The Department of Black Studies

Black Studies, now celebrating more than 40 years as a university discipline, is a 21st Century academic discipline established through the demands of students, faculty and supportive academic administrators. There are more than 250 universities with Black Studies departments and programs, a number of departments that offer Master's degrees, and nine universities that offer Ph. D's in Africana/Africology/ Black Studies. The Ph.D. programs are institutionalized at prestigious universities nationwide, with the first established at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The others are at Harvard University, Yale University, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Michigan State University, Northwestern University in Illinois, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Iowa University at Bloomington.

The Department of Black Studies at SUNY New Paltz offers two multi-disciplinary majors devoted to the exploration and analysis of the history and culture of African people in the United States, Caribbean, and Africa: a Liberal Arts Major, and an Elementary Education major focusing on Birth-Grade 2 (B-2) and Grades 1-6. These majors define the Black experience from an African and Afro-American centered perspective rather than Euro-centric perspective, illuminate the contribution of African people to world culture, and correct a traditional approach to the study of world history that has tended to bypass the African Diaspora experience.

Established in 1969 under the direction of Dr. Marjorie Butler, the Department of Black Studies seeks to:

  • provide an accurate and thorough treatment of the history of people of African ancestry.
  • examine the impact of current economic, social, and political forces that shape the Black experience.
  • contribute to a basic understanding of the unique issues people of African ancestry face in the modern world.
  • provide an opportunity to study in depth and breadth the artistic expression of people of African ancestry.
  • afford an opportunity for research and creative activity in Black Studies on campus and in the community.
  • foster marketable skills in speaking, writing, and analysis.

A major in Black Studies also has practical applications. It may be utilized as the foundation for graduate studies in all areas of social sciences, including history, sociology, political science and the study of law; it provides a background for students interested in the field of social welfare as a vocation it provides added dimension for those seeking careers in government and foreign services. The Black Studies B-2 and 1-6 curricula lead to careers in teaching.

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How to Contact the Department
Department of Black Studies
Office: Faculty Office Building West 2
State University of New York at New Paltz
1 Hawk Drive.
New Paltz, NY 12561

Phone: (845) 257-2760
Fax: (845) 257-2768