Emory University Announces Its African American Studies PhD. Program


Emory University, a private school in Georgia, has announced the rollout of a new African American studies  Ph.D. program that will be the first at a private university in the South.

According to a press release, the program is currently taking applications, and the first doctoral students are set to enroll next fall.

“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.”

Emory University has a long history of promoting African American Studies. The private institution established the first undergraduate major in African American studies in 1971, making it the first university in the South with a degree-granting African American studies program.

Historian and Emory Professor of African American studies Carol Anderson has been a significant part of the effort to establish the program at Emory University, which has been in development for five years. Each student in the program will receive training in one of three fields: gender and sexuality, social justice and social justice movements, and expressive arts and culture.

“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,” Anderson said in a statement.

The program will feature 14 core faculty members and more than 40 affiliated faculty members, including scholars with research specializations in a litany of disciplines, 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. Emory’s faculty gives the program one of the nation’s largest graduate faculties of any African American studies Ph.D. program.

According to Dianne Stewart, a Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Religion and African American Studies and the interim chair of the department, the goal for the new Ph.D. program is “to translate our vision in such a way that would feature our program’s distinctiveness as well as its integral contributions to Emory’s Laney Graduate School and the wider landscape of African American studies Ph.D. programs across the nation.”

The program also plans to be cutting edge with faculty and students engaging in debates and conversation on current events, including the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and what it means to be a public scholar.


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