Post-doctoral Fellow 2019-2020
Grace Gipson received her Ph.D. in African American Studies with a designated emphasis in New Media from the University of California Berkeley, MA in African American Studies at Georgia State University, and BA in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University. Grace is Black future feminist/pop culture scholar whose research explores Black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books, Afrofuturism, and race and new media. Grace’s recent publications include “Creating and Imagining Black Futures through Afrofuturism” in the edited collection #identity: Hashtagging Race, Gender, Sex, and Nation; "What Can The Hunger Games Teach Us About Bitch Planet’s Megaton?" as part of Hard Women, Hard Time: Bitch Planet Comics Studies Roundtable in The Middle Spaces; and “Afro-Futurism’s Musical Princess Janelle Monae: Psychadelic Soul Message Music Infused with a Sci-Fi Twist” in the edited collection Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness, Vol. I, as well as various other publications in such outlets as Huffington Post, NPR.org, and Black Perspectives. Her current book project seeks to explore Black female identities as personified in comics and fandom culture. A second project examines how online Black female academic and popular networks produce cultural and technical capital, which act as safe spaces that showcase, interrogate, and celebrate the blending of popular culture and the academy. She has taught courses on Africana history, Introduction to Africana Studies, Black Popular Culture, Channeling Blackness in Social Media, Race, Gender and Class in Contemporary South Africa, African American Families, and Making Sense of Cultural Data at the University of California Berkeley and Georgia State University. In Spring 2020, Grace will teach a seminar course on Channeling Blackness in Popular Culture at the University of Rochester.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2019-2020
Conā Marshall currently works as an assistant professor of American Religions at the University of Rochester. She obtained a Master’s of Theological Studies from Vanderbilt Divinity School and a Ph.D. in African American and African Studies with a concentration in Cultural Rhetoric(s) from Michigan State University. Conā is a womanist rhetoric scholar who engages constellating systems of race, rhetoric, religion, and gender. Their most recent publications explore relationships between hip hop and religiosity—more notably investigating meaning-making strategies that make claims and support for varying religious ethics—as evidence in their most recent publication, “I’m So Self-Conscious: Kanye West’s Rhetorical Wrestling with Theodicy and Nihilism,” in the Journal of Hip Hop Studies’ special issue I Gotta Testify: Kanye West, Hip Hop, and the Church. Their book project, Ain’t I a Preacher?: Black Women’s Homiletic Rhetoric, examines the sermonic rhetoric of four leading contemporary preacher-scholars—Teresa Fry, Vashti McKenzie, Eboni Marshall Turman and Melanie Jones—in efforts to (1) describe womanist preaching tenets and (2) prescribe a womanist preaching method. Conā has taught a wide range of courses on Black culture, religion and rhetoric, at Michigan State University and Lebanon Valley College. They will teach a course entitled, “Hip Hop and Religion” (Spring 2019) at the University of Rochester—exploring histories of hip hop, Black religions, and meaning-making.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2018-2020
Zebulon Dingley currently works as an assistant professor at the College of Charleston. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology and History, MA in Anthropology, and BA in African and African-American Studies and History from the University of Chicago. He is an Anthropologist and Historian of “the Occult” in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean from the 19th century to the present. Taking “occult” in the expansive sense of “things hidden,” his research explores the variety of ways coastal Kenyans speculatively engage the unseen forces felt to structure and drive the world of everyday events and experience. His current book project, Mumiani: Bodies, Rumor, and History in Coastal Kenya, analyzes persistent rumors of organized blood and body part theft as archives of ecological disruption, medical innovation, and political extraversion over the last 200 years of regional history. A second project on “rituals of enclosure and exposure” examines the repertoire of practices regulating the permeability and opacity of bodies, houses, and settlements among the Mijikenda peoples of the southern Kenyan coast. He has taught social theory and African studies at the University of Chicago and Harvard University and will teach a seminar in Spring 2019 on “‘Witchcraft’ and ‘The Occult’ in Modern African History” at the University of Rochester.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2018-2019 Post
