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Penn Law and Department for Africana Studies to offer Graduate Certificate in Africana Studies

March 26, 2020

JD candidates at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School will be able to earn a Graduate Certificate in Africana Studies by completing approved courses and a year-long Proseminar

The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School is partnering with the University’s Department of Africana Studies to offer law students the possibility of earning a Graduate Certificate in Africana Studies. The Graduate Group in Africana Studies is dedicated to fostering a deeper understanding of the peoples of Africa and their diasporas, and the Certificate program will give JD students the opportunity for in-depth, interdisciplinary, comparative, and transnational study between the law, social sciences, and humanities.

Thanks to interdisciplinary training and exposure to the totality of the African Diasporic experience, including the cultural, historical, political, and economic factors that inform it, students graduating with this certificate will emerge poised to contribute positively to the national and global discourse on a host of issues.

To earn the Graduate Certificate in Africana Studies, JD students will be required to complete a specially designed, year-long Proseminar in addition to four electives. These electives could include pre-approved law classes that focus on related subjects and methodologies. One such class is “Reproductive Rights and Justice,” taught by George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights Dorothy E. Roberts.

“I am thrilled that Penn Law students will have the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Africana Studies,” said Roberts. “Exposure to Africana Studies provides a useful background not only in issues related to the African Diaspora, but also in global, interdisciplinary, and critical perspectives.”

Graduate Chair in the Department of Africana Studies Herman Beavers, who is a Professor of English and Africana Studies at the University, hopes law students enrolled in the Certificate program will participate in the Africana Studies program more broadly, including by attending events and otherwise engaging with faculty and students inside and outside the classroom. In return, the department would grant law students access to facilities and treat them as valuable members of the community, recognizing them at graduation and providing mentorship.

“I remain excited about the prospect of law students becoming an integral part of our graduate student community in Africana Studies,” said Beavers. “I think it will be mutually beneficial to both groups. We have admitted a new cohort of five students who will be joining us in August to pursue doctoral degrees in Africana Studies, so the timing could not be better.”

For more information about this certificate or any of Penn Law’s cross-disciplinary opportunities, please contact Amanda Aronoff, Director Cross-Disciplinary Programs and Academic Options at aronoff@law.upenn.edu.