Founding date of what was initially called the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research.
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."
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.
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.
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
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
The faculty approves unanimously the establishment of a graduate program in Afro-American studies.
April 8, 2000
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.
The Graduate Program in Afro-American Studies begins classes with its first six students.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The graduate program is adjusted so as to include the African Studies track.
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.
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”