It’s official. African American Studies will have a new name. Effective Aug. 1, 2014, it will be African American and African Diaspora Studies.
Chancellor Brady gave her approval on Jan. 23, the last stage of the approval process, explains Dr. Tara Green, professor and director of the program. This is the third name for the program since its inception in 1982. Its initial name was Black Studies.
Why the change? A recent study shows that Black Studies programs now usually have some form of “Diaspora”reflected in their name, Green explains. “At UNCG, the name African American Studies did not accurately reflect the program’s evolving core curriculum, which now includes courses that do not specifically focus on the African presence in the United States. These courses include Africana literature, Making of the African Diaspora, and Special Topics in African Diaspora,” she said. These courses also highlight the research interests of some of its faculty.
UNCG’s program has garnered national recognition as one of the top 10 programs of its kind in the country, according to productivity rankings released by Academic Analytics. Data on faculty research was collected from 383 colleges and universities during the 2010-11 academic year. Among the activities measured were book and journal publications, conference proceedings, federal grants, and professional honors and awards. UNCG’s program ranked in the company of Ivy League universities Harvard and Yale, as well as programs closer to home at Duke and Emory.