In June of 2016, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to make African American Studies the newest Department in Georgetown College. Previously, African American Studies was an interdisciplinary program founded in 2003. Each semester, there are approximately twenty rigorous courses offered, taught by Georgetown’s distinguished faculty, that satisfy the undergraduate curriculum requirements.
African American Studies sponsors and co-sponsors a number of academic events each year, contributing to the intellectual life and student life of the campus community. African American Studies sponsors regular colloquies for faculty, staff, and students interested in, working in, or minoring/majoring in African American Studies. Since 2003, the program has hosted at least one major lecture each year, with speakers including Dr. Lee Baker, anthropologist of Duke University; Dr. Ronald Walters, political scientist of the University of Maryland; Dr. Hortense Spillers, literary and cultural critic of Vanderbilt University, Dr. Paul Gilroy, cultural theorist and sociologist formerly of Yale University, Dr. Patricia Hill Collins, sociologist of the University of Maryland, Kenneth Mack, law professor of Harvard University’s Law School, and Dr. L.H. Stallings, women’s and gender studies professor of the University of Maryland. The program sponsored, in conjunction with the British Council, the Lannan Programs, and the GU Humanities Initiative, an annual Black British writer in residency program.
Additionally, the program has sponsored and co-sponsored a number of classroom speakers during the academic year, with lectures of interest to mathematicians, economists, literary critics, historians, musicians, sociologists, anthropologists and political scientists. In 2006, the program convened a symposium on Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement, which aired live on C-SPAN, in addition to co-sponsoring the University’s Brown v. Board of Education commemoration in 2004.
The Department will continue in these traditions and looks forward to sponsoring programs that further the Department and University’s mission.