Penn to Offer New Ph.D. Program in Africana Studies

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460June 2, 2008

PHILADELPHIA –- The University of Pennsylvania will offer a new Ph.D. program in Africana studies based in the Center for Africana Studies of the School of Arts and Sciences beginning in the 2009-2010 academic year.

"This new Ph.D. program will bring together faculty and students across Penn's schools to focus in depth on the most important issues in Africana studies, spanning history, society and culture," Rebecca Bushnell, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said. “Penn has a proud tradition in research and teaching in Africana studies, and we are delighted to see this program launched."

The program will use a three-track interdisciplinary approach focusing on African, African-American and African Diaspora studies. Core faculty of the graduate group in Africana studies will be drawn from Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences, Law School, Graduate School of Education, School of Nursing and Wharton School.

“This innovative doctoral program will prepare students to live and work effectively and knowledgably in a world characterized by increasing transnational social interdependence,” Camille Charles, Center for Africana Studies faculty associate director and professor of sociology, said.

The formation of Penn’s Africana studies graduate group culminates more than three decades of faculty advocate efforts.

“This reflects the desires of those who helped change the world by elevating the citizenship status of African-Americans with the civil rights and black power movements and those who challenged the justifications of colonial domination with the independence movements in Africa and the Caribbean,” Tukufu Zuberi, Center for Africana Studies director and professor of sociology, said. “While much needs to be accomplished before the battle for equality and human dignity is done, this makes a strong statement about where Penn stands in efforts to enhance the academy by removing the limits of ignorance and fear.”