Midwest Consortium for Black Studies (MCBS)
Formed in 1996, the MCBS consisted of scholars affiliated with the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to helping to consolidate the institutional presence of Black Studies at these universities, the Consortium aimed to develop a network including other Midwestern universities and a number of historically black colleges and universities, most of them located in the South. In order to help accomplish this mission, the Consortium emphasized the development of dialogues between scholars working in different disciplinary areas within Black Studies. Two Ford Foundation grants during the period enabled us to offer seminar and public speaker series on African American studies. The first seminar, 1996-97, under Professor Stanlie James at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focused on black women's studies, history, and social policy. The second seminar and lecture series took place at Carnegie Mellon, 1997-98. The CAUSE seminar focused on "African American Urban Studies: History, Work, and Social Policy." Building on the insights developed in Ford Foundation-sponsored seminars on Black Women’s Studies and Black urban Studies, the Consortium also developed a component called “Race in the 21ST Century,” with special emphasis on the relationships between African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. Our ultimate goal was to increase the role of Black Studies in the creation of public policy more responsive to the complicated realities of our multi-racial society. During the spring 2002 meeting of the Midwest Consortium for Black Studies, graduate students formed a graduate collective within the MCBS. During the same year, the Center hosted a session with a public book talk by Earl Lewis and Heidi Ardizzone, who discussed Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White and began preliminary proposals to develop a multi-city (Milwaukee, Detroit, Pittsburgh) oral history project.
Labor and Working Class History Association (LAWCHA)
Secretary and Executive Headquarters, 2000-2005.
For nearly five years, CAUSE supported a half-time executive secretary for the Labor and Working Class History Association. The decision to support this post was consistent with our mission to promote collaborative linkages between Carnegie Mellon University and other institutions and professional organizations. LAWCHA's membership includes professional historians, graduate students, community and union activists, and independent scholars. Membership is open to anyone who supports public and scholarly awareness of labor and working-class history through research, writing and organizing; advocates the widest possible variety of approaches to the subject and a free exchange of ideas and opinions; supports the recruitment of a demographically and regionally diverse membership and leadership; and promotes the development of mutually supportive relationships with existing regional, state, and local labor studies and labor history societies in the U.S. and other countries. Over the past year, LAWCHA organized panels at the North American Labor History Conference (NALHC) at Wayne State University in Detroit; sponsored luncheon speakers at the annual meetings of the Organization of American Historians; awarded annual prizes and travel grants to promising graduate students; and planned special events designed to reach its diverse constituencies.
African Studies Research Consortium
Edda Fields Black, Coordinator
Since 2007, the African Studies Research Consortium (ASRC) has provided scholars and graduate students at Southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia universities who conduct research about Africa and Africans to present works in progress and to network with colleagues. Organized jointly by Edda L. Fields-Black (Associate Professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University) and Robert Maxon (Professor of History at West Virginia University), the ASRC has faculty and graduate students affiliated with several departments at Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, Duquesne University, La Roche College, Susquehanna University, University of Pittsburgh, and West Virginia University. The Consortium meets once per semester in either Pittsburgh, PA or Morgantown, WV.
University of Pittsburgh
Over the past 20 years, CAUSE has supported a number of initiatives designed to build connections and collaborations with scholars and institutions in other countries, including Carnegie Mellon’s Qatar Campus in the Middle East; Kharkov National University in the Ukraine; Moscow State University; the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (Wassenaar, the Netherlands); New Castle University in the United Kingdom; and, with the University of Pittsburgh, periodic speakers and forums with Cuban scholars from such institutions as the University of Havanna and the Academy of Sciences.
Newcastle University, United Kingdom
Initiated in 2007, with generous funding from the Falk Foundation, this project includes 185 oral histories of African American life in Pittsburgh since World War II. In collaboration with the original project director, historian and professor Benjamin Houston, now at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, we have transcribed two-thirds of the interviews and anticipate completing the transcription process during our 20th Anniversary Year, 2015-2016.