From Black Power to Black Studies: How a Radical Social Movement Became an Academic Discipline

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The black power movement helped redefine African Americans' identity and establish a new racial consciousness in the 1960s. As an influential political force, this movement in turn spawned the academic discipline known as Black Studies. Today there are more than a hundred Black Studies degree programs in the United States, many of them located in America’s elite research institutions. In From Black Power to Black Studies, Fabio Rojas explores how this radical social movement evolved into a recognized academic discipline.

Rojas traces the evolution of Black Studies over more than three decades, beginning with its origins in black nationalist politics. His account includes the 1968 Third World Strike at San Francisco State College, the Ford Foundation’s attempts to shape the field, and a description of Black Studies programs at various American universities. His statistical analyses of protest data illuminate how violent and nonviolent protests influenced the establishment of Black Studies programs. Integrating personal interviews and newly discovered archival material, Rojas documents how social activism can bring about organizational change.

Shedding light on the black power movement, Black Studies programs, and American higher education, this historical analysis reveals how radical politics are assimilated into the university system.

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From the Back Cover:

The black power movement helped redefine African Americans' identity and establish a new racial consciousness in the 1960s. As an influential political force, this movement in turn spawned the academic discipline known as Black Studies. Today there are more than a hundred Black Studies degree programs in the United States, many of them located in America’s elite research institutions. Fabio Rojas explores how this radical social movement evolved into a recognized academic discipline.

"How does a fiery social movement adapt to institutions of higher learning? How do institutions respond to conflict, co-opt challengers, and absorb change? And how do movements cope with society's declining receptivity to reform? Fabio Rojas's book answers these questions and is a must read for activists and for scholars of African American politics and social movements."―Sidney Tarrow, Cornell University

"A thoughtful and substantive contribution to the emerging new literature on the origins of Black Studies."―Left History

"Historians of the civil rights movement and of American higher education will profit considerably from reading this work."―Journal of American History

"A fascinating account of the development of Black Studies departments in American colleges and universities."―Administrative Science Quarterly

"Carefully conceived and designed... Adds to the social science literature on ways in which marginalized groups mobilize to alter established organizations and institutions."―History of Education

Fabio Rojas is an assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University.

About the Author:

Fabio Rojas is an assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University.

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