Overview: About This Issue Africana Studies at the Graduate Level: A Twenty-First Century Perspective

Article excerpt

The primary objective of this edited volume is to focus on the state and future of graduate studies in Black/ Africana Studies. Our aim as editors is to bring together key scholars in the field who broadly represent the philosophical and pedagogical scope in the existing PhD offering institutions: Temple University, University of California-Berkeley, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Harvard University, Yale, Northwestern, Michigan State, University of Wisconsin, University of Pennsylvania, and Indiana University. This will also be of interest to the growing MA degree granting programs such as at the University of Kansas.

In the autumn of 2005 the editors produced a symposium and a survey relating to Black Studies in the academy. Mark Christian organized the symposium at Miami University (Ohio), while Stephanie Evans conducted a survey of the graduate coordinators at Temple, UMass, UC-Berkeley, Michigan State, Harvard, and Northwestern to inquire about the history and state of doctoral programs in Black Studies.

Dr. Christian's work led to him editing a special issue on the symposium papers for Sage's the Journal of Black Studies (Vol. 36 (5) May 2006). In her survey, Dr. Evans asked quantitative questions regarding the make-up of graduate populations and qualitative questions about the comprehensive examination. The results were published in an article titled "The State and Future of the PhD in Black Studies: Assessing the Role of the Comprehensive Examination" appearing in the Southern Conference on African American Studies' GRIOT (May 2006).

After we had both contemplated our similar interests in mapping out the future of Black Studies in the academy, the editors decided to develop a research project together that could encompass our collective vision. Overall, our intention is to provide a comprehensive look at the existing Black Studies PhD programs that will be accessible in one volume. We accept that presently Black Studies is largely viewed as an interdisciplinary body of knowledge that focuses on the historical and contemporary experiences of peoples of African heritage. …