New Undergraduate Degree in Black Diaspora and African American Studies


Beginning in the fall term of 2022, the African American Studies program will deliver a new Bachelor of Arts in Black Diaspora and African American Studies. They will also continue to offer it as a minor.

The minor –– which was first established at Thurgood Marshall College in 2005 and graduated first in 2007 –– became a program of the Arts and Humanities Division in 2014. Graduates of the minor represent 23 different disciplines, ranging from biology to visual. arts. The minor has proven useful for careers in law, public policy, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social justice.

Students will have the opportunity to specialize in one of three concentrations: Africa and Black Diaspora, African American Studies, or Interdisciplinary Studies where students can choose selected topics and issues from multiple departments.

The 52-unit program will also establish service-learning courses, including comprehensive courses and academic work. Jessica Graham, director of the Black Studies Program in the Division of Social Sciences, received $ 2.5 million from the university to strengthen and expand the focus on African American studies. Graham hopes the best academics in the field will be drawn to campus. She also hopes that students can research innovative topics and have access to a larger pool of mentors and advisors.

In addition, the office of the president of the University of California has awarded the university $ 700,000, which will lead to the hiring of 13 new professors who will focus their research on racial disparities in STEM. Similar study programs were created in the 1960s during the civil rights and black power movements. The Black Lives Matter movement has given people a better understanding of anti-blackness and systemic racism in higher education, reinforcing the need for more funding.

Along with African American Studies, the Arts and Humanities Division now administers 15 cultural programs, including Japanese, Chicanx and Latinx, and Pacific Island Studies. Interdisciplinary studies between majors allow students to think critically about social justice and broader questions of identity.

Thandeka Chapman, director of the African American studies program, said that “currently the African American studies program does not have many STEM-related courses, and hiring professors in these fields will give students science students the chance to see each other. . Many students come to UC San Diego for STEM training, but we don’t have a concrete way to talk to them as African American and Black students in their field.

One of the goals of this new degree is to enable students to understand how black people make a difference in society culturally, economically, politically and socially. The major will hopefully help students learn more about racism, capitalism, and colonization.

Graham hopes that the best academics in the field will be drawn to campus and that students can study and research innovative topics and have access to a larger pool of mentors and advisers. Students will be able to work with researchers from the faculty of the Black Studies Project. The Black Studies Project is a research center made up of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from UCSD. They focus on groundbreaking research, intellectual exchange, and the strengthening of subjects focused on Black Studies. She wants the major to help UCSD recognize the importance of this research, especially in STEM fields, and build a sense of community among black students, faculty, and staff.

Photo courtesy of Brendan Wilson for The UCSD Guardian.


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