Other Key Moments

May 1975

W.E.B. Du Bois Institute

Founding date of what was initially called the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research.

July 1985

Ford Foundation publishes Afro-American Studies

The Ford Foundation published Nathan Huggins's report, titled Afro-American Studies, examining "the current status of Afro-American studies on American campuses in light of the early experience and future needs of the field."

1986

Blacks at Harvard

For the 350th Anniversary of Harvard College, the Afro-American Studies Department produces and disseminates Blacks at Harvard, the first historical documentation of black faculty and student presence.  It was later expanded and published by New York University Press in 1993 as Blacks at Harvard: A Documentary History of African-American Experience at Harvard and Radcliffe, edited by Werner Sollors, Caldwell Titcomb, and Thomas A. Underwood with an introduction by Randall Kennedy.

1996-1997

Proposal for a graduate program in Afro-American studies

A committee composed of K. Anthony Appiah, Chair, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, and Werner Sollors prepares a proposal for a graduate program in Afro-American studies. The aim of the program is to combine an interdisciplinary training in African American cultural and social studies with a focus in a major disciplinary field, leading to the Ph.D. in African American studies.

1997-1998

University Professors

William Julius Wilson is named the Lewis F. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor.  Cornel West is named the Alphonse Fletcher, Jr., University Professor.  West holds this title until his departure from Harvard in 2002.

June 9, 1997

Barker Center

With the opening of the Barker Center, the Department of Afro-American Studies and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research are united in a common physical space for the first time.

February 15, 2000

Faculty approves graduate program in Afro-American studies

The faculty approves unanimously the establishment of a graduate program in Afro-American studies.

April 8, 2000

Anniversary

Harvard University celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the Department of Afro-American Studies and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research.

Fall 2001

Graduate Program classes begin

The Graduate Program in Afro-American Studies begins classes with its first six students.

2003-2004

Department of African and African American Studies

The department revises its undergraduate curriculum to include the Africa track and the America Track.  By vote of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at its regular meeting the Department of Afro-American Studies begins the academic year as the newly renamed Department of African and African American Studies. The W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research also changes its name to the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.

With the appointment of John M. Mugane as Senior Preceptor in African and African American Studies, the African Language Program is established with Mugane as its director.

2004-2005

Path of study

With the start of the academic year, concentrators in the department can choose to pursue a path of study within either the African Studies Track or the African American Studies Track.

September 2005

104 Mount Auburn

The W. E. B. Du Bois Institute moves out of the Barker Center and to 104 Mount Auburn Street, the first time in its history that all of the Institute's research projects and staff are housed within one physical location.

2006-2007

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., becomes the Alphonse Fletcher, Jr., University Professor.

Under the leadership of Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, the department begins discussion of a new pedagogy—the Social Engagement Initiative—and its introduction into the curriculum.

Fall 2006

Graduate Program African Studies track

The graduate program is adjusted so as to include the African Studies track.

2008

Evelynn M. Hammonds

President Drew Faust appoints Evelynn M. Hammonds, Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies, to be the Dean of Harvard College.  Hammonds is the first African American or woman to hold this position.

AAAS as a secondary field was introduced for undergraduate and graduate students at Harvard. 

2010

Social Engagement Senior Theses

First Social Engagement Senior Theses are written.

AAAS concentrator Sangu Delle wins the Hoopes Prize for his Social Engagement thesis, entitled “The Value of Water and Sanitation in Development: A Case Study of Agyementi”