Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
caaas masthead
Cherise Smith, Ph.D, Director JES A232A, Mailcode D7200, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-1784

Black Studies at UT

Black Studies at UT encompasses three branches on the UT campus that provide cutting edge policy and analysis, rigorous academics, and campus community-based programming and research on the subject of black populations around the world. The three branches - the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (IUPRA), the African and African Diaspora Studies Department (AADS), and the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (WCAAAS) - work together to present research, academics, and initiatives to the campus community, Austin community, and the world of black studies.


The mission of the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (IUPRA) is to conduct, organize, promote, and support the production of relevant policy research and analysis related to urban issues. The Institute's staff, academic fellows, and graduate students generate publication, reports, briefs, and grants and contracts with the aim of shaping policy to enhance the lives of African American and other people of color in the state of Texas. Dr. King Davis is Interim Director of this program which was developed in 2010 through the collaborative efforts of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (WCAAAS), and the UT College of Liberal Arts. Davis' area of expertise includes mental health policies and large systems administration, especially as related to families of color and severe mental illness. One of his most recent projects was "A Longitudinal Study of Admissions, by Race and Socio-economic Status, to State Mental Institutions, 1960 - 2006."

The African and African Diaspora Studies Department (AADS) promotes activist academics and is dedicated to the study of the intellectual, political, artistic, and social experiences of people of African descent throughout Africa and the African Diaspora, including the United States. In this endeavor, it works in concert with The John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (WCAAAS) and the Institute for Urban Policy and Research Analysis (IUPRA).  Dr. Edmund T. Gordon is Chair of this department, as well as Associate Professor of Anthropology at The University of Texas at Austin. His teaching and research interests include: culture and power in the African Diaspora, gender studies (particularly Black males), critical race theory, race education, and the racial economy of space and resources. His publications include Disparate Diasporas: Identity and Politics in an African-Nicaraguan Community, 1998 UT Press. Dr. Gordon received his Doctorate in Social Anthropology from Stanford University and his Master's of Arts from Stanford University in Anthropology, as well as a Master's degree in Marine Sciences from the University of Miami.

The John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (WCAAAS) has been a focal point for campus and community life around the cultural, sociopolitical, artistic, economic, and historical experiences of Africans and their descendents.  Named for Center director Dr. John Lewis Warfield (1973-1986), himself an innovative scholar, respected teacher and community activist, the Warfield Center maintains "Doc's" commitment to an engaged academic life. In collaboration with other university departments, centers, and schools, WCAAAS offers research opportunities and programming across a broad variety of disciplines focused on Black people in Texas, the United States, and the African Diaspora including: Africa; North, South, and Central America; the Caribbean; and Europe. Dr. Cherise Smith is the Director of the Center. She joined the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin in 2005. She offers courses in and has published articles on African American and African Diaspora art, the history of photography, and contemporary art. Her manuscript, En-Acting 'Others': Identity Performance in Works by Eleanor Antin, Nikki S. Lee, Adrian Piper, and Anna Deavere Smith, is in progress. She has worked in the curatorial departments of several museums and curated a number of exhibitions.

bottom border