The Graduate Studies Program

African American and African Diaspora Studies is a field rooted in the study of social meaning, art, and political life, produced under particular conditions and by people with both ascriptive and interior identifications with Africanness or blackness. These particular conditions take various forms, but at a foundational level consist of the encounter between the black subject and the historic juridical, economic and global political order that deems or treats her as liminal, appropriate for exploitation/subjugation and/or ancillary or supplemental to the idea of the person or human. This encounter is dialogic and dynamic and shaped by a set of aesthetic and ritual practices inherited from both West Africa and Western Europe and regularly reinterpreted to suit the particularity of the moment and the specifics of a range of sub-identities. The field of African American Studies is concerned with patterns, practices and artifacts that tend to these conditions but cannot be a closed system insofar as it does descriptive work about present and changing people. It is contingent scholarship.

– Imani Perry

The Graduate Studies Program in African American Studies provides an opportunity for graduate students to complement doctoral studies in their home department with coordinated interdisciplinary training in African American Studies and to participate in an intellectually stimulating community.

Students entering the program may come from any department in the Humanities and Social Sciences in which interdisciplinary training in African American Studies is desired. Requirements for the certificate include an introductory readings course; two additional courses; participation in the year long Faculty-Graduate Seminar; and completion of a dissertation on a topic of significance to the field of African American Studies. Certificate requirements are designed to complement the course of study in students’ home departments. In addition to the Certificate, the Department’s Graduate Affairs program sponsors programming and events throughout the academic year for graduate students at all stages with interests in African American Studies. Additionally, all Princeton graduate students have the opportunity to plan and participate in the African American Students Graduate Conference.

Acting Director of Graduate Affairs

Professor Wendy Laura Belcher
(609) 258-1683
wbelcher@princeton.edu