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Black Studies

RTEmagicC_DuBois2_01Black Studies is an interdisciplinary major (a minor is available) 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:

  • Intellectual growth and consciousness through instruction and thoughtful analysis of resources
  • Scholarly inquiry and production which demonstrates knowledge, creativity, and analysis
  • Implementation, demonstration, sharing, cooperation, responsibility, and leadership within the community

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)

A picture of a desk with information about Kwanza

Introduced by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is rooted in African first-fruits celebrations.  Kwanzaa celebrates the Seven Principles of the Nguzo Saba – Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).  

A close up of a desk with information about Kwanza

SVSU was excited to host its annual Kwanzaa celebration Thursday, December 1, 2022!  The celebration was supported by SVSU’s Black Studies Program, The Office of Diversity Programs, The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, and the Organization of Black Unity. 

Black at SVSU

Originating as a project of the first class of SVSU’s Black Studies program in 2008, Black at SVSU has become a premier annual University-wide program.  This African American cultural celebration features performances and presentations celebrating African American leadership and history.  Themes of the annual event include “Honoring Our Martyrs, Fulfilling Their Vision”; “Sankofa: Looking to Our Past”; “Black Consciousness”; “Back to the Movement”; “An Africana Cultural Celebration”; “Exploring the Arts”; “Challenging Stereotypes: Celebrating African American Culture”; “Lift Every Voice: Hidden Figures, Acknowledging Hidden Gems in History”; and “Kawaida: Celebrating Africa-Centered Life.  The theme for Black at SVSU 2022, was “Umoja” and featured a fashion show with local designers, entrepreneurs, and performers.  

Black at SVSU Past Events

Black at SVSU, Move into our future

Black at SVSU - Lift every voice, hidden figures

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Contact Us

(989) 964-4062(989) 964-4062


Marc H. Peretz, D.M.A.

Associate Dean

Carlos Ramet, Ph.D.


Wickes 357


8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.