The Center for Africana Studies has an extensive commitment to research by its faculty. The Center currently houses three faculty research projects – The Africana Media Project, a digital archive related to the global black experience, the Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society which focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to the role of race in scientific research, and The Marginalized Populations Project, a collaborative research initiative that explores political dynamics between populations with unequal, minimal or non-existent state protections and national governments.
Africana Media Project
The Africana Media Project is a digital archive of still images and video related to the global black experience. The collection contains both found and original art. Examples of the latter include a series of documentary films on the black image, and representations of African and Diasporic cultures and politics. One thematic focus of the archive is on historical and contemporary images of the black body.
Recent work of the Africana Media Project includes the award-winning documentary film African Independence, and the exhibits Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River and Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster.
Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society
Under the direction of Professor Dorothy Roberts, the Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society (PRSS) is a new initiative at the University of Pennsylvania devoted to transformative and interdisciplinary approaches to the role of race in scientific research and biotechnological innovations, aiming both to promote social justice and to dispel the myth that race is a natural division of human beings.
Marginalized Populations Project
Directed by Professor Michael Hanchard, the Marginalized Populations Project is a collaborative research initiative designed to explore political dynamics between populations with unequal, minimal or non-existent state protections and national governments. Black peoples in the Americas and other parts of the world have often lived in societies without formal rights and state protections, on a continuum of citizenship ranging from outright exclusion to full citizenship in civil societies. Scholarship and activism emanating from these communities provide opportunities for students and faculty to consider, in comparative perspective, how political actors from marginalized communities in various parts of the world make political claims, and affect national policy and human rights debates. Members of the Penn and Philadelphia scholarly community participate in seminars, speaker series, and conferences with invited activists, scholars and policy makers from various parts of the world.