Why Black Studies?

The undergraduate program in Black Studies at Queen's is an interdisciplinary program that engages the connections between the arts, social justice, and practices of anti-oppression. Our program spans multiple units to bring together faculty, students, and staff that focus on art and activism, geography and planning, global health, literature, creative writing, history, music, philosophy, political thought, religion, and cognate fields of feminism, queer theory, and anti-racism.  In the Black Studies program students will: 

  • make connections between local black communities and black diasporic communities.
  • develop an understanding of key theories and activist projects in black studies such as, but not limited to: theories and literatures of Africa, the black Atlantic and the black diaspora; black feminist thought; abolition and anti-prison movements; activist-scholar work; black geographies, ecologies and climate (in)justice; race, racism and health matters; creative literatures, spiritualities and practices of liberation. 
  • critically analyze blackness in relation power and privilege (e.g., gender, class, sexual diversity, disability, location).
  • develop and apply interdisciplinary methodologies in a range of settings—both institutional and activist. 
  • participate in collaborative and experiential learning, such as practicums, internships, cultural production, and research assistantships with scholars, activists and/or creatives.

Student experience

"I took the Introduction to Black Studies course, and it was genuinely one of my favourite classes! The assignments were a mix of creative and critical scholarly work, which made it both informative and fun. As a black student, it meant a lot to take a course that focused on my people and our history; it allowed me to broaden my interest in Black Studies, which I plan to take into my Master’s!"

Lois Vaah
Class of 2022

Black Studies is...

The film features Ibram X. Kendi, Syrus Marcus Ware, Carole Boyce Davies, David Chariandy, Hortense Spillers, Ashon Crawley and many other anti-racist activists, artists and intellectuals from around the world responding to the prompt, “Black Studies is…”

“Black Studies is…" was conceived by the Black Studies Program Group and produced by Katherine McKittrick. The film’s soundtrack is by Vijay Iyer, who was voted 2022 Pianist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Black Studies Career Paths

Students with a BA in Black Studies will be well-prepared to pursue multiple career paths that require expertise in equity initiatives and other skills that focus on challenging racism and other forms of discrimination. 

A General/Minor in Black Studies will support career aspirations in the fields of:

  • Education
  • Environmental policy
  • Health policy
  • Human resources
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Public policy and public administration
  • Care work
  • Social change
  • Social justice

Frequently, history erases the lived experiences of black people. For a long time, textbooks have neglected black experiences or delivered black history from a privileged white lens. As a result, Black Studies holds meaning to me because it allows me, as a black woman, to understand the intricacies of Black culture, as told from our unique vantage point. In addition, hiring Black professors such as Dr. McKittrick makes the information more authentic and valid.

Chidera Ekeanyawu
Class of 2021