Events view all

The Toni Morrison Lectures

The Toni Morrison Lectures spotlight the new and exciting work of scholars and writers who have risen to positions of prominence both in academe and in the broader world of letters. The lectures celebrate the expansive literary imagination, intellectual adventurousness and political insightfulness that characterize the writing of Toni Morrison.
September 26, 2016
4:30 PM

Half-Caste: the Calculus of Numbers and the Fictions of Racial Logistics

Intersections Working Group and Hazel Carby (Yale University)
September 20, 2016
12:00 PM

The Rewriting Wikipedia Project: Africa and the Diaspora Workshops

Center for Digital Humanities, McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, and Department of African American Studies

Connections view all

Ties between the discourse of the department and the world

If you study the culture and art of African Americans you are not studying a regional or minor culture. What you are studying is America.

Nobel Laureate, Professor Toni Morrison

Only white people can kill the idea of white people.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr., scholar at Princeton University

Despite the routine racial violence of police, courts, and prisons, state violence against black bodies is condemned only in terms of its traceability to white minds—white fear, white implicit bias, white lack of empathy.

Naomi Murakawa, scholar at Princeton University

Far from being “pointless violence,” the Black urban rebellions of the 1960s changed the direction of U.S. politics.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, scholar at Princeton University

Literature can improve awareness. You can use literature to make the government more conscious of its responsibilities to its citizens, and to reduce the disparity between the wealthy and the impoverished.

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka


How race measures up in the United States today, in black and white

Unemployment December 2015

African American Unemployment Rate 8.3% -1.2%
Hispanic Unemployment Rate 6.3% 0%
White Unemployment Rate 4.5% +0.1%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Wealth 2014

Mean Net Worth for African American Families $95,000
Mean Net Worth for Hispanic Families $112,000
Mean Net Worth for White Families $688,000
Source: Federal Reserve

Poverty 2013

African American Poverty Rate 34.0%
Hispanic Poverty Rate 31.6%
White Poverty Rate 16.7%
Source: United States Census Bureau


Department News

Professor Chika Okeke-Agulu Wins the CAA Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism

Chika Okeke-Agulu, associate professor of art and archaeology and African American studies, has been awarded the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism from the College Art Association (CAA) for his book Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in 20th-Century Nigeria (Duke University Press, 2015). The award, given for significant published art criticism that has appeared in publication in a one-year period, is named in honor of art critic and scholar Mather, who came to Princeton in 1910 from Johns Hopkins University as the first Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology, and became the director of the Princeton University Art Museum in 1922. Okeke-Agulu accepted the award at the CAA annual convention on Feb. 3 in Washington, D.C.

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Professor Ruha Benjamin Delivers the Johns Hopkins Henrietta Lacks Memorial Lecture

The Johns Hopkins for Institutional and Clinical Research sponsor the Henrietta Lacks Memorial Lecture Series with the goal of honoring the positive and global impact of the HeLa cells. The series reminds all scientists and researchers to engage research participants with respect, gratitude and clear communication. Professor Ruha Benjamin served as a the sixth honored speaker to keynote the lecture series. Benjamin’s work, through papers and her book People’s Science, engage directly with the life and legacy of Henrietta Lacks, the HeLa cells, and her family and descendants. Benjamin’s talk puts forward an idea, and forewarns against, ‘discriminatory design’ — that is, processes that are conceived of to serve people, yet do not include diverse perspectives in their planning and incubation.

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Professor Wendy Laura Belcher Featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Writer Jennifer Howard explores the early life and significant work of Professor Wendy Laura Belcher, and where the two intersect, in a feature profile, “A Broader Notion of African Literature,” which appeared in the September 2015 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Belcher spent three years living in Ethiopia as an adolescent, and then six years in Ghana. Her first book, Honey From the Rock, was autobiographical in nature about her years spent in Africa. Later, earning a Ph.D in comparative literature from UCLA, Belcher’s gaze returned to the places she lived as a youth, with sophisticated, potent and careful analyses that attract attention and increasing understanding of literature written by Africans, for Africans.

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