The Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) in the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department (AAADS) at Columbia University is pleased to announce a series of arts programming funded by the Mellon Foundation. The initiative, which launched during the 2020-2021academic year, is a three years collaboration with departments at Columbia, Harlem-based organizations, and cultural institutions nationally and abroad. The partnerships created through this initiative are designed to sustain the centrality of the arts in AAADS and its broader intellectual community.
The programs include an Artist-in-Residence, Black Arts Dialogues, and Black Curators Matter: Oral History Project. In addition to these programs, AAADS is also instituting an arts centered Masters Degree Track, Post-Doctoral Fellowship, and International Visiting Professorship. This initiative is unique among the schools that comprise Columbia University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences with its distinct focus on the arts in African American and African Diaspora Studies. About the significance of the project, Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin states: “[It] signals a new way of conceptualizing the relationship of the arts to both research and teaching in that it values artists and their work not only as subjects of analysis, but also as central to helping shape our understanding of history, society and culture.”
The initiative is led by Farah Jasmine Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies and Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies; Chair, Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, in collaboration with Kellie Jones, Hans Hofmann Professor of Modern Art in the Departments of Art History and Archaeology and African American and African Diaspora Studies, and Josef Sorett, Associate Professor of Religion and African American and African Diaspora Studies, and Director of the Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice. The Project Director of the Initiative is led by Tumelo Mosaka an independent curator.