Emory University launches African American Studies PhD program

By greatbritton



Emory University is currently taking applications for its new African American Studies PhD program — the first of its kind at a private university in the Southeast, the school announced in a news release this week.

The program, which is expected to begin accepting students in Fall 2023, will offer specialized training in one of three fields: gender and sexuality, social justice and social movements or expressive arts and cultures.

“I couldn’t be more excited or more proud that we are launching our African American studies PhD program,” said 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 is currently taking applications for its new African American Studies PhD program, which will be the first of its kind at a private university in the Southeast. (AdobeStock)

Emory established the first undergraduate major in African American studies in 1971. At the time, it was the first degree-granting program in the South that was dedicated to African American studies.

“The PhD 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,” said historian Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies, via the university’s news release.

Anderson also remarked on a universal aspect of the program. “What is so powerful about this PhD program is that it not only trains scholars, but also trains people to work outside the academy so that they can bring that expertise to public policy positions, to cultural arts positions, to NGOs.”

Walter Rucker, professor of African American studies and history, noted that Emory — which has 14 core faculty and 40 more affiliated faculty throughout the university — “will have the largest graduate faculty of any African American studies PhD program in the nation,” he said, adding that the program “will provide a rich intellectual space and training for doctoral students.”

The PhD program announcement comes on the heels of reports that a course at the university will focus on filmmaker Tyler Perry, joining the likes of Sidney Poitier and Spike Lee, theGrio reported

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