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Comparative Race and Diaspora (Cluster)

The Comparative Race and Diaspora Cluster carves out a common ground of exchange and study on racial formations (the organization of human interactions, including structural inequality, on the basis of race) and diaspora (the geographical dispersion of a people accompanied by the emergence of long-distance networks that maintain and create bonds of peoplehood).

The cluster supports graduate training among students interested in the study of racial formations and diasporic communities, seeking to bring such students together so that they may better see how their projects together reveal linkages and continuities as well as disruptions among various diasporic groups.

The cluster engages in the history, practice, and criticism of race, extending scholarship beyond national, cultural and racial boundaries through juxtaposition with critical examination of diaspora. It seeks to delineate post-modernity and post-coloniality in racialized and diasporic conditions. Comparison, as a scholarly and analytical task, is central to this cluster, which highlights histories and connections among different peoples, communities, and nations.

Programs and events

There are many different ways for faculty and students to participate in the intellectual life of the cluster. Many events, such as our speaker series and workshops, are open to all members of the community. Graduate-level cluster seminars are open to graduate students across the University. We encourage all students, faculty, and staff of Northwestern to learn more about our research and activities by participating in our public events.

Who should apply?

Doctoral candidates from any field are eligible to apply to join this intellectual “home” outside their department. Past participants have come from the following programs:

  • History
  • African American Studies
  • Religious Studies
  • Performance Studies
  • Anthropology

Who to contact

Please contact the program director, listed below, with questions about this program. Or, explore the Comparative Race and Diaspora website for more information.

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.

Cluster students will be enrolled in an appropriate doctoral program and fulfill the requirements of both the home program and the cluster.  

Cluster requirements encompass three courses which must be completed in the first two years:

  1. Two courses that address the themes of the cluster, namely race and diaspora, and include some comparative aspect.
  2. "Theories and Methods in Comparative Race and Diaspora"

See the Comparative Race and Diaspora Cluster website for approved courses and requirements.