University of Kentucky Creates the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies

The University of Kentucky has announced the establishment of the Commonwealth Institute for  Black Studies — a multidisciplinary program that will highlight the university’s research on issues of race and racism.

The interdisciplinary institute will establish research clusters across the campus and promote the university’s research and scholarship on topics of importance in African history and African American history, such as slavery and the quest for freedom, racial discrimination and violence, and the long struggle for civil rights.

Among the projects that will be supported by the institute are:

  • The annual Black Women’s Conference, which draws attention to scholarship produced throughout the campus.
  • The new “1619, Slavery and UK” project that will examine the university’s early history, its connections to slavery and its location on land  previously owned by Indigenous peoples.
  • Faculty, graduate student and undergraduate research grants.
  • Postdoctoral and predoctoral fellows with the goal of bringing promising new scholars to the campus.
  • A robust internship program for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Expansion of public programming and sponsorship of community conversations about race, inequality and history in Kentucky and beyond.

“The new Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies at the University of Kentucky is an epicenter for cutting-edge research on people of African descent worldwide,” said Anastasia Curwood, a history professor and director of the African American and Africana Studies program. “We cannot understand where humanity has been and where we’re going without Black studies. The Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies provides multifaceted insight. At the University of Kentucky, Black studies matter.”

Dr. Curwood joined the faculty at the University of Kentucky in 2014. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. Dr. Curwood is on leave while completing her biography of Shirley Chisholm.


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