National Institute on Aging

University of Chicago Creates the Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity

The University of Chicago’s Council of the University Senate recently approved a new Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity. The Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity will have its academic home in the Division of the Social Sciences.

At the University of Chicago, the proposal of a new academic department is a faculty-driven process. Of the 223 faculty members with primary or secondary appointments in the Division of Social Sciences, 150 participated in an advisory vote on the proposal of the new department. Among those who participated, 83 percent supported the proposal.

In outlining the scope of the new department, the faculty committee acknowledged that the core subjects of race, diaspora, and indigeneity are “contested concepts and categories.” Bringing them together will create new opportunities for field-defining research to advance understanding of these concepts, generate new research agendas, and train a new generation of scholars.

“Race, diaspora and indigeneity are among the most important topics studied across the social sciences,” said Amanda Woodward, dean of the Social Sciences Division and the William S. Gray Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology. “This new department offers an exciting advance in scholarly work in these areas because it aims to go beyond the study of particular social identities to investigate the historical and social processes that give rise to conceptions of race and human difference, processes that integrally involve the movements of people and connections between identity and place.”

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