By James L. Conyers, Jr.
African American Studies (AAS) at the University of Houston is an academic unit in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. In both theory and praxis, AAS is inclusive of the African experience from a global Pan Africanist perspective. Yet, interpretive analysis is the anchor, which dispenses the use of sources and queries the context of the Black experience. Even more important, this unit offers an undergraduate major and minor—while providing a post baccalaureate graduate certificate program. As the oldest AAS unit in the state of Texas, this program is afforded the vibrancy of Houston’s city and greater community to extend a correlate of service learning for students at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Dean Antonio Tillis of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences explains the importance of AAS, “Fifty years of African American Studies at the University of Houston means fifty years of contributing to the intellectual diversity on this campus through curricular and cocurricular activities that have to do with the history of people of African descent … What it does for the community as well is it allows the community to understand the historical development, the ideology, the contributions, and culture relative to this demographic of people.”
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Visit this link for a brief history of the African American Studies program from the special collections here at the University of Houston.
Visit the African American Studies website to learn more about their faculty, mission, current news, and upcoming events.
Cedric Tolliver, a faculty member at the University of Houston, is working hard to uncover the vibrancy of Houston’s civil rights past. Read the article by Sarah F. Hill.