The mission of the Department of African Cultural Studies is to research and teach the languages and expressive cultures of Africa and Africans around the world. This includes work at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and emphasizes the development and application of analytical, linguistic, and methodological tools that enable students to work effectively and imaginatively across regions, languages, cultural forms, methodologies, and disciplines.

Undergraduates study one of six languages offered by the department—Arabic, Hausa, Swahili, Wolof, Yoruba, and Zulu—and combine their language study with popular courses in the humanities, literature, and ethnic studies. The department's undergraduate courses cover a wide range of topics, including introductory African literature and storytelling, contemporary cinema and music, and social issues. Students also have the opportunity to study less commonly taught African languages through the self-study methodology program, which enables independent learning of a language through supportive, peer-to-peer and instructor-led coursework.

Majors are encouraged to study abroad in Africa during their undergraduate careers. Study abroad programs sponsored by UW–Madison include semesters or full years in Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Ghana, and other African nations. Other programs are available through different institutions. See International Academic Programs.

For more information, students should feel free to contact the Department of African Cultural Studies department or the advisor at any time.


Matthew H. Brown

Névine El Nossery

Samuel England

Jo Ellen Fair

Luis Madureira

Mustafa Mustafa

Tejumola Olaniyan 

Ronald Radano

Damon Sajnani

Michael Schatzberg  

Katrina Daly Thompson


Dustin Cowell

Harold Scheub

Aliko Songolo


Bill Bach, Department Administrator

Toni Landis, Academic Advisor/Student Services Coordinator