The University of Oregon has announced that it now offers a minor degree program in Black studies. Students minoring in Black studies will take 24 credits, split between “Roots” and “Routes” courses. Roots are lower-division courses that focus on foundational overviews, and routes are upper-division courses that include more specific focuses. The only required course in the minor is an introductory course with a focus on either African American studies or the African Diaspora.
“I think all students need to understand the very complex history of Blackness on this continent in the formation of the United States of America,” said Avinnash Tiwari, the director of the new minor degree program and a member of the English department faculty. “I don’t know how we understand this country without understanding that story, that history.”
Provost Patrick Phillips added that “I think it’s also a great opportunity, especially for the White majority, to recognize the history of racism which we acknowledge, but I think we don’t actually understand in detail.”
African Americans make up just 2 percent of the nearly 19,000-member undergraduate student body at the University of Oregon.