Black Studies Collaboratory

The Department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley is excited to announce that we have been selected as one of sixteen recipients of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Just Futures grant. This grant is a collaborative effort to address racial inequality through new humanities-based research & solutions. The $2.87 million—the largest award UC Berkeley has ever received from the Mellon Foundation—will fund “The Black Studies Collaboratory,” a three year project aimed towards amplifying the interdisciplinary, political and world-building work of Black Studies. The Black Studies Collaboratory will consist of academic-year think tanks, summer labs for graduate students, research grants for faculty and students, and a university course open to the public. The Black Futures Retreat organized in collaboration with a host of community partners will be the culmination of the initiative.  With the Mellon Foundation Just Futures grant, the Department of African American Studies at UCB is poised to greatly expand the scope and impact of its scholarship.  


Leigh Raiford, Inaugural Director and Co-PI

Tianna Paschel, Co-PI

Berkeley African American Studies awarded $2.8 million grant to expand community impact

Website launch coming soon!


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Black Studies Collaboratory Postdoctoral Fellow Application


Spring 2021 Critical Conversations Series

Critical Conversations 2021 Speaker Series poster

Critical Conversations Spring 2021 series is organized around two themes:  celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Barbara T. Christian, an architect of Black feminist criticism, a founding member of our Department and a gifted writer and teacher; and exploring the concept of “abolition democracy,” thinking creatively and collaboratively about the practice of abolition as necessary to building life-affirming institutions and robust democratic structures. Through both themes, we ask: what are the lessons of the Black Feminist, Black Radical, and Black intellectual traditions for our moment and what is the role of Black Studies in building more just futures? 








Monday, January 25

Barbara Christian and the Futures of Black Studies: A Roundtable Discussion with her Former Students

Arlene Keizer, Xavier Livermon, Fred Moten, Lisa Ze Winters

Moderator: Ula Taylor


Monday, February 15

Reaping What we Sow: A Conversation with Alice Walker

Moderators: Darieck Scott and Ra Malika Imhotep

With support from Stanford University’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity



Monday, February 22

Black Feminism and the Sonic Archive

Daphne Brooks and Carter Mathes

Moderator: Leigh Raiford


Monday, March 1

Abolition, Black Studies, and the Law

Geoff Ward and Phillip Goff

Moderator: Nikki Jones


Monday, March 29

Abolition for the People: A Conversation with Kaepernick Publishing

Mariame Kaba, Amber Loggins, Christopher Petrella, Connie Wun

Moderators: Nikki Jones and Gabriel Regalado


Monday, April 5

Black Feminist Geographies of Emancipation

Savannah Shange, Brandi Thompson Summers

Moderators: Tianna S. Paschel and reelaviolette botts-ward