About the Program

Welcome to African and African American Studies (AAAS) at GMU

The AAAS Experience

African and African American Studies program (AAAS) is not simply an academic program. There are the pedagogical and administrative components, which make AAAS unique. Pedagogically, we are committed to the pursuit of knowledge, research, and reform. Founded in 1991 by former associate provost of education, Dr. Marilyn Mobley, this minor degree program is interdisciplinary for the benefit of George Mason University students. Comprehensively, this program allows students to experience the many people of African descent from subjects, such disciplines as history, literature, political science, women and gender studies, sociology, psychology, philosophy, music, dance, and art. Courses and faculty are drawn from the program as well as from other units of the university.

Administratively, AAAS works closely with diverse members across the Mason community. Whether it be student groups, academic departments, comparable minor degree programs, or individual faculty members, we are committed to collaborative efforts. AAAS is progressive in not limiting students' opportunities to interact with scholars and social activists who research the past and present experiences of people of African descent in Africa, the United States, the Caribbean, and the Diaspora.

Throughout the year, AAAS sponsors numerous colloquia, conferences, lectures (including the annual W. E. B. Dubois Lecture and the Sojourner Truth Lecture), Black History Month events and artistic performances that are open to the Mason community and metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. Ultimately, this program prepares students not only for understanding the Black experience, but also enables them to critically examine, and better appreciate, national and international events as well as the global struggle for social justice.