The Department for Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS), one of the most innovative Africana programs in the U.S., serves as the structural home for African American studies at the University of Michigan. Bridging humanities and social sciences, Africa and its diasporas, DAAS offers graduate and undergraduate curricula, as well as a graduate certificate program.
The Department of American Culture (AC) shares several jointly appointed faculty with DAAS, and a number of AC faculty working in African American studies have other affiliations. In close dialogue with American studies, cultural studies, and comparative ethnic studies, the American Culture's African American studies faculty-cluster explores a diverse array of interests: transatlantic circuits of culture, jazz and black musical aesthetics, African American literary production, gender, sexuality and power, black-Native American relations, Asian-African American relations, urban race politics, and, humor and other modes of black cultural production, among others. African American studies is home to award-winning teachers, innovative graduate and undergraduate course offerings, and exceptional scholarship that never fails to push the boundaries.
Our Faculty and Their Areas of Interest
A few recent books...
The last sixteen years of James Baldwin's life (1971–87) unfolded in a village in the South of France, in a sprawling house nicknamed “Chez Baldwin.” In Me and My House Magdalena J. Zaborowska employs Baldwin’s home space as a lens through which to expand his biography and explore the politics and poetics of blackness, queerness, and domesticity in his complex and underappreciated later works. Zaborowska shows how the themes of dwelling and black queer male sexuality in The Welcome Table, Just above My Head, and If Beale Street Could Talk directly stem from Chez Baldwin's influence on the writer. The house was partially torn down in 2014. Accessible, heavily illustrated, and drawing on interviews with Baldwin's friends and lovers, unpublished letters, and manuscripts, Me and My House offers new insights into Baldwin's life, writing, and relationships, making it essential reading for all students, scholars, and fans of Baldwin.
Between 1961 and 1971 James Baldwin spent extended periods of time in Turkey, where he worked on some of his most important books. In this first in-depth exploration of Baldwin’s “Turkish decade,” Magdalena J. Zaborowska reveals the significant role that Turkish locales, cultures, and friends played in Baldwin’s life and thought. Turkey was a nurturing space for the author, who by 1961 had spent nearly ten years in France and Western Europe and failed to reestablish permanent residency in the United States. Zaborowska demonstrates how Baldwin’s Turkish sojourns enabled him to re-imagine himself as a black queer writer and to revise his views of American identity and U.S. race relations as the 1960s drew to a close.