about

African American Studies at Princeton

In our department at Princeton, we believe African American Studies plays a significant role in producing cosmopolitan people who are capable of not only encountering difference, but thinking about difference in very sophisticated ways.

African American Studies at Princeton was founded in 1969 in response to widespread student demands that African American intellectual traditions be represented at the University. At its inception, the teaching staff of seven was comprised, with one exception, of visiting lecturers and non-tenure-track faculty members representing the following fields: African American Studies, English, History, Politics, and Psychology.

Princeton decided in 2006 to commit itself to the idea of African American Studies. The Center for African American Studies was established. Professor Valerie Smith served as the first director. Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. was appointed chair in 2009.

In July of 2015 the University’s Board of Trustees voted to grant African American Studies academic department status, and approve a concentration in African American Studies.

Today, the faculty members of the Department, whether solely or jointly appointed, are established leaders or rising stars in their respective fields: African American Studies, Art and Archaeology, Comparative Literature, English, History, Psychology, Religion, and Sociology.

Conference Conveners

Kimberly Bain

Kimberly Bain

Kimberly Bain joined the Department of English at Princeton University in 2015. Prior to joining the department, she earned her B.A. in English and Asian Civilizations and Languages at Amherst College.

Kimberly’s most pressing intellectual interests include the fields of transnational American literature and the literatures and cultures of the Global South. More specifically, her interests have consolidated around questions of diaspora, structural power, environmental racism, resistance, embodiment, and subjection and subjecthood in the histories and narratives of postcolonialism and enslavement. Her current project, which looks to approach a theory of black breath and praxis of black breathing, critically takes up these considerations. She also makes frequent forays into media studies and digital humanities.

Chaya Crowder

Chaya Crowder

Chaya is a PhD candidate in the Politics Department at Princeton University. She is also receiving a certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies and African American Studies. Chaya received her BA and MA in Political Science from Columbia University. Chaya was a John Kluge Scholar at Columbia University.

She currently serves as the co-chair of Princeton Women in Political Science. At Princeton, Chaya studies race, gender and sexuality in American politics. Chaya’s academic interests are fueled by a desire to apply an intersectional lens to explore the challenges facing contemporary Black Americans and to better understand the multiple, unique ways that African Americans respond to these challenges through protests and social media.

Chaya Crowder is a 2015 recipient of the American Political Science Association Minority Fellowship and has been selected as an awardee in the Ford Foundation 2016 Predoctoral Fellowship Competition. Chaya was also awarded the 2018 Bayard Rustin Best Graduate LGBT Paper Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.

Chaya was born in the Bay Area and raised in Sacramento, California.