Saturday, May 20, 2017

American and African Studies Diploma Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 20 at 12:45 p.m. following Final Exercises on the Lawn.

You must come straight from the lawn ceremony in order to have time to line up in the foyer of Minor Hall and prepare to enter the auditorium. Regardless of weather, our diploma ceremony will take place in the Minor Hall auditorium (Minor 125)

There will be a reception following the ceremony.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Professor T.J. Tallie, Washington and Lee University

In my research I propose a reading of colonial South African history that relies upon critical indigenous and queer theoretical approaches.  Settler colonialism itself often functions as a form of orientation, of making a recognizable and inhabitable home space for European arrivals on indigenous land. As a result, native peoples and their continued resistance can serve to ‘queer’ these attempted forms of order.  In such circumstances, the customs, practices, and potentially the very bodies of indigenous peoples can become queer despite remaining ostensibly heterosexual in orientation and practice, as their existence constantly undermines the desired order of an emergent settler state.

Friday, March 24, 2017

High School students from around Charlottesville area are invited to participate in different interactive and engaging sessions on languages, cultures, history, music, potiltics and contemporary issues in Africa.


On Friday, March 24th 2017, The Carter G. Woodson Institute held Africa Day on UVA grounds, coordinated by Professor Anne Rotich. Its objective was to increase awareness and knowledge of Africa and its cultures. High school students were treated to different presentations that focused on African cultures, languages, historical, social and political knowledge of Africa. An estimated 200 students and their teachers attended A Day in Africa including students from Albemarle High School, Charlottesville High School, Monticello High School and Western Albemarle High School. 

There were a total of sixteen 30-min sessions by faculty, Swahili students, and graduate students. The program  began with a welcome address by Professor Deborah McDowell and culminated in a final African Dance performance by Professor Michelle Kisliuk and her students and an African themed lunch. About 30 volunteers provided invaluable assistance in different ways from the planning preparations and assisting during the day of the event. 




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Blackballed KNOW BETTER/DO BETTER Campus Racism Lecture: This is not your ordinary lecture on racism. Frank, blunt, but somehow entertaining, Lawrence Ross' lecture on campus racism is based on his new book, Blackballed: The Black & White Politics of Race on America's Campuses. Ross breaks down not just the overt racism that occurs on college campuses almost daily, but their true roots. Are college campuses utopian spaces devoted to critical thought, or are they afflicted with the same issues as American society? That's the question Ross will answer in his lecture. And he guarantees that once you know better about campus racism, you'll do better when it comes to helping eliminate it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

White Fear and Race War in the time of Dred Scott: The Supreme Court's pronouncement that African Americans had "no right which the white man was bound to respect" as the legal codification of the history of slavery and white supremacy in St. Louis, the city in which the case was first filed.

Walter Johnson is the author of Soul by Soul:  Life inside the Antebellum Slave Market and, most recently, River of Dark Dreams:  Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Francis B. Simkins Award from the Southern Historical Association, the John Hope Franklin Prize from the American Studies Association, the SHEAR Book Prize from the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic, and the Frederick Jackson Turner and the Avery O. Craven Prizes from the Organization of American Historians. He is currently writing a book about the central role of St. Louis in the imperialist and racial capitalist history of the United States, from Lewis and Clark to Michael Brown. He is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship; as well as awards from the American Philosophical Society, the Radcliffe Institute, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences; and a Mellon Fellowship in Cultural Studies at Wesleyan University

This event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Location: Open Gounds-1400 University Ave.

Ronit Bezalel has been producing and directing films since 1990. Her films cover a wide range of topics, from the dismantling of Public Housing to Professional Women’s Tackle Football (co-directed with Laurie Little and Sree Nallamothu). Her documentaries have been broadcast internationally, played in festivals, and used as a teaching tool in educational institutions worldwide. Newsweek Magazine has honored Bezalel as one of the Top 15 Women of the 21st Century.


Her current film is about a Chicago public housing community known for 70 years as Cabrini Green. Home to thousands, misunderstood by millions, Cabrini Green once towered over Chicago’s most valuable neighborhoods. A looming reminder of inequality and poverty, Cabrini’s high-rises were demolished and an African-American community cleared to make room for another social experiment: mixed-income neighborhoods. Shot over the course of 20-years, 70 Acres in Chicago documents this upheaval, from the razing of the first buildings in 1995, to the clashes in the mixed-income neighborhoods a decade later. 70 Acres in Chicago tells the volatile story of this hotly contested patch of land, while looking unflinchingly at race, class, and who has the right to live in the city.

