African and African Diaspora Studies

Master of Arts
Doctor of Philosophy

For More Information

Campus address: Gordon-White Building (GWB), Suite 2.112, Phone: (512) 471-5180, Campus mail code: E3400

Mailing address: The University of Texas at Austin, Graduate Program, African and African Diaspora Studies Department, Mailcode E3400, Austin, TX 78712



Facilities for Graduate Work

Graduate students in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department (AADS) have access to three highly-specialized units dedicated to rigorous scholarship in Black Studies. With more than twenty full-time or jointly-affiliated faculty members representing the interdisciplinary aspects of the program, AADS promotes activist academics and is dedicated to the study of the intellectual, political, artistic, and social experiences of people of African descent throughout Africa and the African diaspora. The Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (IUPRA) produces cutting-edge policy and legal research related to urban issues. The institute's staff, academic fellows, and graduate students generate publications, reports, briefs, grants, and contracts with the aim of shaping policy to enhance the lives of African Americans and other people of color in the state of Texas. The John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (WCAAAS) offers research opportunities and programming across a broad variety of disciplines focused on Black people in Texas, the United States, Africa, and the African diaspora as a whole. All three units of Black Studies are housed within the Gordon-White Building (GWB), a newly renovated space dedicated to scholarship, community building, and art. 

Black Studies graduate students have access to the university’s extensive and world-renowned research library system, including the Perry-Castañeda Library with over 2.5 million volumes, the Human Rights Documentation Initiative, the Benson Latin American Collection, and the Harry Ransom Center. The Black Queer Studies Collection is meant to feature, promote, and increase the discoverability of The University of Texas at Austin libraries’ unique holdings in the area of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Studies. It is a groundbreaking project in librarianship that addresses standard obstacles posed by the Library of Congress Subject Headings and information retrieval systems used to locate materials by and about Black diasporic LGBTQ people. Students are also encouraged to utilize campus-wide arts facilities including the Fine Arts Library, the Texas Performing Arts Center, and the Blanton Museum of Art. The Warfield Center houses a gallery that acts as a living arts space designed to encourage, promote, and sustain Black artistic expression. Also featured in the Warfield Center is the recently-acquired African Art Collection, comprised of 827 artifacts from sub-Saharan Africa. 

Areas of Study

The AADS graduate program is designed to provide students with the skills and analytical frameworks necessary to engage interdisciplinary approaches for examining the lives of people of African descent throughout Africa and the African diaspora. Students will explore key works within the subfields of Black Political Economy, Black Political Philosophy, Critical Race Theory, Black Feminism, Black Queer theory, Critical Educational Studies, Performance Studies, Black history. The program's objective is to provide students with the broad foundational knowledge necessary to pursue an academic career, or to conduct scholarly research in African and African Diaspora Studies (also known as Africana, Black, African and African American, or African and/or Black diaspora studies), or related fields.  

Doctoral Portfolio Program in African and African Diaspora Studies

Doctoral students at The University of Texas at Austin, who are interested in African and African Diaspora Studies, are invited to apply to the AADS Doctoral Portfolio Program. The objectives of the program are to engage students in an advanced approach to interdisciplinary studies, a mapping of the intellectual breadth of African and African Diaspora Studies, and the continued development of existing resources in the area, including a sustained international and national reputation for intellectual rigor and productivity in Black Studies.

Students in the program sustain a rigorous dialogue about African and African Diaspora Studies from a productive intellectual and methodological standpoint; develop, deeply understand, and build the university's resources through the development of interdisciplinary methodology; become familiar with the diversity of faculty specialties within African and African Diaspora Studies; foster The University of Texas at Austin's national and international reputation as a recognized leader in African and African Diaspora Studies; and are instructed in the application of the theoretical and conceptual tools of analysis and research on African-descended peoples.

Applicants to the portfolio program must submit a research statement along with their application. This statement will help the AADS Portfolio Administrator guide the student in the completion of twelve hours of graduate-level coursework, including one AADS core course, in the field of Black Studies. All portfolio students are required to present their field-related research to an open audience prior to graduation.

The certification requirements for the graduate portfolio program differ from the requirements for graduate degrees and should be undertaken only with the approval of the student's supervising adviser and the student's departmental graduate adviser. With the consent of a graduate student's home department, courses used to satisfy portfolio requirements may be included in the program of work for the doctoral degree. Applicants to the portfolio program must be in good standing in an approved doctoral program and must maintain a grade point average of 3.3 or better in order to continue in the portfolio program. Although students can enter the AADS Doctoral Portfolio Program at any point in their doctoral work, it is recommended that they complete the portfolio requirements before being admitted to candidacy.

Additional requirements and application information are available here.

Graduate Studies Committee

The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester 2017.

Omoniyi Afolabi
Charles O Anderson
Jossiann Arroyo Martinez
Daina R Berry
Simone A Browne
Tshepo Chery
Kevin O Cokley
King E Davis
Kevin M Foster
Lyndon K Gill
Edmund T Gordon
Charles R Hale
Juliet A Hooker
Yasmiyn Irizarry Murphy
Omi Osun Joni L Jones
Xavier Livermon
Minkah Makalani
Stephen H Marshall
Matt T Richardson
Cherise Smith
Christen Smith
Eric Tang
Lisa B Thompson
Shirley E Thompson
Natasha Tinsley
Joao H Vargas