Button Menu

Africana Studies

Exploration of issues of race differences, identity and subject formation.

The Africana Studies major provides a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the shifting historical, cultural, social and political meaning of blackness.

In this major, students learn about the collective experience of black/Africana people in today’s world, with a focus on the diasporan societies, cultures and people of the United States, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Students learn to challenge the traditional ways of thinking about difference and gain a critical consciousness of the roles that people of color play in global relations.



Current position: Vice president of government relations for the Midwest at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Elam worked in public policy for more than 14 years, an interest that started at DePauw. She spent a semester and winter term working as a legislative intern at the NAACP Washington Bureau. It was in D.C. where her classroom studies in political science and Black studies met the real world.

She received a law degree cum laude in 2008 from the Howard University School of Law, where she was the solicitations editor of the law review and a student attorney in the civil rights clinic.

Before joining JPMorgan Chase, she led the government and external affairs strategy for ITT Educational Services; worked as a senior director at the government affairs firm Ice Miller Strategies; and was an attorney at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP focusing on congressional investigations and complex litigation in Washington.


Legislative intern in Washington D.C.


Teach For America


• Howard University • Saint Louis University • Indiana University • Arizona State University


• Lawyer • Teacher or professor • Doctor • Musician • CEO • Business owner • Government worker


Rebecca Alexander, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley. Research interests include segregated schools and communities and the ways in which young people and their families grapple with multiple borders (race, class, gender, neighborhood, nation) as they struggle against stigma, displacement, economic loss and educational inequality. Recent publications include “Thinking through the Decolonial Turn in Research and Praxis: Advancing New Understandings of the Community-School Relation in Lationa/o Parent Involvement.”

Deborah Geis, Ph.D., University of Michigan. A performance poet who has competed in the National Poetry Slam. Won DePauw’s Edwin L. Minar Jr. Award for exceptional scholarly achievement.

David Gellman, Ph.D., Northwestern University. Studies colonial and revolutionary-era North America; slavery and abolition. Has written/co-written three books on those topics, including “Emancipating New York: The Politics of Slavery and Freedom, 1777-1827” (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006).

Leigh-Anne Goins, Ph.D., Michigan State University. Research interests include black feminisms, black women, intersectionality, race and racism, sexuality, media, media representations.

Leslie R. James, Ph.D., St. Louis University. Interests in black Atlantic religions and Christianity. Author of “Toward an Ecumenical Liberation Theology: A Critical Exploration of Common Dimensions in the Theologies of Juan L. Segundo and Rubem A. Alves” and 12 articles for “The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography.” Awarded Old Gold Globes Exceptional Faculty Award in 2017.

Clarissa Peterson, Ph.D., (on leave 2023-24) Emory University. Received the 2016 Anna Julian Cooper Teacher of the Year award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Co-wrote a chapter for the 2017 book “How the Obama Presidency Changed the Political Landscape.”

Karin Wimbley, Ph.D., University of Chicago. Finalist for the Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholars Faculty Development Award. Received New Directions in Global Scholarship grant from the Great Lakes Colleges Association.

Request Information