“Envisioning the academy as a site of critical engagement for social transformation. . .”

IRAAS is an intellectual community that bridges scholarship, teaching, and public life.

We envision the project of African American Studies as a multi-disciplinary enterprise. Our faculty employ an array of theoretical approaches and methodological strategies to examine historical and contemporary formations in black culture, politics, and society.

The Institute has a rich tradition of scholarship which capitalizes upon our unique location in New York City, especially the dynamic community of Harlem. Currently, IRAAS engages in a broad program of research and teaching that attends to the diversity of black experiences in the global diaspora.

IRAAS understands education to be a necessarily transformative endeavor. To this end, our mission is threefold:

  • To prepare students to become critical thinkers and global citizens;
  • To facilitate and support innovative research (working groups, collaborative and individual projects, and faculty/student grants);
  • To disseminate knowledge through academic and public forums including IRAAS “Conversations,” lectures, roundtable discussions, conferences, and new media platforms.

The Institute for Research in African-American Studies of Columbia University, founded in July 1993 by Dr. Manning Marable, is an academic resource center. The purposes and activities of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies are grounded within the best scholarship of the black intellectual tradition. Towards that end, the Institute administers the Undergraduate and Master's degree programs in African-American Studies at Columbia University; regularly sponsors academic conferences, lectures and forums on a wide variety of topics; produced the scholarly publication SOULS: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, which is distributed throughout the U.S. and internationally from 1995 to 2011.

IRAAS Directors 1993 to Present
July 2017 - Present      – Farah Jasmine Griffin
July 2014 – June 2017 – Samuel K. Roberts
July 2013 – June 2014 – Marcellus Blount & Carl Hart (Co-Directors)
July 2009 – June 2013 – Fredrick Harris
July 2008 – June 2009 – Farah Jasmine Griffin
July 2006 – June 2008 – Steven Gregory
July 2003 – June 2006 – Farah Jasmine Griffin
July 1993 – June 2003 – Manning Marable