Johns Hopkins University Launches New Major and Center for Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, has renamed its program in racism, immigration, and citizenship to the Chloe Center for the Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism.

The center is committed to studying historical injustice through providing research opportunities, speaker series, as well as events for artists, activists, and community leaders. Historically, the center had a focus on graduate studies, but going forward there are plans to incorporate more undergraduate opportunities, including a new major in critical diaspora studies.

Chloe, the namesake for the new program, was a Black woman who worked for the university’s founder Johns Hopkins from 1850 to 1873. Scholars suggest she may have been the daughter of a migrant of the Virgin Islands, but her last name could not be determined. Additionally, the university altered “citizenship” in the center’s title to “colonialism” to expand its breadth of research by including Indigenous studies and other topics in its educational programming.

The proposal to rename the center states that the change in title “recognizes a tragic but fitting absence in Chloe’s erased family name. The vagueness around her possible migrant heritage and ancestry captures both the specificity of her personal history as a Black Baltimorean, and the more general experience of working people who across generations and often great distances worked to build the nations, empires, and institutions of the modern world.”

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