Department Chair's Introduction

Welcome to Africana Studies

Dr. Christel N. Temple

The discipline of Africana Studies has experienced half a century of growth since its activist and formal origins in the 1960's.  Its contemporary, institutionalized phase is defined by structural stability, curricular and theoretical comprehensiveness, and multidimensional global and subject-area innovation, all maintained by (1) dedicated and immersed professional training and/or practice in Africana Studies and (2) both national and international organizational collectives that reinforce the mission of the discipline.  The discipline's mission is to be a clearinghouse of knowledge for the broadly conceptualized African-derived experience, a project unified by a vision to maintain and manage a structured curriculum based on a disciplinary paradigm and on the African-centered worldview, both of which reinforce academic and practical orientations, behaviors, and policy.

Ancient and pre-disciplinary traditions of humanistic, survivalist, and radical African/Black consciousness enhance the robust intellectual approaches of the discipline. The discipline is a site of academic, cultural, and socio-political vitality and relies on alliances with multiple schools of thought and critical orientations that work in tandem to advance the discipline as an uncontested site of knowledge creation of behalf of the best interests of people of African descent and of humanity.

We welcome everyone to explore knowledge from a critical point-of-view of African and African-derived perspectives and experiences. The discipline aims to train scholars to be master communicators and to achieve a high critical competency in global and comparative contexts of Africana history, religion, politics, economics, sociology, psychology, creative production, culture, aesthetics, communication, community development, gender, geography, transnationalism, Pan-Africanism, education, philosophy, language/linguistics, and health/science/technology. In addition, we invite everyone to consider the reciprocal relationship between the academy and the community which we serve and to join the discipline's endeavors to find basic and advanced ways to innovatively apply the knowledge generated by the discipline in order to enhance our society.

We invite you to engage our courses, faculty, programming, and alumni as we do our part to enhance the University's mission.  We support and participate in this mission articulated for 2016 to 2020 as The Plan for Pittwhose mission is to offer superior educational programs, advance the frontiers of knowledge and the creative endeavor, and to share expertise with private, public, and community partners through six strategic priorities: (1) To consistently deliver excellence in education; (2) to impact through pioneering research; (3) to build community strength; (4) to extend our global reach; (5) to provide top value; and (6) to secure an adequate resource base.

We do our part as a dynamic roster of faculty whose expertise reflects Africana Phenomenology and Cultural Theory, Educational Psychology, Race and Policy, Afrocentric Theory, Caribbean and Latin American History, Health Discourses and Disparities, Africanist Anthropology, Literature of Africa and the Diaspora, Diaspora Migration and Socio-Political Movements, Performance, and the Aesthetics of Dance and Sport.  Our mission is to be a leading and effective unit that models the best contemporary practices and innovations of the discipline of Africana Studies.  The intellectual investment our department makes into the domestic and international social fabric aims to advance the agency of people of African descent, an encompassing civic exploration of diversity, and the growth of a collaboratively rich, equitable, and multidimensional society, beginning with our students and the University of Pittsburgh campus.