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Scholars Network

Launched in May of 2007 under the direction of Dr. Alford A. Young, Jr., the Scholars Network on Masculinity and the Well-Being of African American Men was funded by the Ford Foundation for the purpose of establishing an interdisciplinary community of scholars who conduct research on the social condition of African American men and boys.  The Network’s primary aim was to reconstitute the public conversation about African American males and their agency, particularly regarding the social conditions and problems associated with them. In considering this agenda, the Network has targeted its efforts at influencing social policy on low-income African American men, generating new forms of media coverage on African American men, infusing ideas into foundation circles and domestic policy think tanks, and altering the journalistic focus on the cultural dimensions of the condition of African American men.

Throughout its lifespan, the Network has convened nearly a dozen workshops. They include workshops on Black feminist thought and its contributions to advancing research on African American men (March 2008 and December 2011), conferences with African scholars dedicated to the study of masculinity (May 2008, held at the Ford Foundation’s East Africa office in Nairobi, Kenya, and November 2011, held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the African Studies Association), sessions devoted to professional development for early career scholars (November 2009, November 2010, and March 2012), a session with educators, service providers, and community organizers who serve the interests of African American males (September 2012), and several other specialized gatherings throughout the past decade.

With support from the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts, the Department of Sociology, the Center for Social Solutions, and the National Center for Institutional Diversity, at the University of Michigan, the Network is now launching its third wave, which enables current early career scholars and graduate students to engage its agenda and prepare to contribute to its objectives.