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Black Studies
Welcome to the Portland State University Black Studies Department: Celebrating Forty Years of Dedicated Educational Service



E. Kofi Agorsah The Black Studies Department (BST) at Portland State University (PSU), initially established in 1969 as the Center for Black Studies, facilitates the systematic and scientific study of the history of origins, development, nature and culture of people of Africa and the African Diaspora as a means of reconstructing and explaining the formation and transformations in their experiences, often characterized as the "black experience", as they relate to World Histories and cultures. The department serves as a forum between Faculty and Students of different disciplines and interests, but especially those, who share interest in the study of the black experience.

We collect and disseminate information, which accurately reflects and explains or present the black experience and serve as a link between PSU and other university or educational and cultural institutions and communities through active collaborative partnerships and community service. As an interdisciplinary academic unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), with a focus in the social sciences and liberal arts, BST department's mission has always included a valued component of outreach efforts directed toward metropolitan community needs and is devoted to the exploration and analysis of the history, politics, and culture of African people in the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa. Portland State University is the only institution of higher education in the Northwest and one of the few in the entire nation that offers a degree in Black Studies. It is a unique degree also because it covers Africa, African America and the Caribbean (and includes South America) on equal basis in credit distribution, syllabus and practicum.

Teaching and research goals are to:

-          objectively explore the black experience, to illuminate the contributions of African people to world culture, and to provide an alternative to traditional interpretations and approaches to world history that have bypassed the African experience in Africa and the African Diaspora;

-          provide comprehensive learning programs aimed at greater understanding by all people of the black experience, past, present, and future by exposing students from all cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds to academic experiences beyond those generally found in traditional college curricula;

-          provide the university and the broader community with cultural activities to stimulate and enlighten intellectual atmosphere as a means of contributing to greater understanding and cooperation between "races";

-          stimulate intercultural communication, social dimensions of equity and inclusion;

-          to connect the PSU and the Portland community with speakers of different disciplines and philosophies, who have made notable contributions to society;

-          to promote national and international activities in support of PSU's vision on internationalization through the generation of grants,  and partnership programs with other academic and cultural institutions bringing together staff, money and expertise resources from government and private sectors;

-         expand and solidify the intellectual foundation goal of PSU's CLAS and maintain excellence in all its educational endeavors through a better understanding of the contributions of knowledge of the black experience. It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to our department web site and urge you to explore our highly charged educative and educational programs.  Drop in, call us, send us or e-mail if and when you need further information or assistance. Welcome again.  

Dr. E. Kofi Agorsah, Professor & Chair