The Penticton Herald reports that a history professor at Dalhousie University says a proposal to expand the university’s Black and African Diaspora Studies minor program into a full degree could make it the first program of its kind in Canada.
The current minor program started online in 2017 within the faculty of arts and social sciences. As a minor program, Black and African Diaspora Studies can only be a small concentration of study within a larger degree.
Chair of the Black and African Diaspora Studies Degree Major Committee Isaac Saney, is now working with other Black professors at Dalhousie on the final proposal for the full degree program.
Speaking on the proposed program, Saney said “the idea came out as a result of thinking why we don’t have a major where somebody can come in and graduate with a degree in Black and African Diaspora Studies?”
He also mentioned that he had a role in creating the initial program, along with Dalhousie Black Faculty and Staff Caucus members: Afua Cooper, Chike Jeffers, and assistant professor Vincent Simedoh. Saney said the program is “one of the first, if not the first ” of its kind in Canada.
“A major means the meat of your degree will be on Black and African Diaspora Studies. It means you’ll have greater exposure and expertise in that area. And so, Black and African Diaspora Studies would be on the same level as political science, sociology, and so forth”, he added.
Though similar degree programs have existed in the US for decades, first coming out of the Civil Rights era, Saney said the 2020 death of George Floyd and the global Black Lives Matter movement played a huge role in getting the ball rolling in Canadian universities.
The Black and African Diaspora Studies Degree Major Committee is in a consultation stage where the program proposal is receiving feedback.
Source: Penticton Herald
Edited by: Theresa R. Fianko
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