Cory Hunter received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Eastman School of Music in 2006, a Master of Divinity and Certificate of Music from Yale Divinity School and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music in 2009 and his PhD in musicology from Princeton University in 2016. His current book project, The Politics of Spiritual Realism in Gospel Music Discourse and Practice, examines black gospel music in the twenty-first century and the ways in which gospel artists use various musical and discursive practices as strategies to communicate their theological commitments. Cory also examines how gospel artists employ music and discourse as mechanisms to reconstruct their subjectivities and to challenge how their followers experience God. Upon the completion of the post-doctoral fellowship program at the Frederick Douglass Institute, Cory will begin a dual tenure track appointment as Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Rochester and Assistant Professor of Musicology at Eastman School of Music.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2017-2018
Susan Weeber currently works as a post-doctoral scholar studying Ethnic American Literatures and Cultural Productions at the University of Oregon. Weeber received her MA and PhD in English from Penn State University and her BA in English and Government from Georgetown University. Her research centers on the politics of experimental black diasporic and American literature. Her current book project, Poetics of Interruption: Media and Form in Black Radical Literature, examines 20th- and 21st-century African American and African diasporic literature’s engagement with other media. In chapters on jazz improvisation in Claude McKay’s Banjo, photographic poetics in the works of the Dark Room Collective, cinematic language in CLR James’s and Maya Deren’s cultural criticism, and the cinematic poetry of Danez Smith, Tracie Morris, Tisa Bryant, and Claudia Rankine, Poetics of Interruption argues that experimental black literature’s engagement with other media interrupts, jolts, and slows down our reading process, disorienting readers and thereby changing the ways we read and understand historiography and identity. Susan also writes about race and science fiction, the Haitian Revolution, and Caribbean drama. Like her book project, Susan’s other projects cross disciplinary, national, and generic boundaries to examine our un-interrogated assumptions about literature, race, media, and the humanities. She has taught writing, literature, and African American Studies courses at Penn State, and in spring 2018, she taught a class on contemporary black literature and visual culture for the University of Rochester.
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2017-2018
Nicholas Brady currently works as a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Irvine. He received his BA in Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University and his MA at University of California, Irvine where he is currently a doctoral candidate in the Culture & Theory program. His research focuses on the urban rebellions of the 1960s and how these events were rhetorically used by artists, organizers, and politicians during that time.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2016-2017
Brittany Sheldon currently works as the director of the Art Department Gallery at Humboldt State University where she runs the Reese Bullen and Goudi'ni Native American Arts Galleries. She also teaches courses in Art History and for the Department's Museum and Gallery Certificate program. She received her master's and doctoral degrees in art history and African studies at Indiana University in Bloomington. She also holds a bachelor's degree in the history of art and visual culture from the University of California in Santa Cruz. Her research highlights women's artistry in the rural communities of northeastern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso. She created an online exhibition entitled "State of an Art: Women's Artistry in Northeastern Ghana and Southern Burkina Faso." Based on filed research conducted between 2012 and 2016, this website will showcase specific examples of plastering and painting, pottery-making, and basket-weaving processes as well as portraits of the women artists involved in them. Dr. Sheldon also wrote an article in which she expands her discussion on specific women artists, exploring their lives, work, expertise in and knowledge about their traditional artistic practices. Her research interests include indigenous architectural traditions, African women's arts, contemporary international African and diasporic art and artists, and the role of artistry in the formation of national identity.
