The Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity (RDI) is dedicated to investigating, interrupting, and challenging the historical and social processes, the cultural and political practices, and the formations of identity and community that are integral to these three concepts. Our project is committed to knowledge-making founded in the dynamism of social life and resistance to bondage, exploitation, and dispossession.  The ambition of the department is to foster a breadth of vision, new aesthetic imaginaries, conceptual rigor, innovative pedagogical approaches, and deep engagement within and beyond the university that will enable communities to tackle some of the most challenging issues of the current historical moment in ways that defy intellectual, disciplinary, and geographic orders.

graduate study

undergraduate study

The Department of RDI unites three concepts that have shaped the modern world and continue to reverberate in contemporary thought, action, culture, and policy. Race, diaspora, and indigeneity emerge from distinctive yet overlapping structures of power.  At the same time, these categories have become the sites of collective meaning making politically, socially, and aesthetically.  With a particular focus on their intersections and interactions, this department studies the constitution and transformations of race, diaspora, and indigeneity.

Committed to boundary-crossing scholarship, RDI facilitates and encourages cross-fertilization of thought in relation to key research topics that are too often analyzed in isolation from each other. As engaged in teaching as in research, we offer all students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge, sharpen their analytic tools, expand their means of expression, and participate in collaborative knowledge production on race, diaspora, and indigeneity both within the University and beyond.

Recent Faculty Headlines

Social Sciences Research center

Ryan Jobson wins seed funding for “The Uninhabitable Archipelago.”


Eve L. Ewing and Chris Allen launch Blank Panther #1.

Ryerson Lecture

Cathy Cohen delivers the 2022 Ryerson Lecture: Democracy’s Futures? Race, Resistance, and Political Vulnerability.

Carribean Philosophical Association

Eve L. Ewing wins the Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Outstanding Activist Intellectual and Scholar Award.

Milwaukee Art Museum

Expert Series: Adrienne Brown in conversation with Derrick Adams

South Side Weekly

Adam Green discusses the legacy of Chicago’s 1919 race riot.


Reuben Jonathan Miller named 2022 MacArthur Fellow.

1919 at Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf for Young Adults presents the world premiere adaptation of Eve L. Ewing’s 1919.

Inside Higher Ed

Leora Auslander and Adom Getachew discuss the formation of RDI at UChicago.

Upcoming Events













Mark Rifkin

Enfamilyment, Political Orders, and the Racializing Work of Scale

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Valerie C. Johnson

State Legislative Gag Orders: The Cost to Democracy and Higher Education

Co-sponsored with the University of Chicago Law School and presented by the Zell Speaker Series on Free Expression

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Kris Manjapra

Reparations: A Long History of Black Radical Thought

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Lauren Berlant Graduate Student Conference

Power over Life and Death: Feminism, Abolition, and the State

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Alaina Roberts

Reconciliation in the Heart of Indian Country?: A Journey Through Identity

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Teresa Montoya & SJ Zhang

Tracing Relations: Cultivating Connections between Blackness and Indigeneity at UChicago

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