New York University’s Department of History features a Ph.D. field in the study of the African Diaspora. As the African Diaspora is as much a conceptual landscape as a geographic one, the field encourages research agendas that explore connections involving communities of the African-descended that extend beyond geopolitical boundaries; the interrogation of relationships of varying nature and scope with Africa; and/or the examination of a specific site or idea that engages with the African Diaspora as a conceptual framework. Lines of inquiry can extend in any direction, and can focus on the cultural, social, political, scientific, and economic, or on any combination thereof.
Study of the African Diaspora at NYU is linked closely to the study of Africa, a separate but related Ph.D. course of study. By design, students in the African Diaspora acquire a familiarity with the dimension of Africa most related to their interests, and their professional development is keenly shaped by the experience.
While housed in History and fundamentally historical in approach and training, the study of the African Diaspora, to be successful, must necessarily be informed by methods and perspectives derived from disciplines outside of History. Interdisciplinary work, a method in its own right, is therefore embraced by the African Diaspora field.
Within the History Department are a number of parallel, related Ph.D. fields whose curricula greatly enhance the study of the African Diaspora. In addition to the field in African History are those concerning the Atlantic World, Latin American and the Caribbean, Europe, and the U.S.
There is also a wealth of scholars outside of the History Department with whom students of the African Diaspora may consult. By no means exhaustive, the list of faculty with related expertise includes Fred Moten and Barbara Browning in Performance Studies; Awam Ampka, Renée Blake, and Michael Ralph in Africana Studies; Kwame Coleman, Marie Cruz Soto, Kimberly DaCosta, Millery Polyne, and Myisha Priest in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study; Manthia Diawara in Comparative Studies; Maureen Mahon in Music; Deborah Willis in Photography; Rosalind Fredericks in Geography and Urban Studies; Arlene Dávila in Anthropology and American Studies; Aisha Khan in Anthropology; and Robert Stam in Cinema Studies.
Finally, there are a number of centers and institutes at NYU with programs and events of direct interest to students studying the African Diaspora. These include the Center for the Study of Africa and the African Diaspora (CSAAD); the Institute of African American Affairs and Center for Black Visual Culture; La Maison Française; and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.