Brown & Slavery & Justice

Teaching and Learning

Brown hosts a renowned Department of Africana Studies, an ever-expanding selection of courses focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, and strong relationships with historically Black colleges and universities across the country.

Department of Africana Studies

Brown and RISD students in the AFRI 1190 class work with Haitian American artist Edouard Duval-Carrie in a studio in the Nightingale Brown House.
Located in the historic Churchill House on the campus of Brown University, the Department of Africana Studies is the intellectual center for faculty and students interested in the artistic, historical, literary, and theoretical expressions of the various cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora.

After the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice recommended in 2006 that Brown “take steps to strengthen and expand the Department of Africana Studies,” the University brought a visiting committee to campus to provide advice for directions in future hiring. As a result, since 2009, cultural icons such as the late Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe have come to Brown as faculty and visiting fellows, enriching academic and cultural life on campus.

The committee’s recommendations also spurred the University to establish a Ph.D. program in Africana studies in 2009. And in 2011, infrastructure improvements to Churchill House, the department’s home, gave the growing cohort of students and faculty a refreshed hub for teaching, learning and research.

Learn More about the Department of Africana Studies

DIAP Courses at Brown

America Meredith (Cherokee Nation), "Bambi Makes Some Extra Bucks Modeling at the Studio," 2002, acrylic on panel, 24x30.5 in
DIAP courses span a multitude of disciplines; popular offerings include Introduction to Africana Studies; Social Determinants of Health; and Heritage in the Metropolis: Remembering and Preserving the Urban Past.

Spurred by Brown’s 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, the University has expanded its long-running commitment to the intellectual study of race, inequality and social justice. Since 2018, Courses@Brown, the University’s online course catalog, has provided a “DIAP courses” filter that shows students all courses focusing on race, gender and inequality. DIAP courses span a multitude of disciplines; popular offerings include Introduction to Africana Studies; Social Determinants of Health; and Heritage in the Metropolis: Remembering and Preserving the Urban Past.

Today, a majority of undergraduate students at Brown enroll in at least one DIAP course, where they learn to confront issues of structural inequality, racial disparities and systems of power within a complex, pluralistic world. To accommodate ever-rising demand, the number of DIAP courses continues to expand each year.

Learn More About DIAP Courses

News about DIAP Courses

Students in the remote course Indigenous Art, Issues and Concepts, taught by visiting instructor Marina Tyquiengco, will cap off the fall semester by creating their own Indigenous art exhibitions.
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Brown and HBCUs

Strengthening Brown’s program with Tougaloo College, a historically Black college in Mississippi, was a commitment the University made in 2007 as part of its response to the recommendations of the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the devastating Category 5 hurricane that ravaged New Orleans and surrounding areas in 2005, Brown welcomed displaced students to campus for a tuition-free semester. The University began to provide technical assistance to historically Black colleges and universities hit hard by the storm. Thanks in part to guidance from the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, the University’s partnership with HBCUs didn’t end there: The University expanded its assistance program to HBCUs in other regions and built upon existing relationships with Tougaloo College and Dillard University, its longtime partners.

Since 1964, Brown and Tougaloo have exchanged students, staff and ideas — and the relationship has only grown closer over time. Academic and cultural exchanges diversify students’ experiences and broaden perspectives. Collaborative research ventures bring new insight to subjects across the academic spectrum. And staff exchanges and library partnerships boost professional development and bring history from the era of the Civil Rights Movement to light.

Formalized during the civil rights era, Brown’s enduring partnership with the historically Black college in Mississippi enriches both campuses through student, faculty and administrative exchanges.
A partnership between the Brown School of Public Health and Tougaloo College, launched in 2020, aims to diversify the next generation of public health professionals.

News about Brown and HBCUs

News From Brown

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Brown-Tougaloo

Nearly 200 alumni, students, faculty, staff, and community members from both Brown and Tougaloo College gathered at Brown Nov. 7-8, 2014, for a weekend of events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Brown-Tougaloo Partnership.
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News From Brown

Leadership Alliance: Two decades of success

During the last 20 years, the Leadership Alliance has helped more than 200 minority scholars earn doctoral degrees. The organization, a national consortium based at Brown University, will celebrate that milestone at its annual symposium, July 27-29, 2012, at the Hartford Marriott Downtown in Hartford, Conn.
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Brown University has joined the Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact (ARTSI) Alliance supported by the National Science Foundation, in an effort to boost the number of African-American students pursuing computer science and robotics.
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At the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York City, Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons announced that Brown and Princeton University would extend and enhance their post-Katrina partnership with Dillard University in New Orleans.
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K-12 Curriculum and First Readings

The Slavery and Justice Report called on the University to circulate the report widely among students and across Rhode Island and the United States, and also to include discussions of the report as part of new-student orientation at Brown.

Programs and initiatives at Brown have spurred new curricula on slavery and justice in K-12 classrooms, boosted support for historically underrepresented students and provided residents of all ages in Providence, Rhode Island, with new insights on racial slavery in New England.
With a digital teaching edition of the Slavery and Justice Report and a series of discussion seminars, incoming first-year undergraduates are able to grapple with Brown’s historical ties to the slave trade.