Barnard announced this week that the College is elevating its popular Africana Studies Program to a full academic department, a move that comes just months after Africana studies celebrated its 20th anniversary. Since 1992, the program, which focuses on the multidisciplinary study of Africa and the Black Diaspora has experienced rapid growth, including the joint appointment of four faculty members with expertise in gender and diaspora. This, together with its strong curriculum and increasingly popular major and minor, helped distinguish Africana studies at Barnard as a leader among peer institutions and one of the College's signature programs. The news of the Africana Studies Program’s elevation to a department signifies Barnard's commitment to diversity and recognition of Africana studies as a thriving intellectual field of study.

“This is one of the strongest places in the country for doing Africana studies,” says Barnard President Debora Spar. “Africana studies at Barnard is vital, it’s growing, and it’s really core to much of what we do here.”

Students, faculty, alumnae, staff, and friends of the college are invited to celebrate this exciting news on October 17, in conjunction with the third annual Africana Distinguished Alumnae event, which will honor journalist, playwright, and author Thulani Davis '70. In this lecture, Davis will discuss her current study, “Fugitive Freedoms: A Race, Politics, and Blues Circuit Before Civil Rights.” The party will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Diana Center Event Oval, immediately following Davis's lecture.