At a Glance
Founded in 1981, the University of Virginia's Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies is named in honor of native Virginian Carter Godwin Woodson, known to many as 'the father of black history''. The Woodson's founding director, historian Armstead L. Robinson, launched the Institute with a two-fold mandate: (1) to enhance the research and teaching of African-American Studies in the schools and departments of the University of Virginia and (2) to establish an African-American Studies Research Center which would make important contributions to scholarship and learning at this major southern university.
The Department of African American and African Studies and Undergraduate Degree Program
Since its inception under the banner of the Carter G. Woodson Institute, the Department of African American and African Studies has promoted interdisciplinary and collaborative research and interpretation of the African American and African experience in a global context. The Woodson Institute administers the undergraduate major and minor degrees in African American and African Studies (AAS). In addition to the African-American and African Studies major and minor, the department also has a minor in African Studies, which was initiated in 2007. For students who wish to conduct intensive research, the deparment offers a Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) which culminates in a thesis project supervised by an academic advisor.
The Research Institute and the Woodson Fellowship Program
Beyond the department proper, the Woodson functions as a research Institute. Among other activities, the Institute facilitates an internationally renowned two-year residential fellowship program. During this program, pre- and post-doctoral scholars from universities and colleges around the nation take up residence in the Fellows Annex in order to complete their scholarly projects in a rigorous, supportive, and interdisciplinary intellectual community. Selected through an intense international competition, Woodson fellows represent young scholars in the humanities and social sciences at the cutting edge of the Africana Studies field. Over the course of its twenty-five year history, the Institute has sponsored more than 180 emerging scholars whose work has appeared in numerous books and articles published by the foremost university presses and academic journals. In addition to advancing the research goals of the Institute, the presence of these fellows has enriched the number and range of course offerings available within the undergraduate curriculum and has been instrumental in faculty recruitment at U.Va.
The primary goal at the Carter G. Woodson Institute is to continue the pioneering work of our namesake through an active program of undergraduate teaching and curriculum development; original interdisciplinary research; institutional and financial support of scholars; conferences and colloquia; publications and public outreach projects.