Black Studies at Portland State University



About Us

The Black Studies Department is an academic interdisciplinary unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The primary focus is on the social sciences and liberal arts.

Celebrating Nearly 50 Years of Dedicated Educational Service

The Black Studies Department (BST), 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 for faculty and students of different disciplines and interests, but especially those, who share an interest in the study of the black experience. 

The objectives of the Department of Black Studies include providing comprehensive learning programs aimed at greater understanding by all people of the black experience, past, present, and future. Black Studies seeks to expose students from all cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds to academic experiences beyond those generally found in traditional college curricula. Our mission has always included a valued component of outreach efforts directed toward metropolitan community needs.  Learn more about careers with a Black Studies degree by visiting the PSU Career Center


What We Do and How We Do it

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, with a focus in the social sciences and liberal arts, the 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 an equal basis in credit distribution, syllabus, and practicum.


Getting Involved in Black Studies

Students can receive the Department of Black Studies electronic newsletter by visiting the department website and signing up to receive the newsletter and other announcements, including jobs, the department’s Black Bag Speaker series (also archived at PDXScholar), and other events sponsored or co-sponsored by the department.


Contacting the Department

Portland State University
Black Studies Department
PO Box 751
1633 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR 97207