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New Black Studies Center Opens at UW

September 28, 2020

A new Black Studies Center that focuses on advancing the accurate histories of Black people has opened this fall at the University of Wyoming.

UW’s Black Studies Center (UWBSC) is housed in Room 117 of Ross Hall. Fredrick Douglass Dixon, the center’s first director and an assistant professor in the School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice, will head its initiatives and programs.

“The UWBSC spotlights the truths that advance the accurate histories of Black people and will contribute to the university’s mission,” Dixon says.

The center will use culturally responsive teaching, rural community-focused engagement and evidence-based research to attract high-quality students to UW, who will actively contribute to the development of Black studies, Dixon says.

He adds that, by engaging in a more robust understanding of Black studies, the UWBSC will enhance the visibility and relevance of Black studies and its capacity to directly affect contemporary social issues facing America and the greater global community.

Among the center’s goals are to:

-- Inspire and provide students with opportunities to understand and appreciate the importance and interrelations of the complex concepts and theories that constitute Black studies.

-- Help students secure the skills to think critically about, convey and articulate the conditions of the Black experience by developing a sense of cultural insight to identify and understand patterns of historical development.

-- Introduce students to the fundamental rigors of graduate research to comprehend the importance of historical interpretations’ theoretical underpinnings.

To introduce the community to the UWBSC’s mission and goals, the center will host a four-part webinar series, titled “The State of Black Studies After 50 Years: A Critical Analysis.” Each of the webinar’s programs will examine critical components of the field of Black studies with leading administrators, faculty and practitioners.

The four-part webinar series will take place beginning in October and be offered in November, February and March.

The UWBSC plans more initiatives/programs during academic years such as a community scholars initiative; development of a leader’s institute; establishment of a recruitment initiative; creation of a graduate bridge program; promotion of engagement in scholarly research by creating an annual capstone essay research contest; development of community engagement opportunities; expansion of the Black History Month celebration and the Black History Month conference; and a variety of workshops.

For more information, email Dixon at fdixon@uwyo.edu.

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