Race, Gender and Social Justice Graduate Minor Degree to Launch in Fall 2021

Starting in Semester Fall 2021 , the Department of Pan-African Studies will offer all Kent State University graduate students the option of taking three courses leading to a new graduate minor degree in Race, Gender and Social Justice (RGSJ) at the Kent Campus. Pending approval by the Kent State University Board of Trustees, the department will also change its name to the Department of Africana Studies.

This is the first graduate minor ever offered by Kent State and is specifically designed for students who are currently enrolled in any graduate degree program across the university. Undergraduate seniors can take any one of the senior-level slashed graduate courses but cannot earn this minor as a degree.

Two required core courses will be offered by the Department of Africana Studies and one course must be taken from either Africana Studies or an elective course within the student's home graduate program (participating departments include English, History, Sociology, Philosophy, Political Science, and Geography) to complete this graduate minor.

“Students will learn or gain critical knowledge in the areas of race, gender and social justice,” Felix Kumah-Abiwu, Ph.D., associate professor of Africana Studies said. “The interdisciplinary graduate minor will also strengthen the knowledge, research and pedagogical framework of students on the historical, political, social, cultural and economic dimensions of power, race, gender, and social justice in the global Black world.”

The idea to create this new graduate minor was conceived a few years ago by Amoaba Gooden, Ph.D., Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and former chairperson of the Department of Africana Studies. She established an ad hoc committee and worked with committee members (i.e., Felix Kumah-Abiwu, Charmaine Crawford, Ph.D., Babacar M’Baye, Ph.D., and Mwatabu Okantah) and other faculty members in her department in the development of the graduate program. The current social justice movement regarding race and gender issues also influenced its establishment.

“Given the historical nature of racial discrimination and its impact on people of African descent, it is important for students to study and have a better understanding of the critical issues on race, gender and social justice,” Kumah-Abiwu said. “The program will also prepare students for professional and academic positions, especially in the fields of race, gender and social justice.”

For more information on the graduate minor, contact Dr. Felix Kumah-Abiwu, fkumahab@kent.edu

Media Contact:
Jim Maxwell, jmaxwel2@kent.edu, 330-672-8028

POSTED: Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 2:31pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 1:23pm
WRITTEN BY:
College of Arts and Sciences