Ireland’s first Black Studies module to launch in UCD

Dr Ebun Joseph and Professor Kathleen Lynch to lead the groundbreaking module

University College Dublin (UCD) is introducing a new “Black Studies and Critical Race Perspectives in Education” module, marking the first module of its kind at third level in Ireland.

The module intends to explore the experiences of people of black African descent and examine their history, contributions to Africa and the wider world, social movements, and contemporary forms of Blackness. The major theories of thinkers in the Black diaspora are also expected to be discussed with a focus on providing narratives that counter conventional Eurocentric views.

Dr Ebun Joseph and Professor Kathleen Lynch are leading the module. Dr Joseph, an Intercultural Consultant, is an author, activist, and motivational speaker who researches race relations, racial stratification and the labour market. Professor Lynch is an author, activist and Professor of Equality Studies at UCD.

Dr Joseph stated: “With increasing interest in Black studies across the world, this module will help [other ethnicities] comprehend what living as a person of Black African descent can entail.”

“Across the globe, people of Black African descent stand together in struggles to create a better world,” Dr Joseph continued. “This class will provide students with a theoretically informed understanding of these movements, and historical and contemporary attempts to unsettle white [people’s] dominance over [Black people].”

Dr Joseph proceeded to emphasise the significance of “movements such as the civil rights movements, Black Lives Matter, Black power movements, the arts, literature, scientific inventions, music and the impact of the Black Panther movie,” as well as “the events, movements and theories that have shaped the development of the African diaspora,” all of which will also be dealt with in this module.

Expressing her opinion about the importance of this progressive academic move on Twitter, Dr Joseph tweeted: “Come on Ireland, let’s catch up with what’s happening in academia in the world.”

Black Studies modules are available to students in other countries, such as the United States, but this UCD module marks the first time such a subject has been delivered in an Irish university. The module, which is to be situated in the UCD School of Education, is expected to be listed as new option in the Junior Year Abroad, International and Exchange student programme structures. It is open to any UCD undergraduate student who attends the university in the 2018/2019 academic year.

While Trinity does not deliver a Black Studies-focused module, Trinity students in the social sciences can avail of a third-year module in “Race, Ethnicity, and Identity” delivered by the Department of Sociology. At the postgraduate level, the Department of Sociology also offers an MPhil called “Race, Ethnicity, Conflict”.

Alison Traynor

Alison Traynor is the current Life Editor of Trinity News.