CSUN Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Africana Studies

PrintCalifornia State University, Northridge’s Department of Africana Studies will celebrate its 45th anniversary with a series of events, including a talk led by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, finalist for the 2014 Nobel Prize in literature, and a panel discussion with leaders involved in the “anti-police brutality” movement in Los Angeles.

The celebration will kick off Monday, Nov. 3, from 3 to 6 p.m. with an open house hosted by Africana Studies, on the mezzanine of Santa Susana Hall. The department, which recently changed its name, will showcase its new branding and logo as well as different black organizations at CSUN.

“Africana Studies at CSUN is a discipline that has evolved from a student-demanded addition to the university to a credible, well-known academic entity that regularly makes scholarly contributions to knowledge and community development,” said David Horne, acting chair of the department. “This year, we celebrate the multidimensional coming-of-age of Africana Studies at CSUN.”

Ngũgĩ is a distinguished professor of English and comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine. The Kenya-born scholar and author’s classics include Devil on the CrossI Will Marry When I WantThe Black Hermit, 1963, Weep Not, ChildThe River BetweenA Grain of Wheat, “The Trial of Dedan Kimathi” (play), Petals of Blood, Wizard of the Crow, and Homecoming: Essays on African and Caribbean Literature, Culture and Politics. 

Ngugiwathiong'o_photoNgũgĩ will speak on Friday, Nov. 7, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Cypress Hall 158, Music Recital Hall. This event is jointly sponsored by the Department of Chicana/o Studies, also in celebration of the founding of that department.

Some of the other events scheduled in celebration of the founding of Africana Studies include:

  • Nov. 4 –“Black Bag” discussion featuring Africana Studies professors Marquita Gammage and Theresa White.
  • Nov. 5 – Keynote address by Shana Redmond, the Ella Baker Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Santa Barbara and professorshanaredmond of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC.
  • Nov. 6 – Film screening of the movie Fruitvale Station, and an Africana Studies Intergenerational Community Forum and panel on police brutality.
  • Nov. 16 – CSUN Black Alumni Association annual “All Chapter” meeting.

CSUN’s Department of Africana Studies is one of the oldest and largest degree-granting black studies programs in the nation. CSUN was one of the first universities in the country to establish a black studies program, opening its doors in 1969. The department has produced thousands of graduates who are working in a variety of disciplines, including education, social work, law and media communications.

For more information about the events, contact the Department of Africana Studies at (818) 677-3311 or visit its website.