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iBlack Studies Database: A Convening

Convening Contributors' Pictures and Bios

Knowledge and understandings about the field cannot be lim­ited to the words of those who make significant con­tri­bu­tions. It is important to have an understanding of the author of those words for it is in that context we better perceive their mean­ing. These brief biographies are offered in the spirit of fos­ter­ing deeper un­der­standings. Readers are encouraged to browse the in­ter­net for ad­ditional information on these and other im­portant schol­ars in the field. In addition, most of the contributors to the digital installation are liv­ing legacies; therefore, in the spirit of visual anthropology it is important for us to vis­u­al­ly iden­tify the individuals who have helped to build the field. Tra­di­tional­ly, publications have simply pre­sen­ted brief bios of con­trib­utors, here we go one step further, including their pic­tures, with the hopes that visual recognition of these scholars will increase con­ver­sations that reach across ide­o­log­i­cal, the­o­ret­i­cal, method­o­log­ical, and generational borders. The ability to put a face to the name is empowering.

(In this section as in other sections of the database, contributors are iden­ti­fied by their in­sti­tu­tions as of the 2006 proceed­ings, which may dif­fer­ from this 2018 publication date.)

Abdul Alkalimat is Professor of Library and Infor­ma­tion Sciences and African American Studies at the Uni­versity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He moder­ates the largest African-American Studies dis­cussion list H-Afro-Am and crea­ted and edits Malcolm X: A Research Site as well as eBlack Stud­ies. He is a mem­ber of the editorial boards of In­for­­ma­tion, Com­­mu­nication and Society; and The Black Scholar.

Molefi Kete Asante is Professor at Temple University where he found the first doctoral program in African American Studies. Asante has published 71 books, in­clud­ing four books on the theory of Afrocentricity. Among the most recent works are Maulana Karenga: An Intellectual Portrait (Polity Press), An Afrocentric Man­i­festo (Polity Press), and The History of Africa(Rout­ledge). Along with his colleague, Ama Mazama, Pro­fes­sor Asante is a leading consultant for infusing African and African Amer­i­can con­tent in public schools. 

Ronald W. Bailey holds a Ph.D. in Black Studies from Stanford University, the first such degree awarded in 1979. He was the Director of the Afro-American Stud­ies Program at the University of Missis­sippi for six years, chaired the Department of African-American Stud­ies for eight years at Northeastern University, and serv­ed as Vice President for Academic Affairs at South Carolina State University and Knoxville Col­lege. His ar­ti­cles appeared in the Journal of Negro EducationAmerican His­tory: A Bib­li­o­graph­ic ReviewAgricultural HistoryReview of Black Political Econ­omyBlack Scholar, and Social Science History, and numerous an­thol­o­gies. 

Lee D. Baker, Associate Professor of Cultural An­thro­pol­ogy and African and African American Studies, is Dean of Academic Affairs of Trinity College at Duke Uni­versity. Baker earned his B.S. in anthro­pol­o­gy from Portland State University and completed his doc­torate in anthropology at Temple University. He is author of From Savage to Negro: Anthropology and the Con­struction of Race, 1896–1954, and editor of Life in America: Identity and Everyday Experience. He has also written numerous articles and com­men­taries that range from socio-linguistics to Afrocentricity.

Alison R. Bernstein (1947--2016), The Ford Foundation’s Vice Presi­dent for the Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom Pro­gram, authored three books, American In­di­ans and World War II: Towards a New Era in Indian Af­fairs (Uni­versity of Oklahoma Press, 1991; paperback, 1999); with Virginia B. Smith, The Im­per­so­nal Campus (Jossey-Bass, 1979); and, with Jack­lyn Cock, Melting Pots and Rain­bow Nations: Conversations about Difference in the Unit­ed States and South Africa (University of Illinois Press, 2002).

