UCLA to Establish a Department of African American Studies

The Academic Senate’s Legislative Assembly at the University of California, Los Angeles, unanimously approved a measure that will result in the establishment of the department of African American studies at the university. Under the proposal, the interdepartmental program in Afro-American studies will be disbanded and the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the field will be transferred to the new department. The interdepartmental program was founded in 1974.

Robin D.G. Kelley, the Gary B. Nash Professor of American History and acting director of the interdepartmental program, stated, “Clearly, the faculty recognized the need for a department. Now the really hard work is about to begin because just declaring it a department is not enough. We need to make this department work for the benefit of the broader UCLA community, the college and the university.”

Professor Kelley came to UCLA in 2011 after teaching at the University of Southern California, Columbia University, and New York University. Among his many books are Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012) and Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (The Free Press, 2009). A graduate of California State University, Long Beach, Professor Kelley holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in history from UCLA.

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