  • Reinforce the study of cultural ideals and provide a liberal education in values and wisdom.