As a transdisciplinary department that combines topics and methods drawn from the humanities and social sciences, the graduate programs in American Studies/Africana Studies and Social & Cultural Analysis are committed to analyzing the relationships between individuals, groups, institutions, governments, economies, and environments. We draw our topics and methods from a wide array of fields including social geography, feminist and queer theory, ethnic studies, disability studies, critical race theory, labor studies, and cultural studies. As such, our department is committed to facing the COVID-19 pandemic by enacting the values of equity, inclusivity, solidarity, intellectual creativity, innovation, and scholarly excellence that have long defined our programs. During the Fall semester of 2020, this means prioritizing public health and making sure all our courses are in compliance with NYU, city, and state guidelines and that we are taking every appropriate measure to ensure the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students. The disproportionate representation of COVID-19 infection and death in Black and brown communities makes us particularly attentive to developing classroom policies and practices that avoid compounding the impact of racial health inequities.
Our fall courses will be conducted through a combination of "in person," "blended," "online," and "independent study." A number of graduate courses will also be breaking down their seminars into small, intensive, Oxford-style tutorials that will be conducted both in-person and remotely. Students who are unable or do not wish to attend classes in person will have the option to participate remotely. Instructors are encouraged to be flexible about course scheduling or to offer asynchronous learning options for students who need to participate remotely from a different time zone. Students should reach out to course instructors by email to discuss remote learning options. Course listings will be updated regularly in Albert to indicate the method of instruction for each course.
The Department of Social & Cultural Analysis and our graduate programs will continue to offer a wide range of co-curricular programming for students during Fall 2020. We are committed to offering a vibrant schedule of public events that include academic lectures, conferences, webinars, podcasts, and film series. All of our events will be structured so that students who are taking courses locally and remotely can participate.
The department is currently developing supplemental programming with a particular focus on the politics of public health and the many ways marginalized communities have been affected by COVID-19. In addition, programming dealing with questions of race, violence, prisons, and policing is being planned and will be announced at a future date. We are particularly committed to making sure Fall 2020 is remembered as a critical intellectual moment in which graduate students and faculty worked together to develop a scholarly ethos and research agenda that meets this moment, allowing us to develop critical and timely analysis of the multiple crises we are currently navigating.
Students are encouraged to reach out to the department chair and director of graduate studies with any questions or concerns about the upcoming academic year.