Black Studies

Black Studies at Amherst is an interdisciplinary exploration of the histories and cultures of Black peoples in Africa and around the world.

A Letter to the Community in Reponse to Recent Protests

June 15, 2020

Dear Students, Alumni, and Members of the Amherst Community,

Like many of you, the faculty members of the Black studies department have been filled with sadness, outrage, fear, and grief in the weeks since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. While we are all processing simultaneous feelings of hope and despair, we memorialize those who have been unjustly taken—Jamel Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jamar Clark, Michelle Shirley, Sean Reed, and many more. These acts of remembrance have become political in and of themselves. As Christina Sharpe argues, movements like #SayHerName, #BlackLivesMatter, and #BlackTransLivesMatter act as vital forms of “wake work.” 

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Our courses draw on literature, philosophy, history, and many other disciplines to examine African, African-American, and Caribbean/Latin American themes. We also study the social construction of racial differences and its relation to the perpetuation of racism and racial domination.



We offer the Edward Jones Prize, named for the College’s first Black alumnus, and the Charles Hamilton Houston Prize, named for civil rights lawyer and member of the Amherst Class of 1915. 

Featured Article

Digital Africas

Digital Africas

It’s a subculture often dismissed with a punch line: Nigerian youth who email unsuspecting victims and convince them to send money in return for nonexistent goods or deals. This semester, 25 Amherst students looked beyond the punch line to the young perpetrators of the infamous scam.

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