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2016-2017
Paul Fess currently works as faculty for the Department of English at Hunter College. He was a candidate in the English Program at the City University of New York, Graduate Center and the predoctoral fellow at the Frederick Douglass Institute. He specialized in American literature, African-American literature, and sound studies. His dissertation, Resonant Texts: The Politics and Practices of 19th-century African American Musical Cultures of Print examines how music structured the politics and literature of race, enslavement, and citizenship from the U.S. abolitionist movement of the 1850s to the end of the nineteenth century.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2015-2016
Samira Abdur-Rahman currently works as faculty at the English Department of the University of San Francisco. She earned her BA in English and Africana studies and a PhD in English literature from Rutgers University. She holds a MA in humanities and social thought from New York University. Her current book project, Sites of Instruction: Black Childhood and the Geography of Education, explores the construction and performance of black childhood from the post-bellum period to twentieth century works of civil rights fiction and memoir. Reading across generic boundaries, the manuscript examines black writers' preoccupation with childhood and narratives of education as a means to mark dominant structures of race, knowledge and space. Sites of Instruction contends that narratives of black childhood enable writers to map ulterior imaginings of place, self and futurity. Her research interests include 19th and 20th century African American Literature, childhood studies, literary geography and autobiography studies. While at the University of Rochester she taught a course titled "Representations of Black Childhood" in Spring 2016.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2015-2016
Kate Mariner currently works as an assistant professor at the University of Rochester's Department of Anthropology. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and her BA in anthropological sciences from Stanford University. She holds a MA in clinical social work from the University of Chicago. Her research examines the confluence of intimacy, inequality, and temporality within the context of American adoption. Kate's current book project, Speculative Kinship:The Flows and Futures of Private Agency Adoption in the United States, argues that infant adoption is a highly contested mode of both building and dissolving imagined futures, entailing complex forms of circulation, investment, and affective engagement. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted at a small non-profit private adoption agency in Chicago between 2009 and 2014, Speculative Kinship explores adoption as a powerful lens on the question of who can have a future in the United States, and who cannot. Speculative Kinship's focus on the behind-the-scences work of adoption - the process itself rather than the adoptive family as its il/logical outcome - provides insight into the practice's fraught conditions of possibility: unequal material realities of both expectant and prospective parents, entrenched yet precarious instituional structures, multiple forms of abandonment, and entangled ideologies of kinship, race, and class. While at the University of Rochester she taught a course titled "Black Body: Intersecting Intimacies" in Spring 2016.
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2014-2015
Adela Amaral currently works as an assistant professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary. She was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California’s Presidential Fellowship program. She received her BA in anthropology and history from UCLA and her MA in anthropology from the University of Chicago. Her interests included historical anthropology and archaeology, the Afro-Atlantic world, maroonage, colonialism, architecture, ruins, and spatial practice. Her dissertation, “The Archaeology of a Maroon Reducción: Colonial Beginnings to Present day Ruination” combined archaeological, historical and ethnographic work to develop a thorough and long term understanding of African slavery and runaway slavery in Colonial Veracruz, Mexico. Her work was centered on the reducción, Nuestra Señora de los Negros de Amapa, founded in 1769 by runaway slaves of African descent or, maroons. Adela’s dissertation examined the political impulses that led to the founding of Amapa and its short and long term ramifications. The project investigated the local creation of the maroon colonial social category and questions the connections between racialized social groups, built environments, and things. Her work also used the political present as local knowledge and present day relationships were used to interpret the past and to understand how the past is used in the present.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2014-2015
Erin Pearson currently works a lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard University. She received her PhD in English from the University of California, Irvine, and a BA in English from Harvard College. Her research examined the discourse on slavery to reveal the ways race and power were perceived, constructed, and challenged not only by slaves and slaveholders, but by politicians, abolitionists, and consumers. Her book project, Savage Hunger: Cannibalism and the Discourse on Slavery in the United States and Caribbean, argued that cannibalism was a defining feature of the discourse on slavery. From the proslavery advocates who used allegations of African cannibalism to justify enslavement, to the antislavery activists who used cannibalism as a metaphor for human exploitation, cannibalism afforded Anglophone writers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a powerful conceptual tool for making sense of slavery. Her approach combined the examination of rare archival materials like political cartoons and blackface minstrel songsters with extended close readings of major works by writers including Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, and Herman Melville. She taught a course titled “Narratives of Slavery Before and After Emancipation” in Spring 2015.
