New York University’s Department of History includes 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. 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. This is by design.
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, a method in its own right, is therefore embraced by the African Diaspora field.
Related Programs. Within the History Department are a number of parallel 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.
Outside of the History Department is a wealth of programs and scholars with which students of the African Diaspora can connect. In Africana Studies alone are Kamau Brathwaite, Manthia Diawara, Michael Dash, and Michael Ralph. By no means exhaustive, the list of faculty with related expertise includes Barbara Browning and Tavin Nyong’o in Performance Studies; Nikhil Singh, Phillip Brian Harper and Arlene Davila in American Studies; George Yudice in Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Deborah Willis in Photography; Troy Duster in Sociology; Gerard Aching and Sybille Fischer in Spanish and Portuguese; Kyra Gaunt and Jairo Moreno in Music; Renée Blake in Linguistics; Aisha Khan in Anthropology; Gage Averill in Ethnomusicology; and Ed Guerrero and Robert Stam in Cinema Studies.