Columbia University on Verge of Creating an African American and Diaspora Studies Department

The Columbia University Senate unanimously voted in favor of establishing a department of African-American and Africa diaspora studies. Pending a final vote of approval from the board of trustees, this new department will be the first independent department established solely for African-American studies at the university.

Currently, classes in the discipline only exist in the department of Middle East, South Asian, and African studies and in the Institute for Research in African-American Studies. In the department, only 20 percent of courses are related to African-American studies. The institute offers some courses to undergraduate students, but it cannot offer professors tenure, which has made it difficult to retain distinguished scholars in the African-American studies field.

Farrah Griffin is the current director of the institute and pending chair of the new department. She believes that the creation of the new department will bring Columbia up to speed with its peers such as Princeton, Yale, Harvard, and Cornell, which have all dedicated resources to independent African and African American studies departments.

“At this time in the university’s history, a strong African-American and diaspora studies department would play a vital role in encouraging students to engage in as global citizens and help foster a greater understanding of the challenges upon us inside and outside Columbia University,” stated Dr. Griffin.

Dr. Griffin is the William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies in the Columbia School of the Arts. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Alcorn State University Announces Unique STEM-Focused MBA Degree Program

The new STEM-MBA program at Alcorn State, the first of its kind in the state of Mississippi, will prepare students to become business leaders in STEM industries through courses on foundational STEM and business concepts, as well as data analysis and strategic decision-making.

Five Black Women Who Have Been Appointed to Dean Positions at Universities Across the United States

Here is this week’s roundup of African Americans who have been appointed to dean positions at universities throughout the United States. If you have news for our appointments section, please email the information to contact@jbhe.com.

PNC Partners With Howard University to Empower Black Entrepreneurship

The Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship aims to support and educate Black entrepreneurs from across the country. The collaborative initiative includes three other HBCU partners: Morgan State University, Clark Atlanta University, and Texas Southern University.

Saida Grundy Wins Race, Gender, and Class Book Award From the American Sociology Association

Dr. Grundy's book, Respectable: Politics and Paradox in Making the Morehouse Man, explores the culture and experiences of graduates from Morehouse College in Atlanta, the country's only historically Black college for men.

Featured Jobs