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2013-2014
Lynne Ellsworth Larsen currently works as assistant professor of Art History at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She was a PhD candidate of African art history from the University of Iowa. She has a BA in humanities with an English literature emphasis and Art History minor from Brigham Young University and an M.A. in Art History from the University of Iowa. Her dissertation research dealt with issues of post-colonial identity as manifest through architecture. Specifically, she examined The Royal Palace of Dahomey, in Abomey, Benin, its evolving purpose and its influence on the local architecture and religious practices. She spent nine months in Abomey as a Fulbright Fellow from 2012-2013. She has worked as a teaching and research assistant, and has designed and taught a course on African Architecture.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2013-2014
Elliott H. Powell currently works as an assistant professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota. He has been the recipient of several national fellowships and awards from the Ford Foundation, Andrew W.Mellon Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. His current book project, "Music Between the Margins: Afro-South Asian Musical Exchanges in Jazz and Hip Hop," brings together race, feminist and queer theory to examine the political implications of musical collaborations between African-American and South-Asian diasporic musicians in postwar jazz and post 9/11 hip hop. While at the University of Rochester, he taught a course entitled “Pause: The Politics of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Hip Hop” in Spring 2014.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2012-2013
Sarah Seidman currently works as the curator for the Puffin Foundation of Social Activism at the Museum of the City of New York. Her research revolved around race, movements for political change, the radical imagination, and transnationalism in the United States and the world. She has a BA in American studies from Wesleyan University and an MA in public humanities from Brown University. As a doctoral student in Brown's Department of American Studies, Sarah completed a dissertation, "Venceremos Means We Shall Overcome: The African American Freedom Struggle and the Cuban Revolution, 1959-1979," exploring transnational convergences between the African American liberation movement and the Cuban Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. This project examined African American activists and the intellectuals who participated in the civil rights and black power movements in the United States including Robert F. Williams, Amiri Baraka, Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, Huey Newton, Alice Walker, and many lesser-known figures that visited Cuba as individuals or with groups, lived there in exile as political refugees, and envisioned the island and its citizens in written and visual texts. The Cuban state, in turn welcomed African Americans to its shores and denounced US racism in its public discourse. While at the University of Rochester she taught a course entitled “Race, radicalism and the Cold War” in Spring 2013.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2012-2013
Alison M. Montgomery currently works as an expert of Behavior Change and (UX) at Millennium Challenge Corporation. Her dissertation was based on research conducted from 2009-2011 in South Africa's Western Cape Province. Fairtrade is an international economic initiative that aims to empower marginalized producers across the global South through the promotion of equitable production, distribution and consumption practices. Based on a trade-not-aid approach to sustainable development, Fairtrade is now a widespread template for agrarian reform, encompassing over 50 producer states in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2011-2012
Edward Puchner currently works as the executive director of the Greenville Museum of Art. Previously he was a curator of exhibitions at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum. He received his PhD from Indiana University, Bloomington. His dissertation entitled "'Speaking His mind in my mind': African American Art, the Evangelical Church, and the Art of Theodicy" discusses five artists – William Edmondson, Horace Pippin, Bill Traylor, Elijah Pierce and Minnie Evans – who lived, worshipped and created art within small evangelical church communities throughout the United States and used their artistry to engage early efforts to fight for the civil rights of African Americans. His thesis asks questions about their faith, their divine inspiration and the religious imagery within their work. In addition, it illustrates how their faith and imagery align with ideas within the African American evangelical church concerning race, divine justice, and human suffering. His project examines these vital aspects of the church's theological discourse to understand how evangelicalism refigured racial violence and fashioned a "religioracial identity" for African Americans in the early twentieth century. His research interests include African American art, American modernism, contemporary art, folk/self-taught/outsider art, and the material culture of American religions. Edward received his MA in art history from Indiana University, Bloomington, and his BA in art history from Carleton College. He is the recipient of a Dissertation Fellowship in American Art from the Luce Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies and a Barra Foundation Fellowship from the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Edward has also worked at the Indiana University Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and curated an exhibition on Indiana folk art for a non-profit organization in Bloomington, Indiana. He has contributed articles and reviews to Raw Vision magazine and other publications and presented papers for the Association of Historians of American Art, the American Studies Association, and the Southeastern College Art Conference.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2011-12
Takkara Brunson currently works an assistant professor of the Africana Studies Program at the Fresno State College of Social Sciences. She was an assistant professor at Morgan State University. She was the 2011-12 postdoctoral fellow at the Frederick Douglass Institute for African & African-American Studies at the University of Rochester. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a PhD in History in 2011. She specializes in modern Latin American history with a particular focus on race and gender, citizenship, and national identity. Her dissertation examined the Cuban nation formation from the standpoint of Afro-Cuban women during the Republican Era (1902-1958). During the fellowship year, she revised her dissertation into a book manuscript and complete articles on Afro-Cubans' use of photography and Afro-Cuban feminism. Her research interests include: Latin American history, feminist theory and gender studies, critical race theory, African Diaspora studies, and visual culture studies. While at the University of Rochester, she taught a course, titled "The History of the African Diaspora in Latin America" in Spring 2012.
