Rice University in Houston, Texas, has announced the establishment of The Center for African and African American Studies. The center will be housed jointly by the university’s School of Humanities and School of Social Sciences.
Anthony Pinn, the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and professor of religion, will serve as the center’s founding director. The center will draw on the work of some 15 current faculty, with plans to hire more in the coming years.
In its first year, the center will focus on expanding the current African Studies minor into a minor in African and African American Studies with two possible tracks and courses across the departments of anthropology, English, history, religion, sociology, and political science. Faculty are developing an introductory course that will anchor the new minor.
Professor Pinn is enthusiastic about the unique opportunities afforded by Rice’s small size and Houston’s vast sprawl. He stated that “there is a wealth of knowledge in Houston that ought to contribute to a Rice education. Houston has a lot to teach us and the center will be one of those ways in which we’ll open up the lines of communication.”
Dr. Pinn is a graduate of Columbia University in New York City. He holds a master of divinity degree and a Ph.D. in the study of religion from Harvard University.