Black Studies

Black Studies at Occidental is a transnational and transdisciplinary engagement with the histories, scholarship, politics, arts and cultures of people of the African diaspora.

Launched in 2018, Black Studies at Oxy originated as a program that brought together faculty from American Studies, Politics, History, Diplomacy and World Affairs, English and other departments. In 2021, Black Studies became an independent department. Departmental faculty now offera vibrant roster of courses and activities for students who wish to examine the necessity of Black intellectual, political, and cultural thought, movements and action on the world and in specific communities. In our courses, you will come to understand how class, location, gender and sexuality intersect with and inform Black identities, cultures and political engagements, in the past and in the present.

The faculty in Black Studies at Oxy understand our training to be one grounded in relational thought. We take to heart the notion of study as meaning the simultaneous commitment to specificity and overlap. We understand the transnational and diasporic trajectory of Black Studies to originate from the embodied knowledges, intellectual traditions, cultural practices and political struggles of Black peoples, and also in solidarity with those across the world committed to decolonization and liberation. From Turtle Island to Hawai’i, from Haiti to Ireland, from Vietnam to Algeria, from Palestine to Kenya, from the Philippines to South Africa, we study the ways in which Black thought, resistance, creation and insistence on a more just world do not exist in a vacuum. Truly, we believe that Black Studies is for everyone. 

Through exposure to these overlaps, ongoing debates and traditions you will gain an appreciation for the centrality of people of African descent to major intellectual, artistic, political and cultural developments throughout the world. You might experience Black communities outside the United States through study abroad, or you can choose to get involved locally through community-based partnerships here in Los Angeles.

The major’s requirements offer powerful tools for criticism and analysis, preparing you for careers in fields such as law, medicine, education, arts, and entertainment. In our increasingly complex and pluralistic world, Black Studies  prepares students to better analyze the interconnected histories of people across diverse communities in all of their nuances and complexities.

Meet Our Faculty

Contact Black Studies
Johnson Hall 113