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Intellectual Vision and Mission


African and African American Studies at KU is a model multidisciplinary academic program that serves the core of a Liberal Arts education. It serves as the region’s center for the historical and contemporary study and understanding of the nexus among African, African American, and African descended peoples and places, and their interconnections with US and global histories, cultures, social, and economic systems.


Our mission is to offer an inclusive and diverse learning environment that (1) encourages students to appreciate different ways of knowing and learning and; (2) prepares informed and productive citizens for Kansas, the region, the nation, and our global communities in the 21st Century.

For Whom

Our academic programs and courses are designed for undergraduates, graduate students and non degree seeking students seeking the tools to appreciate and understand diversity, and learn and engage in the study of African descended peoples, cultures and languages, and institutions in local, national, and global communities.


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KU announces first Diversity Leadership Awards
Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Langston Hughes Center received a $180,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct a June 2017 summer institute for high school teachers, entitled "Teaching the 'Long Hot Summer' of 1967 and Beyond."  The project will be led by Shawn Alexander, Clarence Lang, and John Rury.

Teresa Leslie-Canty, AAAS Lecturer and a Topeka High School teacher, nominated by her students in February, won a free Nissan Versa Tuesday night as the KSNT News and Capital City Nissan of Topeka “Teacher of the Year”. Teresa Leslie-Canty was previously the February “Teacher of the Month” after being nominated by 13 of her students.

Professor Jessica Gerschultz has been awarded the prestigious American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship for the 2015-16 academic year. The Fellowship is for her book project, Decorative Arts of the Tunisian Ecole: Fabrications of Modernism, Gender, and Class in Tunisia (1948-1972).

African and African-American studies professor Professor Beverly Mack wins inaugural engaged scholarship award

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Professor Dorthy Pennington was inducted into the Central States Communication Association Hall of Fame (April 2015)

Student Spotlight

Second year AAAS MA student, Caroline Kastor is also a professional athlete.  This summer Caroline, former KU soccer standout, signed with FC Kansas City and topped off her rookie season by helping lead the organization to their second straight National Women’s Soccer League championship on October 1, 2015.

Previous Student Spotlight »

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KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times