Friday, November 11, 2016


The AAS Majors' Union and the Carter G. Woodson Institute will be hosting a discussion about this week's election results, to be facilitated by Professor Andrew Kahrl (AAS & History). Please join us  in this discussion tomorrow (Friday), November 11 from 2:30 - 4:00 p.m. in the Minor Hall auditorium.


Thursday, October 20, 2016 to Friday, October 21, 2016

"Keep the Movement Coming On"

For more information, please visit the Symposium Website



Monday, September 19, 2016

A lunch with Adom Getachew (University of Chicago Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and the College) -- students are invited to join us for a discussion and informal advising session with Professor Getachew regarding identifying graduate programs that fit, applying to graduate schools and the student experience once admitted.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Adom Getachew (University of Chicago Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and the College) will be speaking on

“Fragile Universals: The Making of Racial Hierarchy in the League of Nations.”

In both historiography and popular imagination, Woodrow Wilson and his brand of liberal internationalism remain deeply associated with the rise of self-determination in the twentieth century. Tracing Wilson’s domestic and international reflections on race and self-government alongside those of Jan Smuts, the South African statesman and fellow founder of the League, this talk illustrates how the universal principles of the League of Nations were shot through with commitments to racial hierarchy. It traces the implications of fragile universals through an examination of Liberia and Ethiopia’s racialized and burdened membership in the League.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Come and Join Us!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The AAS/AS Undergraduate Program requests the honor of your presence at our Annual Spring Diaspora Dinner!


This year, we will be dining on delicious Caribbean food, catered by Chef Tony Polanco

We are looking forward to hosting you at this special, informal event to celebrate the end of classes. Let's join in together and fortify ourselves for papers and exams (and grading!), and let us congratulate our soon-to-be AAS graduates.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Swahili Cultural Night:

Date: Friday, April 29th from 4-6:30pm
Venue: Minor Hall 130 


Students from our Swahili classes will be performing some Swahili poems and songs. We will also have some East African food!!



Friday, April 22, 2016

Our alumni have a lot to say about how they have used the knowledge and skills they acquired as AAS students in their careers and beyond. We have a wonderful group of panelists joining us. Short biographies of the participants can be seen below.


Please do plan to join us! We look forward to seeing you there.

Joshua Adams (AAS 2012):

Mr. Joshua Adams is an arts & culture journalist with B.A. in African American Studies and a M.A. in Journalism from USC. Before grad school, he worked as a journalism instructor in the Division Street 2013 program for Young Chicago Authors, a non-profit focusing on youth empowerment through performance art. Joshua currently works as a freshman English teacher at Urban Prep Englewood. His writings often explain current and historical cultural phenomenon through personal narratives. Writing and Music are his biggest passions, connecting the dots is his life goal. He has had work published on, has been a guestblogger for HuffPost, has pieces aggregated by The Root, and more. He has also interned at HipHopDX, the world's largest website for Hip Hop news.

Jennifer Bowles (AAS 2014):

Ms. Jennifer Bowles was elected to the Martinsville, Virginia City Council on November 4, 2014, the youngest individual ever to have been chosen by that city's voters and only the second African American woman to be elected to that office. She began her four year term on January 1, 2015.  After taking her oath of office she was elected Vice-Mayor for a two year term. Jennifer is a member of the West Piedmont District Planning Commission and founder  of the Martinsville chapter of the Millennials and is one of the key players in the region's politics. 


Tomika Ferguson (AAS 2007):

Dr. Tomika Ferguson is the Director of Community Partnerships at James Madison University. In this role, she oversees a number of programs at JMU,  and develops and strengthens partnerships with businesses, professional associations, K-12 schools and community organizations. She is passionate about expanding access to higher education for students of color, those from low-income households, student-athletes and students who will be the first in their family to attend college. She speaks to students in grades K-12 and their families, higher education professionals and community organizations about how to prepare for, be successful in, and graduate from college. She utilizes her personal experiences as a first-generation college student from a rural community, relevant research, my academic and professional experiences to demystify the ways students can be confident in themselves, identify and articulate their strengths, and be successful to accomplish their goals. Dr. Ferguson holds advanced degrees in Education, Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Indiana, Bloomington.  She is a board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County and in her first year following her graduation from U.Va., she was a College Adviser with the Virginia College Adviser Corps.  


