NEW DOCTORAL PROGRAM IS ONE OF ONLY TEN IN US
CORNELL UNIVERSITY NEWSROOM/NEWSWISE
NOVEMBER 25, 2013
ITHACA, N.Y. – Cornell University’s College of Arts and
Sciences has announced the establishment of the first Ph.D. program in
Africana Studies in New York State.
Although 300 undergraduate
programs in Black and Africana studies have been founded in the U.S.
over the last 40 years, there are only 10 doctoral programs. With 20 to
30 percent of current faculty in the field likely to retire over the
next decade – and only about 10 Ph.D. degrees granted in the field each
year – Cornell’s new doctoral program will be an important contribution
to the vibrancy of Africana studies.
“With a critical mass of
scholars whose work represents the cutting edge in Africana Studies,
Cornell is especially well positioned to implement a doctoral program
that will meet the future demand for scholars with rigorous intellectual
training,” said Gretchen Ritter, the Dean of Cornell’s College of Arts
“Cornell’s unique resources, with its renowned
faculty, seven colleges and world-class libraries, will enable this to
quickly become one of the top doctoral programs in the field,” said
Cornell University Provost Kent Fuchs.
As an interdisciplinary
field, Africana studies examines issues such as race, ethnicity, class,
gender and sexuality in relation to the history, society, culture and
arts of people of Africa and people of African descent in the United
States, the Caribbean, Latin America and the broader African diaspora.
Cornell’s degree program will consist of two thematic tracks, one
focused on “Historical, Political, and Social Analysis” and the other on
“Cultural, Literary, and Visual Analysis.” Students within each track
will choose a geographic area of concentration: Africa, African America,
the Caribbean and Latin America, or “Emerging Studies of the Global
Cornell’s Africana Studies and Research Center
(ASRC), the administrative base for the new program, was established in
1969, making Cornell a pioneer in the field. About 150 students have
received the master’s degree since 1973, and almost one-third of those
students have continued on for further graduate study at some of the
most selective research universities in the country. Many of them have
completed the doctorate and are now teaching at colleges and
universities throughout the United States, with most having received
The new Ph.D. program will build on this success,
continuing the ASRC’s tradition of close mentoring and student
interaction with faculty. Students will have opportunities to assist
faculty with research, teaching and organizing programs, and will be
encouraged to participate in formal and informal study groups. They will
also have the chance to design and teach freshman writing seminars.
is with much excitement that we look forward to welcoming our first
class of doctoral students in Fall 2014. We anticipate enrolling four to
five students in the doctoral program for academic year 2014-15, with a
projected five-year enrollment of 20 to 25 students,” said Salah
Hassan, Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual
Culture, and Director of ASRC.
Partly in anticipation of the new
Ph.D. program, the ASRC has expanded significantly in the last few
years, with five new faculty members and the recruitment of two more
underway. This is in addition to the expansion of its African Languages
Program, which offers instructions in three African languages, with
anticipation of more. The ASRC’s space has been renovated and expanded
by over 5,000 square feet, including more space for the John Henrik
Clarke Africana Library, faculty offices, four seminar and classrooms,
lounge areas for faculty and graduate students, and a large
Note: For additional information, see http://africana.cornell.edu/graduate/index.cfm.
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