Statement of Values
Social demographers predict the United States will have a nonwhite majority by the middle of the 21st century. Africana Studies operates under the premise that a more racially diverse future is coming whether people want it to or not. Thus, as a program, we deconstruct certain fallacies regarding the concept of race and prepare people to contribute to American race relations without racial bigotry and hatred. In short, we contribute to the diversity of the human experience by being an anti-racist discipline.
Anecdotally speaking, our faculty tends to include more non-traditional non-white faculty members than most programs and departments at William & Mary. Thus, we contribute to the diversity of the William & Mary faculty simply by existing. The Program focuses on the history, culture, politics, and economics of the African diaspora. As an interdisciplinary discipline, we encourage multiple ways of thinking and knowing and we maintain a programmatic commitment to advancing William & Mary’s efforts to create and sustain a diverse and inclusive institution of higher learning where no student, staff or faculty member feels erased, minimized, or dehumanized.
Embrace an intellectual practice that is profoundly interdisciplinary, accommodates cross-cultural sensibilities, and applies a comparative perspective to the study of imperial, national, gender, ethnic, linguistic, and religious currents, identities, and intersections in Africa, and its far-flung Diaspora in North America, the Caribbean Basin, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and Western Europe.
Maintain an intellectual commitment of placing people of African descent at the center of our teaching, research, and governance.
Believe in a safe, democratic, and just academic environment where all, but most especially the historically marginalized and most vulnerable populations are seen, heard, and valued.
Create an academic environment that fosters equitable and inclusive thinking about diversity.
Identify, analyze, and challenge racist perspectives that explicitly or implicitly structure humanity in racial hierarchies and criticize forms of cultural racism that portray Afro-diasporic culture as a “tangle of pathology”.
Welcome many “political and ideological perspectives” in our classrooms; however, we strongly and respectfully draw the line at those perspectives that openly advocate biological and cultural racism.