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 and visit the Majors Advising Page.
To view full faculty profiles, visit our website.
Matthew H. Brown: African screen media (particularly "Nollywood"), oral traditions, literature
Névine El Nossery: Francophone & Middle Eastern literature and culture, postcolonial studies
Samuel England: Classical Arabic poetry and prose, modern Arabic literature
Jo Ellen Fair: Intersectionality of journalism, popular culture, social theory, and politics
Luis Madureira: Colonial and postcolonial studies, modernism, theater and performance
Mustafa Mustafa: Arabic
Tejumola Olaniyan: African, African American, and Caribbean literature and culture
Ronald Radano: ethnomusicology, US Black music and its transnational circulation
Damon Sajnani: Africana cultural studies, social and political theory, HipHop studies
Michael Schatzberg: African politics, comparative politics, political culture
Katrina Daly Thompson: African discourse, linguistic ethnography, language pedagogy
Bill Bach, Department Administrator
Toni Landis, Academic Advisor/Student Services Coordinator