New Director at Boston University to Expand Scope of African-american Studies

in College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Humanities/Social Science, News Releases, University Affairs
June 12th, 2000

Contact: Sarah Godbout, 617-358-1240 |

(Boston, Mass.) — Ronald Richardson has been named the new director of the African-American studies program and appointed associate professor of history at Boston University. In his new post, Dr. Richardson plans to strike out in a dramatic new direction in African-American studies.

“We’re living in a different era now, and scholars of African-American studies have to be in a position to comment on issues beyond black-white relations,” Richardson said. “Few people have studied the global impact of black people, economically, socially, and culturally, but they have had an impact, and we want to show what it is.”

Director of African-American Studies Ronald Richardson
(photo: BU Photo Services)

Richardson will look beyond the traditional focus on the long-standing effects of enslavement and oppression to examine the interaction between blacks and other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. and worldwide. He has a particular interest in launching a new international research project, titled “Blacks and Asians: Encounters Through Time and Space.”

“This project,” says Richardson, “will constitute a significant component of our emerging African-American Studies program and it will expand our horizons globally. Its focus will be on global relations between blacks — Africans and people of African descent — and East Asians — Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and their diaspora.”

Richardson holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton. His prior experience and areas of study include modern European cultural and intellectual history, political theory, and medieval Europe. He speaks French and German.

Richardson has been a visiting associate professor in the department of African-American Studies at Harvard University, an associate professor in the department of history at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., and an assistant professor in the department of history at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He has written a book called Moral Imperium, about the study of the culture of English anti-slavery in the context of the age of revolution, and his book, Winston Churchill: Imagining the Racial Self, is forthcoming.

“With this broad range of skills and his impressive, extensive background,” says Dr. Dennis D. Berkey, Boston University Provost and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, “I’m certain Richardson will usher in a new and exciting period in the African-American Studies Program.”

Boston University is the fourth largest independent university in the United States, with an enrollment of nearly 30,000 students in its 15 schools and colleges. Located in the heart of a city rich in cultural, historical, and intellectual attractions, Boston University is one of the nation’s preeminent institutions of higher learning.

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