The English department at the University of Chicago announced that “for the 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle, the University of Chicago English department is accepting only applicants interested in working in and with Black Studies.” The department is planning to admit five new Ph.D. students.
In a statement explaining the decision, the faculty of the English department stated that “as literary scholars, we attend to the histories, atmospheres, and scenes of anti-Black racism and racial violence in the United States and across the world. We are committed to the struggle of Black and Indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality.”
“We believe that undoing persistent, recalcitrant anti-Blackness in our discipline and in our institutions must be the collective responsibility of all faculty, here and elsewhere,” the statement continued. “This department reaffirms the urgency of ensuring institutional and intellectual support for colleagues and students working in the Black studies tradition, alongside whom we continue to deepen our intellectual commitments to this tradition. As such, we believe all scholars have a responsibility to know the literatures of African American, African diasporic, and colonized peoples, regardless of area of specialization, as a core competence of the profession.”