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Departmental Mission & Goals

Black Studies at Portland State University

"LET KNOWLEDGE SERVE THE CITY" - Portland State University's Motto

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

The department is devoted to the exploration and analysis of the history, politics, and culture of African people in the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa. It seeks 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 the study of world history that have bypassed the African 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. The Department of Black Studies seeks to expose students from all cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds to academic experiences beyond those generally found in traditional college curricula. The Black Studies Department mission has always included a valued component of outreach efforts directed toward metropolitan community needs.


Celebrating Over Forty Five Years of Dedicated Educational Service

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.

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 (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.

Please support the Black Studies Department at Portland State University with a contribution. Your tax deductible gift goes towards providing opportunities for our students. The link below will take you to our PSU Foundation Page.