Establishment of the Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity

February 23, 2022

To: Members of the University Community
From: Paul Alivisatos, President, and Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost
Subject: Establishment of the Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity
February 23, 2022

Following a multi-year, faculty driven process, the Council of the Senate of the University of Chicago voted Tuesday to create a new Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity.

This new department has been conceived in a very different way than departments that are organized around the experiences of particular groups, periods in time, or places. Rather, it is designed to produce new understanding and fresh insights into the world we live in by studying how conceptions of race have emerged in different eras and circumstances, and how this in turn has influenced the movements and experiences of peoples in different places.

The decision to create this new department followed from the initial ideas of a dedicated group of faculty, and by an established process, one that was used three times in the last decade, and will be used again in the coming years. In the best traditions of free expression and respectful debate of the University of Chicago, the proposal for this department has been discussed vigorously. The approved plan emerged from a process among our faculty in which strongly differing points of view have been put forth, through which many people changed their minds as they listened and engaged, and by which the proposal itself evolved in response to ideas of colleagues. This is the way in which the University can move forward and create new fields.

We look forward to working with the Division of Social Sciences, as well as faculty, students, alumni, and friends of the University as we build for the success of this new department.