Doctoral Field: African Diaspora History

Curriculum Requirements: 72 pt


Approaches to Historical Research and Writing


4 pt

Literature of the Field: African Diaspora


4 pt

2 Research Seminar, at least one of which must be in the African Diaspora field*

8 pt

2 electives in the African Diaspora field

8 pt

2 electives in second field (3 if the second field is Africa) **

8/12 pt

Qualifying Exam Prep (P/F)


4 pt


32/36 pt

Language Requirement:

Proficiency in one foreign language

* If a student opts to take his/her second Research Seminar in the second field, rather than in the African Diaspora field, that seminar can be counted toward the second field elective requirements.

**The second field may be thematic, but choosing a geographical field may enhance versatility and marketability.  A total of three courses (12 credits) are required if Africa is chosen as the second field.

New York University’s Department of History includes a Ph.D. field in the study of the African Diaspora. As the African Diaspora is as much a conceptual landscape as anything else, the field encourages research agendas that explore connections involving communities of the African-descended that extend beyond geopolitical boundaries, as well as the interrogation of relationships of varying nature and scope with Africa. Lines of inquiry can extend in any direction, and can focus on the cultural, social, political, scientific, and economic, or on any combination thereof.

Study of the African Diaspora at NYU is linked closely to the study of Africa, a separate but related Ph.D course of study. Students in the African Diaspora acquire a familiarity with the dimension of Africa most related to their interests, and their professional development is keenly shaped by the experience. This is by design.

While housed in History and fundamentally historical in approach and training, the study of the African Diaspora, to be successful, must necessarily be informed by methods and perspectives derived from disciplines outside of History. Interdisciplinary, a method in its own right, is therefore embraced by the African Diaspora field.

Related Programs. Within the History Department are a number of parallel Ph.D. fields whose curricula greatly enhance the study of the African Diaspora. In addition to the field in African History are those concerning the Atlantic World, Latin American and the Caribbean, Europe, and the U.S.

Outside of the History Department is a wealth of programs and scholars with which students of the African Diaspora can connect. In Africana Studies alone are Kamau Brathwaite, Manthia Diawara, Michael Dash, and Michael Ralph. By no means exhaustive, the list of faculty with related expertise includes Barbara Browning and Tavin Nyong’o in Performance Studies; Nikhil Singh, Philip Brian Harper and Arlene Davila in American Studies; George Yudice in Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Deborah Willis in Photography; Troy Duster in Sociology; Gerard Aching and Sybille Fischer in Spanish and Portuguese; Kyra Gaunt and Jairo Moreno in Music; Renée Blake in Linguistics; Aisha Khan in Anthropology; Gage Averill in Ethnomusicology; and Ed Guerrero and Robert Stam in Cinema Studies.

Core Faculty

Cooper, Fred
Ferrer, Ada
Gomez, Michael
Levering-Lewis, David
Mitchell, Michele
Morgan, Jennifer
Sammons, Jeffrey
Thomson, Sinclair
Weinstein, Barbara