LaTasha Levy (AAS 2000):


We are grateful that Dr. LaTasha Levy has been in residence here at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for the past three academic years. While many of our students have had the benefit of her instruction during that time, many do not realize that she is a graduate of U.Va.'s AAS program or that she directed the Luther P. Jackson Black Cultural Center between 2001-2004. After teaching humanities at the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Dr. Levy went on to earn a M.P.S. in Africana Studies at Cornell University and a Ph.D. in African American Studies from Northwestern University. We will miss her very much when she leaves to begin her new tenure-track position in American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington.


Kristen Lucas (AAS 2009):


Ms. Kristen Lucas works as a Family Services Associate with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, where she has connected potential partner families, family advocates, donors and community stakeholders since January 2013. She is a certified Housing Counselor through the Virginia Association of Housing Conselors. Before working with Habitat for Humanity, Ms. Lucas served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Exorbitant rent for inferior housing.  Payday lenders on every block. Police forces that see your neighborhood as a source of municipal revenue rather than a community in need of protection.  In America today, low-income minority neighborhoods suffer not only from a shortage of economic opportunity but also from an abundance of predatory industries and practices.  While forms of economic exploitation have helped cities balance their budgets and businesses and investors amass fortunes, it has compounded the struggles of African American communities and contributed, in no small measure, to the racial wealth gap in America today.   Critics call it the “race tax,” and its roots are buried deep in the soil of America’s segregated cities.  This spring’s Woodson Forum will bring together four of America’s leading scholars on economic predation in Black America’s past and present for an engaging, informative discussion of the devastating effects of often hidden practices.  By shining a light on enterprises and institutions that prey on the urban poor, this event aims to generate greater awareness of the challenges facing many Black Americans today and a deeper understanding of issues informing the BlackLivesMatter movement.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 at 5:00 PM
The Carter G. Woodson Institute, 108 Minor Hall, Charlottesville, VA

---Catered by Mel's Cafe

AAS & AS Students,  We are looking forward to hosting you at this special, informal event to celebrate the end of classes and to fortify ourselves for papers and exams​.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Next Week at the Woodson Institute


Engaging Race-- A Carter G. Woodson Forum:  “BLACK GIRLS MATTER”


Thursday, November 12, 2015—4:30 PM—123 Robertson Hall



We invite you to the second forum in the year-long “Engaging Race” series sponsored by the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies.  Focused on black girls, the forum is largely inspired by “Black Girls Matter:  Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected,” a report released by the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia University and the African American Policy Forum.  Authored by Kimberle Crenshaw, Jyoti Nanda and Priscilla Ocen, the report, based on a review of national data and on personal interviews with girls in selected regions of the country, is but one in a growing number of such reports, all describing a disturbing national trend: the percentage of girls in the U. S. juvenile justice system is rapidly on the rise.  The excessive disciplinary measures they face in schools lead to escalating rates of violence, arrest, suspension and/or expulsion.  Girls of color, in particular, face much harsher school discipline than their white peers.  For example, Black girls are suspended six times more than their white peers (while black boys are only suspended three times more than white males). 


According to Kimberlé Crenshaw one of the study’s authors, “As public concern mounts for the needs of men and boys of color through initiatives like the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper, we must challenge the assumption that the lives of girls and women—who are often left out of the national conversation—are not also at risk.”


Please join us for this roundtable/discussion on black girls with a panel of experts:


  • Lindsey Jones (PhD candidate, the Curry School of Education)
  • Priscilla Ocen (Loyola University Law School)
  • Tammy Owens (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Minnesota and Pre-doctoral Fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute)
  • LaKisha Simmons (University of Buffalo)
  • Joanna Williams (Associate Professor in Curry School of Education).

Read a copy of the “Black Girls Matter” report here.



This event is free and open to the public.

Monday, November 9, 2015

“Nobody's free until Black Women are free”


Fellow Soldiers,


This Upcoming Monday, November 9th at 5:00pm in Ern Commons, the African American and African Studies Majors Union will be collaborating with the Woodson Institute to host the following program:


"Who Has Our Back?: A Town Hall Meeting on Black Women and Girls." 