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2010-11
Habtamu Tegegne currently works as an assistant professor of History at Rutgers University. He earned his BA (1998) and MA (2003) from Addis Ababa University, where he also held faculty position, and his doctoral degree (2011) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Habtamu has been teaching at Florida Gulf Coast University between 2011 and 2016. He is currently teaching at Rutgers-Newark. His teaching interests are African history, Middle East history and global history. His research has been focused on a critical understanding of the broader historical development of the Ethiopian state, its administration, social dynamics, and agrarian organization. While his temporal and geographical focus remains early modern Ethiopia, Habtamu’s research is informed by comparative perspectives on agrarian societies and a theoretical concern with the nature of property and its myriad intersection with issues of power, labor, class and state.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2009-10
GerShun Avilez currently works as an associate professor at the University of North-Carolina Chapel Hill. He earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. While at Penn, he also earned an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in Africana Studies. He specializes in African-American and Black Diasporic literary and critical cultures with a particular focus on conceptions of Black gender expression and sexual identity. His dissertation provides a critical frame for reading contemporary African-American literature and other cultural productions. His research interests include: critical race theory, the Black body, African-American film, spatial theory, and hip-hop culture. During the fall semester, he taught "Private Acts/Public Bodies: Sex in African-American Literature & Popular Culture." In the Spring of 2010 he taught: "Introduction to African American Studies." Selected Publications Include:"Cartographies of Desire: Mapping Queer Space in the Fiction of Samuel Delaney and Darieck Scott." Callaloo 34.1 (Winter 2011): 126-42. and "Housing the Black Body: Value, Domestic Space, and African-American Segregation Narratives." African American Review 42.1 (Spring 2008): 135-47. Professor Avilez is completing his second monograph entitled, Race, Sex, & Space: Black Queer Bodies and Public Vulnerability;This book significantly expands his scholarly reach, as he turns his attention toward queer literary and visual artists in the artistic space of the African Diaspora with considerations of material culture in multiple forms of visual art and art installations.
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2009-10
Johanna Almiron currently works as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation entitled, "COSMICONCEPT: How the Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat Signifies," focused on reading the social and cultural politics of the iconic visual and performance artist of eighties fame, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Research interests include the inter-sectionality between art, performance, popular culture, music (jazz), and satire with the process of social and political transformation. Almiron has a background in teaching Ethnic Studies, African American Studies, Asian Pacific American studies, Filipino American studies, Queer and Feminist studies, poetry and social movements. Almiron received her MA in Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and BA in African American Studies, Fine Arts-Dance from Oberlin College. Almiron is also an award-winning performance artist, director and radio deejay. Her popular KTUH-FM Honolulu show was titled "Prince, Makadangdang & The Revolution."
