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Department History

Africana Studies  

Established in 1969, we are one of the oldest Black Studies departments in the United States and have offered courses that affirm the intellectual importance of research and scholarship, and their contributions to the world culture of peoples of African descent the world over since 1970.

  Africana Studies

As important, while other, similar academic programs began only as programs, Binghamton University demonstrated its commitment to curricular diversity by establishing a full-fledged department from the outset.

Initially known as the Department of Afro-American Studies and later as the Department of Afro-American and African Studies, we became the Department of Africana Studies in 1994.


Binghamton University opened its doors as Triple Cities College in 1946 to serve the needs of local veterans returning from service in World War II. Originally located in Endicott, five miles west of the present campus, the fledgling school was a branch of Syracuse University.

Four years later, when the college was incorporated into the State University of New York, it was renamed Harpur College in honor of Robert Harpur, a Colonial teacher, patriot and pioneer, who devoted his later years to settling the area around Binghamton.

Until 1953, Harpur College was one of only two public liberal arts colleges in the state. In 1961, the campus was moved across the Susquehanna River to Vestal. Growing enrollment and a reputation for excellence soon led to the selection of Harpur College as one of four doctorate-granting University Centers in the state system.

In 1965, the campus was formally designated the State University of New York at Binghamton. Binghamton University was adopted as our informal name in 1992.


Last Updated: 2/15/18