African American Studies in the Ferment of Contemporary Higher Education

Lecture Description

One of the most transformative developments in U.S. higher education since the late 1960s and early 1970s has been the creation, growth, and evolution of Black/Africana Studies academic units at historically white institutions of higher learner. The status of Black Studies programs, centers, and departments in academia has become more consequential over the past decade as colleges and universities have moved to recruit and hire more Black students, faculty, staff, and even administrators, especially in the wake of campus-based “Black Lives Matter” mobilizations following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
These developments all have occurred parallel to a surge in political polarization and white supremacist violence in U.S. society, much of it driven by a long-term reaction to the historic presidency of Barack Obama. Likewise, campuses have become ensnared in renewed “culture wars” surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion in curriculum, hiring, research, and the overall teaching and learning environment.  This talk discusses what all of this means for Black Studies in the twenty-first century, exploring the bigger question of whether institutions of higher education can be the transformative laboratories of democratic citizenship and social mobility that they are heralded to be.


African American Education

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