Carole Boyce Davies is an African Diaspora Studies schol­ar who is Professor of Africana Studies and Eng­lish at Florida International University. She is author of Left of Karl Marx. The Political Life of Black Com­mu­nist Claudia Jones(2008) and Black Women, Writing and Identity: Mi­gra­tions of the Subject, (1994) and has edited the fol­low­ing:Ngambika. Studies of Women in African Literature(1986); Out of the Kumbla: Caribbean Women and Literature(1990); and the two-volume Moving Beyond Boundaries(1995): International Di­men­sions of Black Women’s Writing (volume 1), and Black Women’s Di­as­po­ras(vol­ume 2). She is co-editor with Ali Mazrui and Isidore Okpewho of The Af­ri­can Diaspora: African Origins and New World Identities(1999) and De­col­o­nizing the Academy: African Diaspora Studies(2003), and general editor of the three-volume set,The Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora (Ox­ford: ABC-CLIO, 2008).

Josephine Boyd Bradley (1940--2015) serves as chair of the Depart­ment of African-American Studies/Africana Wo­men’s Studies at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. She holds a M.S.W. from Michigan State University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Emory Uni­ver­sity in Amer­ican Stud­ies. She was honored by the City of Greens­boro, North Carolina for being the first African-Ameri­can to desegregate and graduate from the city’s pre­domi­nate­ly white high school.

Mónica Carrillo is a feminist, a scholar, a poet, and the director of lundu, the Center for Afro-Peruvian Stud­ies and Advancement in Lima, Peru. lundu is an or­ga­ni­za­tion of Afro-Peruvian youth who work to promote rec­og­nition and respect for Peru’s African-descendant pop­u­la­tion and to combat racism and sexism in Pe­ru­vi­an society. Mónica is also a jour­nal­ist with expertise in In­ter­national Human Rights Law and African and Mi­nor­i­ty Rights.

Kimberle Crenshaw is a Professor of Law at UCLA and at Columbia Law School receiving her J.D. from Har­vard. Writing in the area of Civil Rights, Black feminist legal theory, and race, racism and the law, her articles have appeared in the Harvard Law ReviewNational Black Law JournalStanford Law Reviewand Southern Cal­i­for­nia Law Review. A founding co­ord­i­na­tor of the Crit­i­cal Race Theory Workshop, she is the co-editor of Cri­ti­cal Race Theory: Key Documents That Shaped the Movement.

Sylvia Cyrus is the Executive Director of the Associ­a­tion for the Study for African American Life and His­tory. She has a background in business, sales, and marketing, and served as the assistant chief fi­nan­cial officer for the Westfield New Jersey Public Schools. Un­der her direction the Association has sought and ob­tained major grants from Farmers Insurance (2005) and Wachovia (2005).

James de Jongh, Professor of English at The City Col­lege and the CUNY Graduate Center, is a play­wright and novelist as well as a scholar. de Jongh’s pub­li­ca­tions include: “Rudolph Fisher” and “Derek Wal­cott” in The Encyclopedia of African American Culture and His­tory: The Black Experience in the Americas, (Macmillan, 2006) and Vicious Modernism: Black Harlem and the Lit­e­rary Imagination (Cambridge University Press) selected by Choice mag­a­zine for “African and African American Studies, Out­stand­ing Pub­li­ca­tions, 1990–1996.”

Kevin Gaines is director of the Center for Afro­Amer­­ican and African Studies and professor of his­tory at the University of Michigan. He is author of Uplifting the Race: Black Leadership, Politics and Culture during the Twentieth Century (1996), which received the John Hope Franklin Book Prize of the American Studies As­so­ci­ation. His most recent book, American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates and the Civil Rights Era,pub­lished by the University of North Carolina Press, was named a 2006 Choice Outstanding Academic Title. He is currently president of the Amer­­ican Studies Association.

Edmund T. Gordon is the Chair of the Department of Af­ri­can and African Diaspora Studies and Associate Pro­fessor in Anthropology of the African Diaspora at the University of Texas at Austin. His teaching and re­search interests include: Culture and power in the Af­ri­can Diaspora, gender studies (particularly Black males), critical race theory, and the racial economy of space and resources. His publications includeDisparate Di­as­po­ras: Identity and Politics in an African-Nicaraguan Community(Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas Press, 1998).

