notes on stanford’s black studies panel

I was very lucky to be on a panel with some very excellent scholars such as Kimberly McNair, Aileen K. Robinson, and Eddie Glaude, Jr. The issue was how to move Stanford’s unit from program to department. I started off with a historical over view of how Black Studies and Black Power are related. Then, Eddie Glaude, Jr. spoke about the challenges of moving Princeton’s program to department status. Kimberly McNair spoke about the role of activism in the Black Studies field and Aileen K. Robinson spoke about her experiences in various kinds of Africana Studies units.

A few brief comments:

  1. The bureaucratic resistance to Black Studies has been constant for over 50 years. Many of the issues that Professor Glaude mentioned also happened at other programs. While Black Studies is urgent for students and scholars, it must overcome either indifference or hostility at higher levels.
  2. Professor Robinson spoke about the variety of educational experiences to be found in programs organized at departments and interdisciplinary. A key issue is that she found both forms of academic organization had important things to offer.
  3. Professor McNair raised multiple issues. Once that I thought was interesting was the role of activism. One thing that I found in my historical study of Africana programs is that many activists don’t have a sense of what make the university tick and thus sometimes have a tough time.

The big issue in the talk was the shift to the department structure, which grants relative permanence, stability, authority, and resources. I look forward to when the Clayman Institue posts the discussion.

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Written by fabiorojas

September 10, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Posted in uncategorized

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