Emory University Has Announced the Debut of a Ph.D. Program in African American Studies

Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, is establishing a Ph.D. program in African American studies. The university states that the doctoral program is the first of its kind in the southeastern United States and the first at a private university in the entire South. Each student in the program will receive specialized training in one of three fields: gender and sexuality; social justice and social movements; or expressive arts and cultures. The program is currently taking applications, with the first doctoral students set to enroll in fall 2023.

African American studies has a long history at Emory, which established the first undergraduate major in the interdisciplinary field in 1971, making it the first degree-granting African American studies program in the South.

The new program’s core faculty includes scholars with research specializations in a broad range of fields, including American studies, anthropology, art history, comparative literature, creative writing, educational studies, English, history, music, political science, religious studies, sociology and women’s, gender and sexuality studies. There are 14 core faculty and another 40 faculty members who will be affiliated with the program. “Emory will have the largest graduate faculty of any African American studies Ph.D. program in the nation,” notes Walter Rucker, professor of African American studies and history.

“I couldn’t be more excited or more proud that we are launching our African American studies Ph.D. program,” says Carla Freeman, interim dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences. “Our faculty have invested years of strategic planning, imagination, and bold ambition to develop the curriculum and recruit top scholar-teachers working across the humanities and social sciences in this vibrant interdisciplinary field.”

“The Ph.D. program in African American studies is something that we have worked so hard for and is so necessary, given the situation where we are right now in terms of understanding the inequities in America, how we got here and how we get out,” added historian Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory..


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  1. Etienne A. Kouakou, Ed.D. says:

    I wish I were a lot younger! I recently (two to three semesters ago) created a curriculum for my freshman composition class. It was in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, and many young people were out on the streets, demonstrating. I felt that I had to contribute to this movement, so I pushed aside the curriculum I was about to use and created “The Edmund Pettus Bridge: Toward a More Civil Conversation about Race in the United States.” I spent the next two weeks online and gathered all the materials (texts and videos) for the course. Those who know Fordham University in the Bronx, NY know that the student body is primarily caucasian… long story short, the reception has been fantastic, to say the least.

    Do the program administrators intend to have some form of online component?

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