In the spirit of the recent report, "Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Over-policed and Underprotected," which analyzes the ways in which black women and girls have been either erased, underrepresented, or violated in discussions of racial inequality and state violence, this event encourages open dialogue about the pressing challenges facing Black communities that are entangled in race, class, gender and sexuality.


Women and girls from the UVA and Charlottesville community are invited to attend and speak freely about the violence and challenges facing Black women and girls as well as the grievances, joys, strategies and concerns we face as Black women. (Men are also encouraged to attend.)


The Town Hall Meeting will serve as a precursor to “Engaging Race--A Carter G. Woodson Forum: Black Girls Matter," which will take place on November 12th at 4:30 pm in 123 Robertson Hall.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

After College, What's Next? A Post-Graduation Workshop

Students often ask us, "What can I do with this major/minor?" or "What am I qualified to do once I graduate from college?" -- have you ever wondered? How can you market your degree in African American and African Studies? What kinds of jobs are available? What about graduate or professional school? This will be a useful experience, regardless of your academic year at U.Va. Refreshments will be served before and after the event.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Black Studies REMIX: "KNOWLEDGE" The Fifth Element of Hip Hop--A Conversation with Dr. James Braxton Peterson


Dr. James Braxton Peterson is a scholar-activist and media contributor whose work on Hip Hop illuminates the educational and political dimensions of one of the world's most influential art forms. He argues that knowledge is the "Fifth Element of Hip Hop" culture (alongside djing, mc-ing, breakdancing, and graffiti). His weekly WHYY podcast, called "The Remix," explores the Fifth Element of Hip Hop through the politics of race relations and the cultural debates surrounding celebrities and entertainers. You can access "The Remix" at the following link:


Join us for a discussion about the intersections of knowledge, Black Studies, and the transformative power of Hip Hop. 


(Dr. James Braxton Peterson serves as the Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. He is also the founder of the Hip Hop Scholars, Inc. and is a frequent contributor to news media.)



Sponsored by the AAS Majors Union and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American And African Studies

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Anchored by Khalil Muhammad, Executive Director of the Schomburg Center in Black Culture (of the New York Public Library), the forum, titled "Engaging Race:  On Violence, Citizenship, and Social Justice,” is inspired by recent events in Charleston, South Carolina.  But the Charleston massacre is but one catalyst for engaging a range of issues emerging in its wake.  Among these, by no means new to this hour, are:  the underreported escalation of black church burnings over the last several weeks, the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag, and the unabated instances of police brutality against black bodies, committed with impunity.  It bears remembering that Reverend, and state senator, Clementa Pinckney, one of those slain, championed legislation making south Carolina the first state to require all law enforcement agencies to use body cameras. Irony of ironies, the governor of South Carolina signed this bill into law on June 10 -- exactly a week before  Pinckney and his parishioners were murdered in cold blood.


Joining Khalil Muhammad will be Heather Thompson (Professor of History, University of Michigan), Dennis Childs (Professor of Literature, University of California, San Diego), Anthea Butler (Professor of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania), and James Peterson (Professor of Africana Studies, Lehigh University).


This event is generously supported by the

Office of the Provost, Summer Session and Special Academic Programs, International Studies Office, Center for Race and Law, Curry School of Education, Office for Diversity and Equity, Project on Lived Theology, Office of Admissions, The Miller Center, and the Departments of History, English, and Sociology

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Carter G. Woodson Institute and the Office of African American Affairs, with generous support from the Frank Batten School for Leadership and public Policy, the Office of Diversity and Equity, the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, Curry School of Education Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy, and the Luther P. Jackson Black Male Initiative, announces an upcoming lecture by Princeton University Professor Imani Perry, who teaches in the Center for African American Studies.  She holds a B. A. from Yale, a Ph.D. from Harvard in the Program in the History of American Civilization, and a J. D. from Harvard Law School.  She is the author of More Beautiful and More Terrible:  The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States (New York University Press, 2011), Prophets of the Hood:  Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop (Duke University Press, 2004), and numerous scholarly articles and editions.

Monday, February 9, 2015

"The Slave and the Language of Death," a lecture by Simon Gikandi of Princeton University.

