Howard University has formed a new partnership with Colombia University Press to diversify the book industry with new talent and new connections. Read the release from Howard below to find out more about the academic partnership, plus what new opportunities it will provide for students.

Howard University’s College of Arts and Sciences announced a new ongoing scholarly book series in the field of Black Studies called “Black Lives in the Diaspora: Past / Present / Future,” to be published by Columbia University Press (Press)in partnership with Columbia University’s African-American and African Diaspora Studies Department.

This collaboration between Howard University and Columbia University and its faculty is the first of its kind in academic publishing. It represents the first step in a larger partnership between the two universities to publish more robustly in Black studies and to recruit and support a cohort of editorial fellows to provide an entryway for recent HBCU graduates to begin careers in the publishing industry. 

“The new Howard University-Columbia University partnership is exciting news for all who recognize the need for more Black studies scholarship examining the Black experience, past, present and future. Howard University Press formally published such big thinking and insightful books such as “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” by Walter Rodney. Rodney’s work was representative of the type of trenchant and groundbreaking books published by HU Press that dealt with critical issues in that era of the Black experience, such as neo- and postcolonialism. The new partnership between Howard University’s College of Arts and Sciences and Columbia University’ Department of African-American and African Diaspora Studies provides an opportunity to bring a similar caliber of issue-reframing scholarship to today’s critical issues, such as white supremacy and other antidemocratic movements in the U.S. and globally,” said Rubin Patterson, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Credit: Howard University Twitter

An editorial board of eight faculty – four each from Howard University and Columbia University – will oversee the new series, which will be published by the press. The series will publish in the humanities and social sciences at the junior, midcareer and senior levels. Acquisitions for two to three publications per year in the new series will begin immediately. Funding is currently being sought to expand the program to publish up to 20 titles per year and augment the staff of Columbia University Press with a new full-time Black studies editor and graduate student fellows. The fellows will receive specialized training in the editorial department and will be supported to gain experience across the other standard departments in publishing, according to their own interests. Over time, this cohort of fellows, mentored by the new editor and others at Howard University and Columbia University, will be prepared for careers in the publishing industry.

Building on Columbia University Press’s history of publications in Black studies and history, sociology, religion, philosophy and literature, the new series will further scholarship in African-American and African diaspora studies by focusing on Black lives in a global diasporic context. The series will showcase scholarship and writing that enriches the understanding of Black experiences in the past, present and future. It is a goal of the series that the books will reach beyond the academy and become part of urgent national and international conversations about the experiences of people of African descent. By design, the series anchors an exchange across two global educational institutions, both residing in historical capitals of Black life and culture.

Howard University had a press that was discontinued a decade ago, representing the loss of an important voice in African-American studies and scholarly publishing. This new collaboration will enable Howard once again to participate in the curatorial process of scholarly publishing, and result in a series dedicated to African-American and African diaspora studies that is more inclusive and of a higher caliber than Columbia University and Columbia University Press could achieve alone, stated the Columbia University Press release. The series will become self-sustaining financially within five years, including funding for the editorial fellows, who are central to the Howard University-Columbia University partnership.

Editorial board members for the new series are:

Howard University

  • Clarence Lusane, professor of political science and former chair, Department of Political Science;
  • Rubin Patterson, dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and professor of sociology;
  • Nikki Taylor, chair and professor of history, Department of History; and
  • Amy Yeboah, associate professor of Afro-American studies.

Columbia University

  • Kevin Fellezs, associate professor of music and African-American and African diaspora studies;
  • Farah Griffin, chair, Department of African-American and African diaspora studies, and William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies;
  • Frank Guridy, associate professor of history and African-American Studies; and
  • Josef Sorett, chair, Department of Religion, and professor of religion and African-American and African diaspora studies