Pan-African Studies works to understand Africa and the African diaspora.
An analysis of black comedy from Dick Gregory to Dave Chappelle, a comparative study of enslavement and incarceration, the history of the Firestone Company in Liberia—research projects as diverse as these grow out of our roundtable capstone class.
We study the experience of black people around the globe. You come to see them as globally connected and situated in broad historical and theoretical contexts shared across many societies.
Analyzing Drew yearbooks and interviewing faculty from the 1960s, our students studied Drew’s role in the civil rights era, including a speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. at Drew in 1964.
A hallmark of our program is our active collaboration across perceived boundaries between disciplines. Students come to understand that those supposed boundaries have no organic existence. We model the complexities of human beings and human relationships in real life.
Careers Made easy
This is a field of many, amazing untold stories—vital contributions to human experience and human achievement ready to be researched, understood and shared. It’s a golden opportunity for historians and cultural analysts to do really important, original work.
Graduates apply their degree to a wide variety of fields, guided by their passions. This is helped by both the close collaboration with other departments, and the customization of study encouraged at Drew.
So many of our majors have gone on to success in scholarship, activism, public policy and the arts. The rigor of our program prepares them for leadership in many areas.
I intern with the American Conference on Diversity, a nonprofit in New Jersey looking at diversity issues regarding access to higher education. Our main topic is affirmative action, and whether it works and is good for the African-American community.
Pan-African studies made me more aware of the experiences of the African diaspora—not just blacks in the United States, but in the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. It gave me more knowledge about black people around the world.
The interdisciplinary combination of anthropology, psychology and sociology gave me an intellectual perspective on Pan-African studies. It’s been crucial in my identity formation as a black American. Check out Kiah’s audio slideshow.
Lillie J. Edwards
Professor & director
I’d say I’m an idealist. This probably comes from my own liberal arts training that showed me the intellectual, creative and spiritual power human beings have to change the world in which they live. My current work includes a book project about the social mobility of the black middle class, using my late mother’s college diary.
Ph.D., University of Chicago
E. Obiri Addo
I once had a student tell me that our Drew International Seminar to Ghana and Benin opened new doors of intellectual curiosity; he went on to graduate school to study international relations. As for me, I’m working on a book about religion and gender in shrine cultures in West Africa.
Ph.D., Drew University
- Ph.D. candidate, educational policy
Michigan State University
- Business owner, project manager
- Actress, singer
Off-Broadway, national touring companies
Learn more about when you graduate
My Favorite Course
“I got a chance to travel to South Africa. I wrote a paper, comparing the Creoles in New Orleans in the 19th century, seen as important and having their own culture, to the South African colored population, who were not seen that way.”
Khemani Gibson on History of Race and Politics in South Africa