Shondrea Thornton is a major in African-American Studies with a concentration in sociology. As an undergraduate, she completed at thesis titled ***Flawless Performances: Black Political Cultures in the Careers of Diana Ross and the Supremes, Whitney Houston, and Beyoncé under the advisng of Professor Kevin Fellezs. She will be pursuing a Ph.D. at UCLA in the fall with the Gender Studies department.

African American Studies, Concentration in Sociology


UNDERGRADUATE: African-American Studies is an interdisciplinary curriculum that examines the experiences of people of the African Diaspora -- sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the United States and Canada and Europe...READ MORE >>
GRADUATE: Our Master of Arts Program is designed to provide students with a thorough grounding in the literature and research of African-American Studies, and enable them to produce critical analysis and research about the complex and historically...READ MORE >>

Featured Faculty

Frank A. Guridy Frank A. Guridy specializes in sport history, urban history, and the history of the African Diaspora in the Americas. He is the author of Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), which won the Elsa Goveia Book...

Featured Faculty Book

South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s In South of Pico Kellie Jones explores how the artists in Los Angeles's black communities during the 1960s and 1970s created a vibrant, productive, and engaged activist arts scene in the face of structural racism. Emphasizing the importance of African American migration, as well as L.A.'s housing and employment politics, Jones shows how the work of black Angeleno artists such as Betye Saar, Charles White, Noah Purifoy, and Senga Nengudi spoke to the dislocation of migration, L.A.'s urban renewal, and restrictions on black mobility. Jones characterizes their works as modern migration narratives that look to the...

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Rethinking Justice Internships for Columbia Undergraduates

August 14, 2018
Rethinking Justice Internship
Columbia University-Metropolitan Detention Center Education Collaboration

What - Rethinking Justice Internships for Columbia undergraduates. Students will work closely with the director of the program, Professor Christia Mercer (Philosophy), and other professors to help organize and teach 4-week mini-courses in the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), a maximum security Federal Prison in Brooklyn. Growing out of Columbia’s Justice-in-Education Initiative, the new Rethinking Justice program offers educational opportunities to incarcerated men whose legal status is too unpredictable for them to take a full semester course. Each intern will assist in 6-8 classes a semester (roughly 10:00-5:00 each Friday, which includes 3-hour class and time for travel) and work 2-3 hours a week on organization and planning.

Why - Criminal justice reform is one of the most-urgent political, social, humanitarian, and economic issues of out time. With over 2.3 million people in jail or prison, the U.S. incarcerates more people per capita and in absolute terms than any other country in the world. Arrests and sentences are biased against people of color and other minorities (including gender non- conforming people), and incarceration devastates communities.

The benefits of education in prison are profound. When incarcerated people take courses, their opportunities for reduced sentences, employment, and further education significantly increase. Studies show that prison education develops “social capital” and reduces recidivism. Rethinking Justice Internships offer Columbia students the chance to contribute to the lives of the underserved men of MDC (see an Op-Ed about a MDC semester-long course) and gain important insight into the criminal justice system.

Who - Internships are available to any Columbia undergraduate (CC, SEAS, Barnard, or GS) who will be 21 years of age or older when they start volunteering (MDC volunteers must be 21, so the age restriction is non-negotiable) and who does not have a criminal record (background checks are mandatory as is fingerprinting). Application is required and we will consider interest, background, and experience with the justice system in our decision-making process.

Where - Lesson planning/administrative work will take place on Morningside campus. Courses will be at MDC, Brooklyn.

How - In order to compensate our Teaching Assistant Interns for their time and work, we are offering a semesterly $500 stipend and will facilitate independent study credit with the permission of your respective undergraduate college and advisor.

When - Apply now here. Short-listed candidates will be interviewed either over Skype/Facetime or on campus as soon as possible. Interns must attend a morning-long “orientation” at MDC.

If you have any questions, please contact Ghislaine Pagès at or Professor Christia Mercer at for more information.