African American Studies faculty at Northwestern University voted unanimously to rename the department to that of Black studies, the Daily Northwestern reported.
The process may take approximately a year, according to department chair Dr. Mary Pattillo.
“The motivation comes from the fact that the name ‘African American Studies’ privileges the Americas (over Africa, Europe, and other regions) and is most often read to mean the U.S., leaving out Latin America, Canada, and the Caribbean,” Pattillo said, according to the student newspaper.
A survey was sent out this year to current African American Studies majors and minors, graduate students, faculty and students enrolled in the department’s courses. Only 36% of 151 respondents thought the current name represented the department, Pattillo said. A subsequent meeting – about 40 attendees – indicated clear consensus for a new department name: Black Studies.
“This name better reflects what many Black people call ourselves, and it encompasses the entirety of the Black Diaspora,” Pattillo said.