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Black Studies Program

Department Overview

The purpose of the Black Studies Program is  to introduce students to the history, culture, art, social relationships, and political, religious, and economic experiences of Black people in Africa, the Americas, and elsewhere in the world, and to explore new approaches -- in perspectives, analyses and interdisciplinary techniques -- appropriate to the study of the Black experience.

Black Studies has often stood in critical relation to the traditional disciplines. Its scholars have used traditional and nontraditional methodological tools to pursue knowledge that assumes the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora are central to understanding the world accurately. The courses in the Black Studies Program at Swarthmore enhance the liberal arts tradition of the College, acknowledging positivist, comparative, progressive, modernist and postmodernist, postcolonial, and Afrocentric approaches. 

Mikayla Purnell ’22 Receives Watson Fellowship

Mikayla's project, titled “Documenting the Vibrance of Black Joy,” will entail researching and experiencing the cultural traditions of Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Nigeria, and Colombia.

Read more about Mikayla's research
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