Post-doctoral Fellow 2008-09
Julia Rabig currently works as an assistant professor of History at Dartmouth College. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Ph.D. in History in 2007. In 2007-08, she held a postdoctoral fellowship the Center for the Study of African American Politics at the University of Rochester. During the fellowship year she revised her dissertation, "The Fixers: Devolution, Development, and Civil Society in Newark, New Jersey, 1960-1996," for publication and presented twice at the Frederick Douglass Institute's works-in-progress seminar. Her research explores the influence of local civil rights and black power organizations on federal urban policy in the late 20th century. She published an article on the relationship between Newark's established community development corporations and its new mayor, Cory Booker, in Shelterforce, the Journal of the National Housing Institute. In 2009, a chapter of her dissertation will appear in a collection called Black Power at Work, edited by David Goldberg and Trevor Griffey and slated for publication by Cornell University Press. She was a teaching fellow at the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African American Studies at the University of Rochester. She taught "Reading and Writing African-American History' in Fall 2008 and "The Black Arts Movement" in Spring 2009.
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2008-09
Lily Mabura currently works as a fiction and children's author. Mabura was a former assistant professor at the American University of Sharjah. She was the 2008-09 Pre-Doctoral Dissertation Fellow at the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies. She is a Kenyan writer currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Fiction and Africana Literature at the Univ. of Missouri-Columbia, USA. Her research interests are in Africana Literature and Africana Feminisms. Her essay "Breaking Gods: An African Postcolonial Gothic Reading of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun" is featured in Research in African Literatures 39.1 (Spring 2008). Lily has received International Fellowships from AAUW and P.E.O International. In addition, she has been awarded the John D. Bies International Travel Scholarship (UMC Graduate School) and the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award for her work-in-progress novel titled Finding Anam Ka'alakol: A Jade Sea of Many Fish, an excerpt of which is forthcoming in Stand Magazine, UK. Her literary awards include the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature and Kenya's National Book Week Literary Award. Lily's short stories have appeared in literary journals such as PRISM international, Wasafiri, Callaloo, and the 2007 Fish Anthology. Other publications include a novel, The Pretoria Conspiracy, and three children's books: Saleh Kanta and the Cavaliers, Seth the Silly Gorilla, and Ali the Little Sultan. Selected publications include: Mabura, Lily. "A Conversation with Bret Lott." Forthcoming in Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts, Center for the Literary Arts - Univ. of Missouri-Columbia. and Mabura, Lily. Finding Anam Ka'alakol: A Jade Sea of Many Fish (novel excerpt). Forthcoming in Stand Magazine (School of English at University of Leeds, UK, and the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA)
Post-doctoral Fellow 2007-08
Joseph Hill currently works an assistant professor in Anthroplogy at the University of Alberta. He was the 2007-08 post-doctoral fellow in the University of Rochester's Frederick Douglass Institute, where he taught "Religion and Power in Africa" and "Sovereignty in the Post-Colonial African State" in Spring 2008. Joseph received his Ph. D. in Socio-cultural Anthropology from Yale University in 2007. Recent publications include: 2014. “Picturing Islamic Authority: Gender Metaphors and Sufi Leadership in Senegal.” Islamic Africa 5 (2): 275–315. and 2014. (With Britta Frede.) “Introduction: En-Gendering Islamic Authority in West Africa.” Islamic Africa 5 (2): 131-165. While at the University of Rochester, he taught “Religion and Power in Africa” (Fall 2007)" and “Sovereignty and the Postcolonial State in Africa” (Spring 2008).
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2007-08
Ayana Weekly currently works as an assistant professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Grand Valley State University. Ayana received her doctorate from the Feminist Studies Program in the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Department at the University of Minnesota. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri in May 2002. Ayana's dissertation entitled "Now That's a Good Girl: Discourses of African American Women, HIV/AIDS, and Respectability" interrogates current politics of silence surrounding black female sexualities and HIV/AIDS. Drawing upon black feminist theory and cultural criticism about HIV/AIDS this research examines discursive representations of African Americans and the epidemic through both national and local black publications and popular fiction.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2006-07
Jeffrey Q.McCune, Jr currently works as an associate professor of Women, Gender, Sexual Studies and Performance Studies at Washington University St. Louis. His work centers on Black Masculinity, popular culture and performance, and race/gender/sexuality theory. He has completed his new book, Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Sexual Passing. McCune is a member of the Black Sexual Economics Group and the Black Performance Theory Consortium, and serves on the editorial board of the Text and Performance Quarterly, Journal of Homosexuality, and Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men. He has made contributions to multiple anthologies and journals. McCune is also a playwright and director, and his play, dancin' the Down Low, has been recently selected for publication in an anthology. He is presently finishing a play, An Archive of Violence, which addresses the everydayness of violence within and around Black communities in America.
