Our Aim

The Black Studies Collective aims to remedy the intellectual isolation created through a sustained legacy of disinvestment in Black/Black Studies faculty by cultivating an intellectually rigorous Black Studies community. While Stanford provides a number of courses and research groups focused on themes of race, ethnicity and coloniality, the absence of sustained graduate-level training in the field of Black Studies is palpable. 

Our collective is a graduate student-led initiative to ameliorate this deficit through the study of core and emerging Black Studies theories, including ontology, the body, Black visual and sonic cultures, transnational Black liberation, and Black Feminist and Black Queer and Trans theories.

remedy the intellectual isolation created through a sustained legacy of disinvestment in Black & Black Studies faculty

Our story

In 2017, there was both a palpable dearth of a black studies community at Stanford and immense graduate student desire for such a community. Through a series of conversations between graduate students and former Associate Director of African & African American Studies, Jakeya Caruthers, a reading group of about ten graduate students from across the Humanities and Social Sciences formed. We spent the first year meeting three times per quarter to discuss Black Studies texts. Since then the collective has expanded its reach to include in addition to the reading group, a writing workshop and a speaker series.

What began as an absence is fast becoming a bold presence in the landscape of Stanford’s intellectual life.

Our Events

AAAS Open House

Come learn more about the Stanford program in African and American Studies at our annual Open House! Music, appetizers, and beverages will be provided!

October 20, 2023

2:00 pm

Building 360

Graduate Foundations in Black Geographies

Caribbean Studies Reading Group

This workshop virtually brings scholars together from Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz, and they have a few guest visits from professors lined up. Our team hopes you can attend as many of the six meetings we've planned as you can.

Zoom Convenings

Our team

Nima Dahir

Nima Dahir, from Columbus, Ohio,
is a PhD student in sociology. She graduated from the Ohio State University with bachelors’ degrees in mathematics and economics in 2016. At Stanford, she studies housing, immigration, and neighborhood change. She is passionate about music, poetry, and nature. In her free time, she listens to a large rotation of podcasts, hikes, and watches movies.

danielle greene

Danielle Greene is currently a PhD student in the Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education (CTE) and Race, Inequality, & Language in Education (RILE) programs at the Graduate School of Education. Her research centers on exploring teaching cultures and language practices within K-12 public schools that have majority African-American teaching faculty and staffs. The focus of her work is dedicated to improving the educational circumstances of Black students.

Kimya Loder

Kimya Loder, is a PhD student in Sociology. Her current research is an ethnographic investigation of community-based civic engagement and grassroots organizing in low income Black communities. She is motivated by the legacy of deeply rooted activism her hometown of Birmingham, AL, and by her parents and grandparents who have served as models for community-based servant leadership. Kimya holds a B.A. from Spelman College.

kristin Mcfadden

Kristin McFadden is a PhD student in Anthropology from Florence, South Carolina. She graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies and Anthropology in 2018.  Her current research focuses on black land dispossession in the American South through an exploration of political and legal claim making, conceptions of citizenship, and heirs’ property as a legal categorization.

Jameelah Morris

Jameelah is a writer, dancer, community organizer and PhD Candidate in Anthropology. Her research, based in and guided by Black Study, focuses on Black youth community organizing efforts against everyday forms of racialized degradation and violence in Cartagena, Colombia.

Umniya Najaer

A third year PhD student in Modern Thought and Literature working at the intersection of Black Studies, History of Science, Theatre and Performance Studies, and New Materialisms. Her research aims to understand the linkages between biological reproduction, race, the nation state, and modern concepts of the subject, liberty, and freedom.

Casey Patterson

Casey Patterson is a PhD Candidate in the Stanford University Department of English and a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park. His dissertation asks how the African American encounter with institutional education has mediated literary production. Built into that are the questions: how have Black knowledge projects functioned within an antagonistic, anti-Black episteme? Is there a fundamental disorientation to the concept of Black Study? And how might the contradictions of Black Study inform upon or be continuous with our similarly fraught political ontology?

Vannessa Velez

A third-year doctoral student in the History department, with a focus on race and U.S. foreign policy. Previously, my research explored how African-Americans influenced U.S. foreign policy by actively shaping public opinion, with particular attention to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Henry Washington, Jr

Henry Washington, Jr. is a 3rd-year PhD student in the Program in Modern Thought and Literature from Aliceville, Alabama. His primary research interests are 20th century African American literature, performance theory, visual culture, and the law.

luke williams

Luke Williams is a 2nd year student in the doctoral program for Modern Thought & Literature. He works with African American 20th century literature and Black Cultural Studies. Luke also does work in performance theory as well as practice in the theater department, where he explores themes of race, ancestry, and healing. In his free time, Luke enjoys playing basketball, watching theatre, and building community.
Luke grew up in Dallas, Texas and completed his undergraduate work at the University of Virginia, where his archival research for the Woodson Institute inspired him to pursue graduate work.

Our team

Carmen Ervin, Co-Facilitator

Carmen Ervin (she/her) is a 3rd-year PhD student in Anthropology at Stanford University. Her intellectual interests are shaped by critical theory and black feminist epistemology. As a student of medical and cultural anthropology, Carmen’s research explores the material-discursive relations between social identities, health outcomes, and oceanic im/mobilities in La Réunion, a French island of the Indian Ocean World. At Stanford, Carmen serves as a graduate coordinator for the Black Studies Collective and Concerning Violence: A Collaborative Research Group. Prior to Stanford, she taught middle and high school English in La Réunion for three years, upon completing her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Francophone Studies at Columbia University in New York and Reid Hall in Paris. Carmen is a recipient of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and EDGE Doctoral Fellowship. She is a graduate mentor with the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers and Stanford’s FLI Mentorship Program.

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Darion Wallace, Co-Facilitator

Darion A. Wallace, from Inglewood, CA, is a Ph.D. candidate at the Stanford Graduate School of Education in the Race, Inequality, and Language in Education and History of Education programs. Darion’s dissertation research historicizes how abolitionist praxes, pedagogies, and epistemologies rooted in the Black radical and intellectual tradition informed the foundations of Black education in the American West. Darion is a 2023 recipient of the Stanford Presidential award for Excellence and his research has been funded by the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, the Stanford Knight-Hennessy Scholars Fellowship, and the Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.

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