Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

And Northwestern Makes Seven; New Black Studies Program to Launch This Fall Is Latest to Offer Doctorate

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

And Northwestern Makes Seven; New Black Studies Program to Launch This Fall Is Latest to Offer Doctorate

Article excerpt

EVANSTON, III.

After years of planning, Northwestern University is launching its doctoral program in African-American studies next month, making it only the seventh American university to offer a doctorate in the academic discipline.

Six students will enroll in the doctoral program and will focus on three areas of research: expressive arts, literature and cultural studies; politics, society and policy; and history. Northwestern officials say the program will also have strong Black queer studies and diaspora studies components.

The creation of Northwestern's doctoral program comes at a time when some have questioned the effectiveness of Black studies programs, which took hold on American college campuses in the 1960s and 1970s.

Dr. Richard Iton, an associate professor of African-American studies at Northwestern and its director of graduate studies, says the program will benefit from the university's proximity to Chicago.

"Chicago is well known as a city rich in Black history and cultural institutions," says Iton. "Within academia, it also is known as home to the largest contingent of relatively young scholars working in the field today."

In addition to Northwestern, Harvard University, Michigan State University, Temple University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Yale University all offer doctoral programs in Black studies. Officials at each school say the programs differ in their individual approaches to the field. …

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