Director's Message

The Center for Black Studies is an intellectual community that bridges scholarship, teaching, and public life. We are animated by our keen awareness of multiple histories out of which we emerge, and our responsibilities to the future.

The Center for Global Black Studies is the hub of Black creativity and intellectual life at the University of Miami-- welcoming students, faculty, and staff; and fostering networks of critical scholarship, research projects, and intellectual friendships that extend throughout our global communities. We aspire to create and hold hospitable space toward improving the conditions of Black Lives on campus, in Miami, and throughout the world.

In the Black Studies tradition, we see higher education as a space for critical engagement toward social transformation. We envision the project of Black Studies as a multi-disciplinary enterprise. Our faculty affiliates and collaborators come from every UM School and several disciplines and areas of expertise in Black Miami and global communities. Conceiving Black Miami as an important crossroads of the US South and the global South, we recognize that the explicit longstanding ethnic and national diversity among peoples of African descent in South Florida and transits between places make it a model for changing demographics and social conditions throughout the United States. Innovatively bridging complementary theoretical/methodological approaches of deep interdisciplinarity, and intersectionality, we seek to make the University of Miami an internationally recognized incubator for new, high-impact ideas that will confront and seek to solve seemingly intractable real-life issues.

Exemplary Global Leadership

As a private research institution situated at this crossroads, the University of Miami has a special opportunity and responsibility to collaborate with our neighbors to solve pressing problems that currently pose urgent threats to the survival of the most marginal. Currently, the University of Miami is in an excellent position to optimize its geographic location, and its exceptionally transnational student body, faculty, and staff. Black Studies faculty at the University of Miami boast wide and productive transnational ties, including award-winning and joint-publishing, collaborative and consortia research, guest teaching, mentorship of graduate students; as well as language proficiency, personal ties, and cultural competencies spanning Africa, Europe, and especially throughout the Caribbean and Greater Americas.

Integrative Student Focus

Undergraduate and graduate students are integral to every aspect of the Center—not only in classrooms, labs, and studios, but also in directed and independent research, global travel, community service, and Center projects and administration. Moreover, Global Black Studies prepares students with opportunities to take on leadership and engaged citizenship—becoming change agents with sophisticated understandings of race and other forms of difference, on a global scale. The Center will carry out our mission to educate and shape engaged citizens by:
Expanding the sense of belonging of Black Students by creating a centralized space.

• Exposing all students to Black cultures and intellectual traditions, and resources through year-round programs, local and global engagement opportunities.

• Extending opportunities for research, leadership, and professional development by including students in every aspect of the Center’s endeavors.

• Providing training for UM graduate students working in Black Studies, through teaching fellowships and assistantships.

• Contributing to global cohorts of scholars, artists, and advocates through fellowships and visiting research opportunities.

The University of Miami Program in Africana Studies offers undergraduates the opportunity to explore both distinctive Black intellectual and social-cultural traditions that Africans (on the continent and in Diaspora) have created, and the political-economic and historical structures they face. Through the centralized support of the University of Miami Center for Global Black Studies, we collaborate with the Program to not only encourage more leading-edge and intensively research-based courses for students who have identified an interest Black Studies, but also, for all UM students.

The first example of this in our “incubation” stage is the new “Black Miami Studies” Africana Studies course. Designed by Dr. Francis and co-taught with Dr. Allen, the Fall 2021 course introduced undergraduate students to race as a key analytical category in every field while also introducing them to UM faculty and their related research and scholarship on Black Miami. Distinguished local journalist and oral historian Nadege Green, who is the Center’s inaugural Community-Scholar-in-Residence, and many professors across a range of disciplines across many UM campuses generously gave their time to this course that we intend to offer each year.