African and African Disapora Studies Department
African and African Disapora Studies Department

About AADS

Mission

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. Our scholarship, cultural creativity, and pedagogical practices reflect our investment in comparative and transnational approaches, intersectional analyses, and critical theoretical frameworks. They also reflect our collective commitment as scholars, artists, teachers, and students to bridging the perceived gap between scholarly and artistic work, and political engagement. We promote the activist academic careers of our faculty members, we coordinate with Black staff on University issues of relevance to our communities, and we collaborate with local, national, and international organizations in the investigation and enhancement of the lives of Black people.

Vision

Dr. tang and Dr. Marshall Our pedagogical strategy rests on the premise that classrooms are powerful sites for social change. We encourage our students to be critical thinkers, skillful writers, thorough researchers, politically conscious participants in popular culture, and active community members. We adopt a de-centered, feminist pedagogy that prepares our students to be politically engaged citizens, our undergraduates to pursue graduate study, and our graduate students to become responsible members of the professoriate, public policy makers, and activist researchers. 
Professionally, we publish regularly in the leading journals in our respective fields, we hold leadership positions in professional organizations, and we conduct research that reflects the intersectionality, cross-disciplinarity, and activist perspectives that characterizes the Department. 

History

Under the direction of Edmund T. Gordon, the current and founding department chair, the African and African Diaspora Studies Department (AADS) was established in 2010, which, in 2014 would become the first program to grant Ph.D. degrees in Black Studies, in the U.S. south. Along with the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (IUPRA), and the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (WCAAAS), UT’s Black Studies suite—AADS, IUPRA, WCAAAS—works at the cutting edge of socially engaged, activist-oriented scholarship, cultural production, and public policy research. We enjoy an interdisciplinary faculty whose research cuts across a range of intellectual currents, with particular strengths in black feminism, gender and sexuality, the black body, performance, art and art history, literary theory, black political thought, slavery, race and sports, and surveillance, with geographical strengths in the U.S., Brazil, the Caribbean, England, Latin America, and South Africa.