Berkeley’s Unique Doctoral Program in Black Studies

Hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States now have established black studies programs. However, there are very few doctoral programs in the field. But the African Diaspora Studies Program at the University of California at Berkeley recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. Over the past decade, the program has produced 12 Ph.D.s, all of whom currently hold tenure-track faculty positions or postdoctoral fellowships at research universities.

Among the program’s graduates are Elisa Joy White, an assistant professor of ethnic studies at the University of Hawaii. Dr. White’s doctoral dissertation concerned the status of blacks in Ireland. Another graduate of the program, Xavier Livermon, did postdoctoral work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and will be joining the faculty at Wayne State University. His dissertation was on how music and performance art have influenced cultural change in South Africa.