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Drew University Revitalizes Africana Studies Program

In its second year, the program celebrates continued growth during Black History Month

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Black History Month Flag Ceremony

February 2024 – In the fall 2022 semester, Drew University revitalized its Africana Studies program, an interdisciplinary program that offers extensive study of the history, cultures, politics, and socioeconomic structures of Africa and the African Diaspora. 

Students develop a comparative perspective in order to understand the rich network of linkages, movements, and exchanges among African peoples, as well as the complex geographical and cultural landscapes that shape their lives, and the interactions among Europeans, Asians, Native Americans and peoples of African descent.

Africana Studies Chair Tami Navarro has spearheaded the revitalization of the program, offering courses such as Gender and Labor: Ideology and Women’s Work, an exploration of the links between gender and labor, grounded primarily in ethnography and political economy, and Black Women in Anthropology, exploring ethnographic work produced by Black women in both the past and present of anthropology, imagining a future for Black feminism within the discipline of anthropology.

“I am excited about the programming, courses, and partnerships here at Drew and look forward to continuing to grow Africana Studies with support and input from students, faculty, and staff,” said Navarro, who recently appeared in the New York Amsterdam News.

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Welcoming author Tiphanie Yanique, center, at Writers@Drew event

In addition, Navarro teaches a first-year seminar course, The African Diaspora in the Americas: Examining the Black Experience Across Contexts and Spaces. “I encourage all students to take this course as it gives an introduction to some of the key ideas, people, and moments of the African Diaspora,” she said.

Now in its second year, the program continues to expand and offer rich and educational Black History Month programming through on-campus partnerships and engagements.

The month kicked off with a Flag Ceremony and reception, co-hosted with Drew’s Center for Civic Engagement and Student Engagement. Flags from diasporic countries were placed and honored by faculty, students, and staff members. 

Africana Studies, together with the English Department and Writers@Drew, also hosted author Tiphanie Yanique. 

Last year during Black History Month, Africana Studies had the opportunity to work with Drew’s Civic Engagement department to welcome Ruha Benjamin to campus to discuss her book, Viral Justice.  

Together with the Jewish Studies program, Africana Studies also welcomed Michael Twitty, culinary historian, public scholar, and author of Koshersoul and The Cooking Gene.

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