Black Studies at The University of Texas at Austin is a collective endeavor like no other Black Studies initiative in the country. With a history rooted in activism, the group draws its strength from four distinct yet aligned campus units – the African and African Diaspora Studies Department, the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis, and the Art Galleries at Black Studies. Through cutting-edge policy research, thought-provoking scholarship, and robust arts and cultural programming, Black Studies at UT is a premiere research and education destination for students, faculty, visiting scholars, and the community at large. Compelling research, programming, and scholarly pursuits are happening every day in Black Studies at UT Austin.
The mission of the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (IUPRA) is to conduct, organize, promote, and support the production of relevant policy research and analysis related to urban issues. The Institute’s staff, academic fellows, and graduate students generate publication, reports, briefs, and grants and contracts with the aim of shaping policy to enhance the lives of African American and other people of color in the state of Texas. IUPRA was developed in 2011 through the collaborative efforts of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, the John Warfield Center for African and African-American Studies, and the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. Development of IUPRA was seen as an important method for understanding the impact of public policies on Black people and communities, especially in Texas. Conducting critical policy analyses of existing and proposed legislation was seen as a means of developing data about the causes, content, and consequences of public policy by race, ethnicity, class, language, sexual orientation, gender, history, and culture. The diverse products IUPRA generates are designed to meet the needs of local, national, and international audiences, including organizations, communities of color, legislatures, scholars, and the general public. Dr. Kevin Cokley is Director of IUPRA and is a Professor of Educational Psychology and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
The African and African Diaspora Studies Department (AADS) promotes activist academics and is dedicated to the study of the intellectual, political, artistic, and social experiences of people of African descent throughout Africa and the African Diaspora, including the United States. The African and African Diaspora Studies Department (AADS), the first Black Studies Program to grant Ph.D. degrees in the southern U.S., is committed to interdisciplinary scholarship and creative production that explores questions of social justice for Black people around the globe. The scholarship, cultural creativity, and pedagogical practices reflect investment in comparative and transnational approaches, intersectional analyses, and critical theoretical frameworks. They also reflect the department’s collective commitment as scholars, artists, teachers, and students to bridging the perceived gap between scholarly and artistic work, and political engagement. Promote the activist academic careers of our faculty members, the department coordinates with Black staff on University issues of relevance to Black communities, and collaborate with local, national, and international organizations in the investigation and enhancement of the lives of Black people. In this endeavor, it works in concert with The John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (WCAAAS) and the Institute for Urban Policy and Research Analysis (IUPRA). Dr. Cherise Smith is Chair of AADS, as well as Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin and Executive Director of the Art Galleries at Black Studies.
The John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (WCAAAS) is the research and programming division of the larger Black Studies community at the University of Texas at Austin. Since its inception at The University of Texas at Austin in June 1969, WCAAAS has been a focal point for campus and community life around the cultural, sociopolitical, artistic, economic, and historical experiences of Africans and their descendants.
The Center facilitates research that is dedicated to the intellectual, political, artistic, and social development of people of African descent in the African Diaspora as well as the African continent. Scholarship and cultural production draw on the expertise of affiliates in a wide variety of fields and disciplines, including Education, History, Literary Studies, Political Science, Social Work, and Communications, among others. The Center supports the research and programmatic initiatives of its faculty affiliates and students, and collaborates with local organizations in the investigation and enhancement of the lives of Black people. Through its focus on research, programming, and community engagement, the Center supports scholarship and creative work that seek to foster social justice for people of African descent around the world. Dr. Minkah Makalani is Director of WCAAAS and Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
AGBS (The Art Galleries at Black Studies at the University of Texas) is a platform from which to unpack timely social issues, through the arts. From exhibitions celebrating contemporary creative expression, to displays of archives and material culture, AGBS is the sole on-campus entity dedicated to showcasing narratives of Africa and the African Diaspora. Comprised of two galleries—The Christian-Green Gallery and the Idea Lab—AGBS spaces are premier destinations for anyone who seeks to connect with narratives that affect us all. Lise Ragbir, Director, and Dr. Cherise Smith, Executive Director, lead the Art Galleries at Black Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.