Welcome from the Chair: Dr. Stephanie Shonekan
#SandraBland #Lemonade #AskRachel #MikeBrown #TrayvonMartin #BlackLivesMatter #BringBackOurGirls #FeesMustFall #Haiti #JosephKony #CS1950 #HurricaneKatrina #RacismLivesHere #TakeAKnee #TamirRice #ICantBreathe
Each of these hashtags has had a global impact on the perceptions of and reactions from Black folks in the US, the Motherland, and the Diaspora. These simple hashtags are representative of complex issues that are both widely contemporary and deeply historical.
The Department of Black Studies at the University of Missouri is positioned to interrogate the roots of all these issues. Each hashtag reflects on the history of Black folks and can be analyzed through the interdisciplinary field of Black Studies. Because of our unique position in the very center of the United States, our faculty and students are deeply engaged with the historical and other scholarly foundations of these issues. We ask that our world engage with these enduring questions captured by the popular hashtags above:
- How have the definitions and constructs of blackness evolved distinctly throughout the Black world?
- What are the implications of other folks adopting or appropriating their versions of blackness?
- How should we think about the murders of Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin (to name just a few)?
- What are the preceding political and social movements that inspired the Black Lives Matter movement, or indeed our own Mizzou student-led movements?
- How does the world respond to the natural disasters and man-made tragedies when Black folks are affected?
- And how are Black lives, cultures, and experiences been captured in the performative, theatrical, musical, and literary arts?
Through classes, publications, and programs, our Black Studies community is poised to follow the threads of research to illuminate the expansiveness, the challenges, and the progress of the Black world.
I am proud to be part of a Diasporic community of scholars—faculty and students—that focus on the wide and wonderful Black world. Our geographic and cultural purview includes Africa, the Americas, and everywhere Black folks have lived for centuries. We are excited to continue to grow and to nurture the research, writing, teaching, learning, and activism that has always characterized the creation and evolution of Black Studies.
Join us! Welcome to Black Studies!
Dr. Stephanie Shonekan