Where: Minor Hall Auditorium
When: Monday, 02/09/2015 at 5 p.m.

Free and Open to the Public

Coffee and refreshments will be served from 4:45 p.m., a little before the start of the event.

Professor Gikandi will be delivering the Rushton lecture hosted by the Department of English and the Carter G. Woodson Institute.

Simon Gikandi is Professor of English at Princeton University and the author of the much awarded book, Slavery and the Culture of Taste (2011), among many others:…/slavery-and-culture-taste

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Carter G. Woodson Institute and the Office of African American Affairs, with generous support from the Virginia Film Festival, and the Lambda Zeta chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., is sponsoring a special screening of Ava DuVernay’s film, SELMA on Thursday, February 5 at 6:30 in Stonefield Cinema 14.  In keeping with the theater’s policies regarding special screenings, we cannot distribute tickets ahead.  Those wishing to attend the screening should show up by 6:30 p.m. on February 5 and will be admitted on a first come, first served basis, at no charge.  Please note that a section of the theater will be roped off  for students currently enrolled in African American Studies classes in which SELMA and/or the Civil Rights Movement are considered.  We regret that the theater only seats 202 patrons and thus apologize in advance for those who can’t be accommodated

Monday, January 19, 2015

Please take a look at this excellent opportunity for students committed to diversity who wish to attain advanced degrees in the humanities, social sciences, education, and math and then pursue careers in education, administration, or counseling at K-12 schools or colleges and universities.


There are no classes on Monday, January 19th in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but please consider coming out to the presentation at 10:30 in Minor 130 and also signing up for an interview that day with Ms. Davis. Many of our students have participated in this program in the past and have benefited in profound ways.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

---Catered by Mel's Cafe

AAS & AS Students,  We are looking forward to hosting you at this special, informal event to celebrate the end of classes and to fortify ourselves for papers and exams​. Please try and RSVP through the invitation you received earlier this week. 

This has been a very difficult few weeks for all of us and hopefully, this will be a time to gather informally, decompress a bit, to share some time together talking about how to bring about CHANGE and healing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mary Hicks PhD Candidate-- University of Virginia Department of History

Notions of African Sovereignty in Post-Slave Trade West Africa

Violence, Political Sovereignty and the British Suppression of the Slave Trade on the West African Coast, 1811-1825

Recently, a growing number of historians have interrogated the numerous commercial, political, and ethical ramifications wrought by Great Britain’s 1807 unilateral decision to spearhead a military and legal effort to end to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. As both Robin Law and Christopher Brown have argued, the zealousness of British abolitionist efforts on the West African coast were intimately linked to colonization schemes which aimed to both aggrandize British power abroad, and civilize African polities increasingly perceived as economically antiquated and morally corrupt. Few scholars, however, have placed Africans and their activities at the center of this narrative. As my presentation will show, British privateers and naval vessels increasingly utilized a “judicious mixture of bullying and bribery” to suppress the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This conversion in policy led to a diminished recognition and observance of the territorial and commercial sovereignty for West African polities located along the Gold and Slave Coasts. In the trading ports frequented by Portuguese and Brazilian slavers, including Porto Novo, Whydah and Onim, British anti-slaving vessels violently seized suspected slaving ships and their crews (many of whom were African-born, enslaved seamen) and fired on African port communities as they abetted foreign slavers. These maritime battles were un-sanctioned by the customary rights recognized for both European and African polities derived from the “Law of Nations,” which protected rulers and sovereign people’s ability to conduct their own commerce unimpeded by outside nations, except during times of war. My paper explores the legal contradictions and ironies of Britain’s early anti-slaving activities for West African commercial port communities, especially the role that violence played in coercing compliance of the suppression of the trade. Furthermore, British perceptions of African sovereignty during this period underwent an acute transformation from the eighteenth century—during which intense British slave trading conducted at these same coastal communities operated under the implicit recognition of African rulers’ lawful right to sell their own subjects as slaves. In the years following prohibition, British administrators, politicians and naval officers repeatedly ignored the autonomy and agency of slave trading African rulers. Furthermore, as my paper argues, British military and diplomatic power after 1811, increasingly undermined African attempts to employ European legal theory to protect their participation in a trans-Atlantic slave trade which continued to be highly profitable to a small number of West African merchants.


