Celebrating 40 Years
The Institute for African American Studies (AFAM) roots itself in the traditions of the field and trains a keen eye on current opportunities and future possibilities. As we move into the second decade of the 21st century, we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of our founding at UGA by offering exciting, robust, and academically rigorous programs and initiatives that cross disciplinary boundaries and embrace cultural diversity as a critical component of Africana Studies. Our triple-focus on research, students, and community combines working to increase the number of students we serve by offering new courses and developing new programs of study with efforts to establish and reinvigorate community collaborations throughout UGA and beyond.
AFAM’s multidisciplinary faculty are renowned for their research and have proven themselves to be influential in both their respective fields of study and Africana Studies. AFAM faculty have been recognized widely, not only for their research but also for their teaching. Ten core faculty and fifty-one affiliates teach more than fifty courses at the Athens campus, and AFAM expands its reach beyond Athens in Spring 2011 with the first AFAM course offering at the Gwinnett campus. Additionally, many AFAM faculty actively engage with the community by developing Service Learning courses, organizing and participating in public lectures and conversation series such as the Apero Brown Bag Lectures and Community Conversations, and directing initiatives and serving in advisory capacities for programs such as the African Diaspora Film Festival and Mandala Journal.
Students participate in the life of the Institute in several ways. Major, minor, and certificate programs are available to undergraduate students, and a graduate certificate program is in the works. Additionally, students are encouraged to attend special programs and lecture series, such as the Apero Brown Bag Lectures, and they are invited to help develop, plan, and implement AFAM initiatives such as the African Diaspora Film Festival, the Writers in the Schools Initiative, and Mandala Journal. In 2007, AFAM established the Institute for African American Studies Student Association (IAASSA) so that students could take the lead to propose and plan programs and events most relevant to them. For African American Scholars Day each year, AFAM recognizes both an undergraduate and a graduate student for their contributions to the field.
Many exciting programs and initiatives expand the scope of AFAM throughout the University community and beyond to the community at-large. Community members are encouraged not only to attend events but also to share their ideas for programming with AFAM. Community input and collaborations help to shape the development and planning of programs such as the African Diaspora Film Festival, the APERO Brown Bag Lecture Series, the Writers in the Schools Initiative, and Mandala Journal. In 2010-2011, for example, AFAM will offer Community Conversations in collaboration with the East Athens Community Center. For the series, AFAM core faculty and affiliates will lead discussions on issues such as education and African American academic achievement, Blacks and the criminal justice system, African American academic achievement, and African American history at home and in the schools. Such outreach is critical to the mission of the Institute and to the field of African American Studies.