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

Saidiya Hartman Lecture

Saidiya Hartman

Join us in conversation with MacArthur "Genius" Recipient, Saidiya Hartman. She is scholar of African American literature and cultural history whose works explore the afterlife of slavery in modern American society and bear witness to lives, traumas, and fleeting moments of beauty that historical archives have omitted or obscured.

Graduate Student Workshop from 12-1:30PM at Humanities Center Board Room. By RSVP only.

March 2, 2020

5:00 pm

Levinthal Hall

On Swamps, Mud + Racial Ecologies

Dr. C. Riley Snorton

The Black Studies Collective has an exciting event coming up next week with Dr. C. Riley Snorton, author of Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity. He will be hosting a workshop with graduate students to discuss work from his upcoming manuscript tentatively titled Mud: Ecologies of Racial Meaning You must RSVP to attend the event, as the spaces are limited.

RSVP Link:

January 24, 2020

9:30 am

Terrance Room, Bldg. 460

Nothing to Lose But Our Chains

Dr. Johnetta Richards, Dr. Rickey Vincent, Aliyah Dunn-Salahuddin, Dr. Clayborne Carson

The Black Studies Collective, CORE Workshop, and the Decolonial Collaborative Research Group are pleased to invite you to join us for the first in a three-part panel series. Our first event will be an exciting panel on the history of black activism & organizing in the Bay Area and the origins of African-Americans in greater California. We are honored to have Dr. Johnetta Richards, Dr. Rickey Vincent, and Aliyah Dunn-Salahuddin serve as panelists. Our discussion will be moderated by Dr. Clayborne Carson, director of the King Institute and Professor of American History at Stanford.

November 22, 2019

3:30 pm

The Anthropology Department (Bldg 50), Rm 51A

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

Elea McLaughlin, Co-Facilitator

Elea McLaughlin is a doctoral candidate in musicology. She received her B.A. in music from Florida State University, where she studied voice. Her current research focuses on Black musical performance in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with particular attention to how Black female vocalists navigated the afterlife of blackface minstrelsy in musical theater.

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Kristen Jackson, Co-Facilitator

Kristen Jackson is a 2nd year PhD student in the Graduate School of Education, studying Race, Inequality, Language and Inclusion. She hails from Southfield, Michigan, and attended the University of Pennsylvania for her undergraduate and master's degrees. Prior to matriculating at Stanford, she was a high school history teacher in West Philadelphia. Her research interests lie at the intersection of Black feminism and inclusive education. When not reading for class, she enjoys staring contests with her dog, lifting heavy things, attempting to learn rugby and trying out new recipes.

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Matthew Alexander Randolph, Co-Facilitator

Matthew Alexander Randolph (Matt, he/him) is a third-year History Ph.D. student at Stanford University in the Transnational, Global, and International (TIG) field with a focus on the intellectual, political, and cultural history of the African Diaspora. His current research project traces the global dimensions of Frederick Douglass's thought and politics, especially his travels and diplomacy in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Matt received his B.A. in History and Spanish from Amherst College in 2016 and his M.A. in History from Stanford in 2021. Outside of academia, Matt is a storyteller and community-builder with a passion for leveraging history to inspire and empower others while pushing for social change. He has contributed to public history and digital projects in the Bay Area and beyond, including volunteer work for the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, and his alma mater, Amherst College in Massachusetts. Matt is originally from the Baltimore, MD area and currently lives in Oakland, California.

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