299A New Cabell Hall

Free and open to the public.



Friday, November 7, 2014

2014, USA, 112 min
Director: Stanley Nelson Cast: Julian Bond, Taylor Branch, Ben Chaney

In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation’s eyes were riveted on Mississippi. Despite concerted efforts of local civil rights activists, the state remained steeped in segregation, underscored by racial hate crimes and the systematic exclusion of African Americans from the political process. Award-winning director Stanley Nelson captures this volatile period with remarkable historical footage and firsthand accounts from volunteers whose lives changed in those long summer months. Fifty years later, this film highlights an overlooked but essential element of the Civil Rights Movement: activists’ patient and long-term efforts to organize communities and register black voters — even in the face of intimidation, physical violence and death. Discussion with Julian Bond, Lynn French, Joyce Ladner, and Deborah McDowell (U.Va.)

Supported by U.Va. Office for Diversity and Equity and The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at U.Va.


UVA  Newcomb Hall Theater

Adults: $11.00 Discounted:$9.00


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Case Watkins -- Cultures and Landscapes of African Oil Palm in Colonial Bahia

Long essential in many West African societies, palm oil became an integral component of Afro-Brazilian culture and cuisine in the early colonial period, and the palm groves that yield the oil represent an Afro-Brazilian landscape. Watkins, a PhD candidate in geography and anthropology at LSU, marshals evidence from colonial archives, travellers' accounts, ethnographies, fieldwork, and digital geographic data to analyse the development of Bahia’s Palm Oil Coast. While Africans and Afro-Brazilians emerge as principal actors, the analysis places humans within a broader socio-ecological framework to demonstrate how cultural-historical processes, biogeographies, agroecologies, and Atlantic commerce all coalesced to establish and sustain Bahia’s Afro-Brazilian landscape, and help integrate an Atlantic World.

229A New Cabell Hall

Free and Open to the Public

Monday, October 27, 2014

Students often ask us, "What can I do with this major/minor?" or "What am I qualified to do once I graduate from college?" -- have you ever wondered? How can you market your AAS or AS degree? What kinds of jobs are available? What about graduate or professional school? This will be a useful experience, regardless of your academic year at U.Va. Refreshments will be served before and after the event.


Minor 125

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dr. Judith Byfield -- Women, War and Rice: World War II and Abeokuta (Nigeria)

My research interests have evolved over time.  I began with a very strong interest in African art and literature and gradually added  the colonial state, nationalism, women's history, and the African Diaspora, specifically the Anglophone Caribbean.  Most of my research and writing thus far has focused on women's social and economic history in colonial Nigeria.  My first book, The Bluest Hands: A Social and Economic History of Women Indigo Dyers in Western Nigeria, brought many of my interests together for it examined the transformation of indigo dyeing and textile production in Abeokuta, a town famous for its indigo dyed cloth, adire.  It illuminated the ways in which the colonial state transformed women's economic life as well as the ways women navigated the new economic landscape and pressed the colonial state to protect their livelihoods.  My current manuscript, The Great Upheaval: Women, Taxes and Nationalist Politics in Nigeria, 1945-1951,  explores a women's tax revolt in Abeokuta after WW II, and follows the projection of this political episode unto the national stage as the organization that led the tax revolt grew into a national women's organization that tried to shape the nationalist movement. 

My courses reflect the full range of my interests.  They include lecture courses on Caribbean history,  Africa After 1800,  Popular Culture in Africa as well as seminars on a range of topics - Nationalism and Decolonization; Marriage and Divorce; Cloth, Dress and Identity.

229A New Cabell Hall

Thursday, October 2, 2014

We think that with all the hard work you're doing, you deserve something sweet. Join us in Minor Hall 108 on October 2 from 5:00 - 6:15 p.m. for FREE Ben & Jerry's ice cream sundaes! Know someone interested in a major or minor in AAS or a minor in African Studies? Invite your friend to join us. We'll have some info there on our academic program and Prof. Shutt will be there to answer questions. This will also be an opportunity for you to purchase $5 AAS T-shirts and/or to contribute items (or make a financial contribution) to the care packages for our alumnae serving abroad in the Marines and the Peace Corps. But regardless, plan to join us for some delicious sundaes!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Born in Jamaica in 1963, Claudia Rankine earned her BA in English from Williams College and her MFA in poetry from Columbia University.