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2006-07
Alexander Bortolot currently works as the content strategist at the Minneapolis Institute of Art of was a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art History and Archeology at Columbia University. He received an MA and BA in Art History from Columbia and Harvard Universities, respectively. Mr. Bortolot's dissertation, entitled "Appearance versus Reality: The Representational Turn in 20th Century Makonde Masks and Performance" is based upon one year of field research in northern Mozambique, East Africa, and concerns the shifting aesthetics of an indigenous Mozambican masquerade genre in relation to Portuguese colonialism and the socialist ideology of the post-colonial Mozambican state.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2005-06
Millery Polyne currently works as the associate dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs & Associate Professor at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. He received his doctorate in History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research, which examined the complexities of transnational racial uplift between African Americans and Haitians and the central forces and tensions of the 19th and 20th century Pan-Africanism and Pan-Americanism, makes significant contributions to the fields of African American and Haitian history. Dr. Polyne holds a Master's degree in History from the University of Michigan, Ann ARBOR. His book"Let All Who Long for a New Birth of Freedom Follow": African Americans and Haitians, 1824-1964 examines how Haitians and African Americans utilized the nature of Pan-Africanism, in order to challenge U.S. hegemony in the region, modernize themselves and strengthen African American and Haitian relations. Dr. Polyne taught "Exploring Black Intellectualism in the African Diaspora" in Fall 2005 and "History of the Caribbean" in Spring 2006. He has published articles in journals such as Small Axe, Caribbean Studies, Journal of Haitian Studies, Wadabagei, and The Black Scholar. His first book, "From Douglass to Duvalier: U.S. African Americans, Haiti and Pan Americanism, 1870-1964" (University Press of Florida, 2010), examines cross-cultural initiatives for Haitian development through the lens of Pan Americanism. He completed two books, "The Idea of Haiti: History, Development and the Creation of New Narratives" and "Boston's Burden: Race and Urban Memory in the Twentieth Century." Professor Polyné's Gallatin courses include "Consuming the Caribbean"; "Black Intellectual Thought in the Atlantic World"; "Islands in the City: The Politics and Culture of Caribbean New York"; "Sports, Race, and Politics" and "Africa and the Politics of Aid."
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2005-06
Jennifer Lynn Stoever currently works as an associate professor of English at Binghamton University. Jennifer was the 2005-06 Frederick Douglass Institute Pre-doctoral Fellow and a doctoral candidate in the Program in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Her primary research areas include 20th century American literature and popular culture, African American and multiethnic literatures, cultural studies, and popular music (rock, hip hop, jazz). Her dissertation entitled: "Soundscapes of Blackness: Listening and the African American Novel" presented a critical cultural history of aurality in the United States by exploring how sound imagery converges and conflicts with visuality throughout key African American novels of the twentieth century. Her intellectual project represented an innovative and original contribution to an under-theorized aspect of American and African-American Studies; Soundscapes argued for both the pertinence of race to thinking about sound and the relevance of sound to constructions of raced identities.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2004-05
Cedric Johnson currently works an associate professor of African American Studies and Political Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his doctorate in Political Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. His principle teaching interests are racial politics, social movements, urban politics, American social policy and labor/class politics. Dr. Johnson also holds a Master's degree in government & Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Hobart & William Smith Colleges. He has worked on a book project, Rethinking Black Power: Race Leaders and Radicalism After Segregation (under contract, The University of Minnesota Press). This work reexamines the historical transition within black public life from radical protest to the politics of race management and a nuanced critique of the internal contradictions of black power radicalism. Rethinking Black power argues that the pacification of radical dissent resulted for the inter play of black power political maneuvers and the social management dynamics of the U.S. Corporate state. Dr. Johnson taught a seminar "the Black Power Movement and American Politics," in Fall 2004 and a course on "Racial and Ethnic Politics" in the Spring 2005.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2003-04
David Lewis-Colman currently works as an assistant professor of Africana Studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey. He received his doctorate in Social History from the University of Iowa. He is worked on a book project 'Black Autoworkers and the Politics of Racial Liberalism in Detroit, 1941-1972. He used the FDI postdoctoral fellowship to do additional research and writing to prepare his manuscript for publication. He intends to examine more closely the relationship between black autoworkers' plant-based and community activism, particularly around the issue of housing. He also intends to examine further the role of gender tensions in shaping black autoworker's activism. He taught AAS 298/HIS 260 "African-American and Twentieth Century World Affairs" in Spring 2004. His publications include: RACE AGAINST LIBERALISM: BLACK WORKERS AND THE UAW IN DETROIT, Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2008.
