University of Pittsburgh to Offer a Ph.D. Program in Africana Studies

The University of Pittsburgh’s graduate program in Africana Studies has announced that it will enroll its first cohort of students in its Ph.D. program this coming fall. The new Ph.D. program will offer students the choice of three different concentrations:

Race & Equity: Drawing from various methodological and theoretical approaches, this research theme articulates an understanding of race as a social construct with material, intellectual, cultural, political, and bioethical implications. It aims to create and develop the tools to achieve social justice and equity throughout Africa and its diaspora.

Migration & Community Transformation: This research theme analyzes the causes and implications of the movements of people of African origin throughout time and space.

Culture & Creative Production: Researchers in this concentration will seek to illuminate the intersections between socio-economic, political, intellectual, and psychological transformation and Black cultural productions in music, literature, performing, and visual arts, as well as film & media.

Robin Brooks, the program’s inaugural director, is an associate professor of Africana studies. “We see that change happening nationally, where these programs are now being institutionalized as departments and recognized as departments at different institutions. We think that the impact of 2020: the collision with a pandemic, George Floyd, all of those things, are working together for the good concerning the overall field of Africana studies.”

Dr. Brooks added that “there are continually advancements in the field and different approaches, because we’re not in a silo. We’re in a moving, rolling developing world. And so, as the world transforms, so does the field, of course. At the center of our attention is always people of African descent and the lived experiences of people of African descent across the world.”


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