She is the author of four collections of poetry: Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2004); PLOT (Grove Press, 2001); The End of the Alphabet (Grove Press, 1998); and Nothing in Nature is Private (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1995), which received the Cleveland State Poetry Prize.

Rankine has edited numerous anthologies including American Women Poets in the Twenty-First Century: Where Lyric Meets Language (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) and American Poets in the Twenty-First Century: The New Poetics (Wesleyan University Press, 2007). Her plays include Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue, commissioned by the Foundry Theatre and Existing Conditions, co-authored with Casey Llewellyn. She has also produced a number of videos in collaboration with John Lucas, including "Situation One.”

Of her book Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric, an experimental multi-genre project that blends poetry, essays, and images, poet Robert Creeley said: “Claudia Rankine here manages an extraordinary melding of means to effect the most articulate and moving testament to the bleak times we live in I’ve yet seen. It’s master work in every sense, and altogether her own.”

In 2013, Rankine was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Mark Doty has praised her selection, saying: “Claudia Rankine’s formally inventive poems investigate many kinds of boundaries: the unsettled territory between poetry and prose, between the word and the visual image, between what it’s like to be a subject and the ways we’re defined from outside by skin color, economics, and global corporate culture. This fearless poet extends American poetry in invigorating new directions.”

Her honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowments for the Arts. In 2005, Rankine was awarded the Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by the Academy of American Poets. She is currently the Henry G. Lee Professor of English at Pomona College.

Hear Claudia Rankine read from Citizen.

229 Bryan Hall--English Faculty Lounge

Free and Open to the Public

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lecture and book signing

Andrew Karhl
Assistant Professor Department of History, Carter G. Woodson Institute

Castles Made of Sand:
The Rise and Demise of African American Beaches in the Mid-Atlantic South

In the 1950s the coasts and waterways of Virginia and Maryland were home to scores of African American beach resorts, amusement parks, country clubs, and summer vacation communities. Servicing the leisure and recreational needs of a segregated black public and spawning a host of businesses and enterprises, African American-owned coastal properties played an important, if often overlooked, role in shaping black culture and economic life under Jim Crow. And yet, by the 1970s, most of these resorts were gone and much of the land was being lost to land speculators and real estate developers. Award-winning historian Andrew W. Kahrl will reveal the hidden history of black beaches in the segregated South and tell the remarkable story of how African American families, businessmen and women, and investors acquired land along the Chesapeake and Atlantic and helped to create a vibrant black leisure economy during the first half of the twentieth century. He will recount their struggles to keep these communities intact and businesses afloat following desegregation. Finally, Kahrl will discuss how the meteoric rise of coastal real estate values made black landowners in these areas the victims of a variety of predatory and exploitative schemes that resulted in the loss of their land and the chance to share in the region’s prosperity. It is a story, he will argue, that offers important lessons for understanding the development and persistence of the racial wealth gap in America today.

After lecture Dr. Kahrl will sign copies of his book The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South (2012)

This event is free and open to the public. Cost of book is $40, members receive 10% discount.

This lecture and book signing is made possible through the generous support of the Blue Moon Fund and Hampton Inn and Suites.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dr. George Mentore, Dept. of Anthropology

“Evans-Pritchard and Lienhardt Reconsidered”

Decades after their deaths, two Oxford anthropologists, E.E. Evans-Pritchard and his student Godfrey Lienhardt, have lost much of their relevance for many scholars. Dr. Mentore, whose  own work focuses on Amazonia and the Antilles, offers a re-reading of these once-canonical Africanists, and considers what their work might still mean for anthropologists today.

Please join us on

Wednesday, Sept. 17th, 2014

in 299A New Cabell Hall

3:30pm – 5:00pm

This event is free and open to the public



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Student Council will be hosting the Activities Fair on Monday, August 25th from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. in the University amphitheater and lower lawn. African American and African Studies (AAS) will be represented -- come talk to us and find out more about the AAS major and minor and the African Studies minor. We'll have some treats for you as well as the opportunity to enter a raffle for gift certificates for Bodo's, Arch's, Revolutionary Soup and more! We'll be at a table on the lower lawn. Hoping we'll see you there!