By Dr. Marne Campbell
Associate Professor and Chair of African American Studies
The African American Studies Department at Loyola Marymount University was founded in 1981 under the leadership of sociologist, John Davis, who led the department until 2006. Until 2016, when Georgetown University established an African American Studies Department, LMU had one of the only departments of its kind in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Fordham’s Department of African and African American Studies was one of the earliest in the country, founded in 1969, while other AJCUs developed programs with majors and minors dedicated to the study of people of African descent.
Since the 1980s, the department has focused on reclaiming truth; correcting the national narrative regarding people of African descent; and sharing knowledge beyond the university by way of its curriculum, community engagement, and commitment to student development. In a world of enormous chaos and uncertainty, African American Studies at LMU aims to create solutions that align with the university’s mission and focus on social justice, so our students are well-equipped to tackle problems head-on.
The African American Studies Department at Loyola Marymount features award-winning faculty who are experts in fields such as sociology, history, and public health. The curriculum focuses on topics such as race and ethnicity, moral and social reform, African American popular culture, critical race theory, feminist theory, and Black queer theory, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. Our faculty have published books and articles and consulted on several large research projects in publicly and privately funded organizations. In addition to an interdisciplinary approach to our own work, African American Studies has partnered with faculty from the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, as well as the School of Film and Television and the College of Communication and Fine Arts.
African American Studies also partners with Black Student Services (OBSS), Intercultural Affairs (OIA), Career and Professional Development (CPD), Admission, The Learning Community (TLC), Ethnic and Intercultural Services (EIS), the Academic Community of Excellence (ACE), and First to Go as part of how we encourage learning and educate the whole person.
Students in African American Studies are encouraged to explore interdisciplinary pathways from an African-centered worldview. African American Studies students receive excellent preparation for their career pursuits, graduate studies, or professional schools. Graduates go on to careers in social advocacy and activism, law, education, counseling, entertainment, social work, public relations, and business. The African American Studies Department aims to ensure that students have the resources, training, and will to battle ignorance and manifest social justice as they navigate the world beyond LMU.
SYSTEMIC ANALYSIS: A number of units at LMU have submitted reports on their progress to date as part of the Anti-Racism Project. OIA’s Data & Accountability site is now live, so check out the progress being made. Several units are doing excellent work in this area but have not yet submitted their reports (and are encouraged to do so).
Reminder: All units are encouraged to submit a Progress Report. Units who are submitting for the first time or those who are providing updates to previous work are invited to do so by March 10 in order to be included in the spring semester update to the website.
- To get started on the Systemic Analysis process, attend a Consultation Workshop and begin to explore the eight guiding questions for systemic change within your unit.
- To get ideas or share lessons learned, attend or present at a Report Out session, connecting with other units and sharing ideas on how to implement anti-racist practices throughout the scope of your work.
- Submit your Progress Report this semester, whether your unit is simply making plans to begin its systemic analysis or updating processes already in motion. All reports will be reflected on our website as your campus unit progress report.
IN SIX WORDS: In support of LMU’s Anti-Racism Project, “In Six Words” will get to the heart of our community’s struggles and fight against the unjust and unequal experiences that plague our society, in hopes of sparking conversation, understanding, and empathy, as well as further igniting our desire to become better angels. Join the conversation. Tell your story.
This week, we uplift the six-word story of a previous African American Studies Department chair, Dr. Brad Elliott Stone, professor and Graduate Program director of philosophy.
On The Black Experience:
“There’s nothing wrong with Black people.”
Year after year, I have taught the “Black Thought Seminar” as part of the TLC Program. It is hard to teach young Black minds that, contrary to the stories of pain and pathos incessantly presented to them about Black people, that there is nothing wrong with them. We must be careful to not simply present Black people as if they are a problem. The truth is that Black people are a solution that the United States desperately needs. To do this, an undoing of a miseducation is required.