A task force at Stanford University has recommended that the university transform its African and African American Studies program into an academic department. The task force recommended in principle the departmentalization of African and African American Studies and suggested the formation of a subcommittee to develop the details.
Persis Drell, provost at Stanford, and Debra Satz, dean of the School of Humanities & Sciences, accepted the recommendation and are forming a subcommittee that will consider such details as the intellectual scope of the proposed department, a plan for a curriculum, an assessment of faculty needs and a detailed timeline for implementation. Among the issues to be addressed is whether faculty are willing to relocate their appointments to the new department.
Dr. Drell noted that it will not be until next year that the faculty who want to move to the department will develop a proposal that will be reviewed by the dean, advisory board, and, ultimately, the board of trustees, which must approve a new department.
The African and African American Studies program at Stanford was established in 1969. The program is now under the direction of Allyson Hobbs, an associate professor of history at Stanford. She is the author of A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life (Harvard University Press, 2014). Dr. Hobbs is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago.