Pan-African Studies launches PhD Program

Department of Pan-African Studies will offer a PhD degree beginning in Fall 2012.

Department Chair Dr. Theresa Rajack-Talley discusses the importance of this new Doctoral Program in Pan-African Studies:

The number of PhD programs in Black Studies, while slowly increasing, is still largely underrepresented in universities and colleges locally and nationally. The most recent information show that the number of institutions in Kentucky that established Black Studies programs and/or departments have increased from 3 in 2007 to 9 in 2010. Overall, there are 40 degree granting institutions in Kentucky but only 22.5% offer Black Studies. The PhD in our Department of Pan-African Studies will be the only one in the state of Kentucky and in the South.

Nationally, there are 10 PhDs in Black Studies offered at universities on either the East or West coasts, including Harvard, Yale, Northwestern, California- Berkeley, and Temple.  As such, this program will have minimum regional competition for student enrollment.  Moreover, similar programs are offered within departments that are not as well established or with a successful MA program as this department.

The expertise of the present core and affiliated faculty to the Department of Pan African Studies is spread across African American and African Diaspora history, philosophy, sociology, political science, linguistics, religion, education, social work, psychology, music, anthropology, and women’s and gender studies. This amalgam of interdisciplinary subjects makes the department a highly active research and teaching unit that is well positioned to offer a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Pan African Studies.

The PhD program is expected to train professional researchers at the highest level in one or more of the traditional disciplines as well as to focus on two substantive areas: African American or African Diaspora Studies.  Overall, the program is congruent with University’s research mission to educate students with the knowledge, analytic abilities, and professional development skills that are important for both academic and non-academic careers.  It is particularly important for this metropolitan university as approximately 52% of all African Americans in Kentucky reside in the metro Louisville area. The launch date for the program will be the fall semester of 2012.

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