Noliwe M. Rooks

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Prof. Noliwe M. Rooksis "Associate Director of African American Studies at Princeton University, and is the author of the critically acclaimed new book White Money/Black Power: The History of African American Studies and the Crisis in Higher Education (Beacon Press, 2006). In her latest book Dr. Rooks explores the role and power of money in shaping critical social and cultural narratives.

"The history of African American Studies is often told as a heroic tale, with compelling images of black power and passionate African American students who refuse to take "no" for an answer. Noliwe M. Rooks argues for the recognition of another story that proves that many of the programs that survived were actually begun due to heavy funding from the Ford Foundation or, put another way, as a result of white philanthropy. Today, many students in African American Studies courses are white, and an increasing number of black students come from Africa or the Caribbean, not the United States. This shift—which makes the survival of the discipline contingent on non–African American students—means that "blackness can mean everything and, at the same time, nothing at all." While the Ford Foundation provided much-needed funding, its strategies, aimed at addressing America’s "race problem," have left African American Studies struggling to define its identity in light of the changes it faces today. With unflinching honesty, Rooks shows that the only way to create a stable future for African American Studies is through confronting its complex past.

"Dr Rooks is also the author of Ladies' Pages: African American Women's Magazines and the Culture That Made Them, London and New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2004." [1]

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  1. Noliwe M. Rooks, accessed August 17, 2009.