Joni Boye-Beaman, Ph.D.
Eric Gardner, Ph.D.
Black Studies is an interdisciplinary minor (curriculum) comprised of courses from the departments of Communication, English, History, Political Science, and Sociology.
The mission of the Black Studies degree at SVSU is to provide a cross-disciplinary examination of historical and contemporary African and African American agency. This examination seeks to develop the intellectual, creative, and analytical skills of those engaged in the Black Studies program. At its root this degree is grounded culturally in the African Diaspora and advances academic excellence and social responsibility.
According to activist-scholar Dr. Maulana Karenga, “Black Studies is the critical and systematic study of the thought and practice of African people in their current and historical unfolding” (Karenga, 2002). The scope of our examination includes the whole of the African Diaspora i.e. the examination of Africans dispersed throughout the world. Particular emphasis is placed on the study of agency, “the capacity and will to act.” It is similarly the goal of the critical study and analysis of African and African American agency to awaken the agency and consciousness of those engaged in the Black Studies program at SVSU. Therefore, this degree complements majors in all degrees providing students the tools needed to succeed in our diverse world.
As a cross-disciplinary degree Black Studies provides the breadth necessary to examine, analyze, and interpret the complexities of African and African American agency. The Black Studies degree at Saginaw Valley State University builds and strengthens preexisting yet often informal relations between students, faculty, staff, and the community.
In addition to its objectives, the Black Studies degree at Saginaw Valley State University emphasizes three areas of development:
These three areas of development are in keeping with and reflect the three areas of focus for the larger mission of the Black Studies discipline: cultural grounding; academic excellence; social responsibility. (Karenga, 2002)