About Black Studies

Middlebury’s interdisciplinary Black Studies Program focuses on the intellectual, cultural and political aspects of black life and black people in a global framework. Black Studies courses compare black experiences in various parts of the world, allowing students to learn to analyze blackness as a dynamic formation across time and within local, global, and historical contexts. 

The program draws on diverse disciplinary perspectives and pedagogical methods, allowing students to link coursework across the curriculum. It is committed to producing and advancing knowledge about black people in Africa and the communities of African descent in the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe. The program allows students to explore diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives to deepen their understanding of local, national, transnational, diasporic, and global processes.  Of necessity, the debates that ensue will engage the voices and lived experiences of black people past and present.

 Major themes in the curriculum include:

  • the rich heritage of black intellectual, cultural, and scientific inquiry and activity;
  • black politics and social movements in comparative perspective;
  • the importance of language, performance, and other forms of expression in experiences of blackness;
  • the development and influence of black music, literatures, visual arts, and religious expressions;
  • the analysis of race and the ways that it intersects with gender, class, sexuality, and disability;
  • the advent, implications, and legacies of colonialism and trans-Atlantic enslavement;
  • racism and its effects on societies as well as on knowledge production.