Chair's Message

Message From The Chair - Dawn-Elissa Fischer

Phone: 415-338-2352, Email:, Office Hours for Fall 2017: 10am to 6pm Mon, Tues, Thurs, Friday.
Appointments are necessary because the Chairs' schedule often demands time outside of the office for meetings and governance councils.
Use the Chair's Request Form to expedite contact and resolve: CHAIR'S REQUEST form {click to download}. Hardcopies at main office EP103




Dr. Fischer at the WEB Du Bois Gold Medal Ceremony, Harvard 2016; Fischer is new Dept Chair


It is my pleasure to serve our students, faculty, staff and community partners in this historic moment as we reflect on the events that occured over the past fifty years. As part of a world-wide movement, those who ideated and engaged the longest student strike in history created many positive and sustained outcomes, including the establishment of the first Department of Black Studies. As the past two Department Chairs, McDougal and Tsuruta, synthesized:

The roots of Africana Studies extend as far back as the knowledge systems of classical African civilizations.  Those systems’ commitment to knowledge for life’s sake has been a key component of the living history and continuous development of Africana Studies.  At San Francisco State College, the first department of Black Studies emerged in 1968 through the efforts of Black student leadership, the Black community, and their allies.  Today Africana Studies here at San Francisco State University, continues that living tradition and mandate from the struggle in 1968 to equip students with the intellectual tools to become scholars and activists; using their education to pursue their goals and interests and to address the critical needs, concerns, or challenges of the Black community and the society with which they interact. Africana Studies is a pan-African, multidimensional discipline, with unique paradigms, theories, and concepts used to explore, explain, describe, and advance people of African descent in the U.S. context and throughout the African diaspora.  Because our discipline is multidimensional, our students go on to careers in technology, science, education, visual and performing arts, literature, law, politics, science, medicine, business, entertainment, sports, religion, social work and other social sciences. In “What Can I Do With a Black Studies Major?” published by the National Council for Black Studies, Robert Fikes provides150 answers. The Department of Africana Studies serves our students by helping them to develop their intellectual tools with a culturally relevant educational experience in a family environment, and provide them with leadership, mentorship, and guidance necessary for them to achieve excellence throughout their journey.  


Please peruse this site, share your experiences and learn more.


Past Chairs of our nation's first Department of Black/ Africana Studies

Serie McDougal, PhD

Dorothy Tsuruta, PhD

Theophile Obenga, PhD

Oba Tshaka, PhD

Wade Nobles, PhD

Raye Richardson, PhD

Nathan Hare, PhD

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