Pre-doctoral Fellow 2003-04
Dior Konate currently works an assistant professor at South Carolina State University. He received a bachelor's degree and master's degree in African history from the University of Cheik Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal. Later, she received her Ph.D in African history from the University of Wisconson-Maryland in Madison. Prior to working at SC State University, Konate began her teaching career as a teacher assistant in the Department of History at the University of Wisconson-Maryland in fall 2005. She also worked as a project assistant in spring 2006 designing new African history surveys for undergraduates and seminars in popular culture in Africa. In 2006, Konate began her teaching career at SC State University as the assistant professor of African Studies. She is responsible for educating students in the following fields: colonial justice,women's history and gender studies, social and cultural history, Sub-Saharan African History, African women and politics and world civilizations. Konate is affiliated with various African associations such as the West African Research Association (WARA), African Studies Association (ASA), and the South Carolina Political Science Association (SCPSA). Konate is the author of "On Both Sides of the Atlantic: The Tradition of Basket Weaving Among the Gullah of South Carolina Sea Islands and Senegalese Peoples, July 2009." She is also authoring a second article, "When Words Mean a lot: The Experiences of Female Prisoners in Senegal and the Effects of their Incarceration on their families in Wagadu."
Post-doctoral Fellow 2002-03
Ramla Bandele currently works an associate professor of Political Science at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. She received her doctorate in Political Science from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. Her Doctorate concentrated on the reasons and ways in which African-Americans have linked with other Diaspora communities and Africa itself to ameliorate the political and economic problems they all faced. Her dissertation uncovered the creative strategies that enabled these efforts to be pursued, and provides insights into why and how African-Americans participate in political and economic movements in the African Diaspora. Dr. Bandele also holds a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois. She was awarded the Farrell teaching assistant award and has served as a fellow in the Northwestern's Searle Center for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Bandele had already been engaged in cross-disciplinary teaching, she has taught Urban Politics as well as African-American politics in Northwestern University's summer school program. She also taught a first-year seminar in African-American Transnational politics at Northwestern University. Dr. Bandele taught two courses "Africa and its Diaspora" in the Fall 2002 semester, and "Beyond Civil Rights: African American Politics in the International Arena" in the Spring 2003 semester.
Post-doctoral Fellow 2001-02
Cheryl Hendricks currently works as a professor at the University of Johanesburg. She worked as the Head of the Southern Africa Human Security Programme at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa. She was previously a political analyst at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town. She received a doctorate in Government and International Relations from the department of Government and International Relations, of the University of South Carolina. She also holds a Master's degree in Southern Africa Studies from the University of York, England and an Honor degree in Political Science from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her Doctorate studies concentrates on Comparative Politics, International Relations and Gender Studies. Her focus in Comparative Politics is on politics in Africa. Dr. Hendricks was a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and the department of Sociology o the University of Western Cape. South Africa. She had an active role in building research networks that linked Black South African scholars and provided them with the opportunity to interact with their counterparts from other parts of the continent. Dr. Hendricks taught courses, "South Africa: From Apartheid to democrat" in Fall 2001, and "Africa in Crisis/African in Transition" in Spring 2002.