The Center for African American Studies

Monday, May 7, 2012

A model for teaching and research on race in America

 Oppositional Culture and the Black-White Achievement Gap, by Angel Harris, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, June 2011 (Harvard University Press).The Center for African American Studies (CAAS) is dedicated to the exploration of the political, economic and cultural forces that shape the experiences of African-descended people in the U.S.

Research within CAAS is interdisciplinary in nature and part of a broader endeavor to understand  history and experiences of African Americans.

With 15 core faculty, CAAS is home to faculty members with joint appointments in departments ranging from African and African American literature to Religion, Sociology, Art and Archaeology, History, Anthropology, Psychology and English.

Faculty research projects include:

-A quantitative debunking of the theory that black students underperform in classrooms because they want to avoid being identified as "acting white."

-An exploration of "post-intentional" racial inequality in which discrimination is not intentional but is still present, and ideas about how this can be addressed.

-An urban education project seeking to determine whether curriculum-based tutoring and mentoring on learning skills can benefit students differently than homework-based tutoring programs.

 -The untold story of black burlesque star Josephine Baker and her role as a principal figure in the making of Euro-American Modernism.

 The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States by Imani Perry, professor, Center for African American Studies, and faculty associate, Program in Law and Public Affairs (NYU Press, February 2011) .

In addition to research, CAAS hosts several lecture series and routinely brings thought leaders, entertainers, scholars and other public figures to campus. CAAS also hosts conferences aimed at examining topics such as racial tensions in the justice system.

Created in 2006, CAAS offers an undergraduate certificate and recently began offering a graduate certificate in African American studies. Also available are fellowships for scholars and postdoctoral researchers. CAAS also hosts visiting lecturers.

Through the Civic Initiatives in Urban Education Reform,
Art and Social Justice, and Environmental Justice program, CAAS offers opportunities to engage in research that benefits local communities.

“We believe that CAAS is charting the future trajectory of African American Studies in the 21st Century" said  Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., chair of CAAS and the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies.

"Our aim is to expand our students’ understanding of the complexities of race in the U.S. and abroad in the context of the best liberal arts education in the world," he said.

"Princeton students, no matter their major, will hopefully encounter -- whether through our programming or in the classroom – African American Studies. And we are confident that such an encounter will prepare them for the world that awaits.”