Beverly Guy Sheftall is founding director of the Wo­men’s Research andResource Center and the Anna Ju­lia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at SpelmanCol­lege. She published the first anthology on Black wo­men’s literature, Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Women in Literature(Doubleday,1979), co-edited with Roseann P. Bell and Bettye Parker Smith. Other pub­li­ca­tions include: Daughters of Sorrow: Attitudes Toward BlackWomen, 1880–1920(Carlson, 1991), GenderTalk: The Struggle for Equal­ity in African American Communities(Random House, 2003) with John­net­ta Cole, I Am Your Sister: Selected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde, co­edited with Rudolph P. Byrd and Johnnetta B. Cole (Oxford Uni­ver­sity Press, 2009); Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studies, co-edit­ed with Stanlie James and Frances Smith Foster (Feminist Press, 2009); and Who Should Be First?: Feminists Speak Out on the 2008 Presidential Cam­paign(SUNYPress, 2010).

Charles P. Henry is professor of African American Stud­ies at the University of California atBerkeley. In 1994, President Clinton appointed him to the National Council on the Humanities for a six-yearterm. Former president of the National Council for Black Studies, Henry is the author/editor of seven booksand more than 80 articles and reviews on Black politics, public policy, and human rights.

Austin Jackson is Assistant Professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. Austin received his Ph.D. in African Amer­i­can and African Studies at Michigan State Uni­ver­sity. His research and teaching interests include writing and rhetoric, cultural studies, and critical social the­o­ry. Austin serves as Co-Director of the “My Brother’s Keeper” program for at-risk Black males, and he is co-author of several published articles exploring the links between the teaching of rhetoric and writing with popular struggles for racial, social, and economic justice. His most recent article, “We Real Cool: Toward a Theory of Black Masculine Literacies” (with David Kirkland), appears in Reading Research Quarterly(2009).

Stanlie M. Jamesformer chair of the Afro-American Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is now the Director of the African and Af­ri­can American Studies Program in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. James is a co-editor of Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studieswith Frances Smith Foster and Beverly Guy-Sheftall for Feminist Press. She edited Theorizing Black Feminisms: The Visionary Pragmatism of Black Womenwith Abena P.A. Busia (London & New York: Routledge, 1993) and co-edited Genital Cutting and Trans­national Sisterhood: Disputing U.S. Polemics(University of Illinois, 2002), which received a Susan Koppelman Award in 2003.

Charles E. Jones is founding chair of the Depart­ment of African American Studies at Georgia State Uni­ver­si­ty and President of the National Council for Black Stud­ies. He edited Black Panther Party R­econ­sid­er­ed(Black Classic Press, 1998) and co-authored “Re­turn to the Source: the Role of Service-Learning in Re­­cap­tur­ing the Empowerment Mission of African-Amer­i­can Studies” in The Black Scholar(Summer 2005). He is the re­cip­i­ent of the NCBS Mary McLeod Bethune and Carter G. Wood­son Award (2005).

Source: Hugh Smysner/Brown Archives

Rhett S. Jones (1940–2008), Professor of History and Africana Studies in Brown University, most recent published work focused on Black/Native American relations and included Mulattos, Freejacks, Cape Verdeans, Black Seminoles, and Others(2003), Race, Ideas about Race, and the Formation of Zambo Societies(2004), and Orphans of the Americas: Why the Existence of Zam­bo Societies has been Denied(2005). Before his passing Dr. Jones was work­ing on the role slaves played in the creation of race in the New World. Note: Dr. Jones was ill at the time of the convening and was unable to attend. Photo obtained from the online November/December 2008 issue of the Brown Alumni Magazine.

Maulana Karenga is professor of Africana Studies at Cal­ifornia State University, Long BeachAn activist-scholar, he is the chair of the Organization Us and the National Association of Kawaida Organizations, and executive director of the Kawaida Institute of Pan-Af­ri­can Studies. He is the creator of the pan-African cul­tu­ral holiday Kwanzaa and author of numerous scholarly articles and books, including: Introduction to Black Studies; Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Cul­ture; Kawaida: A Com­mu­ni­tar­i­an African Philos­o­phy; Odu Ifa: The Eth­i­cal Teachings; Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt and Kawaida and Questions of Life and Struggle. His fields of teaching and research are: Black/Africana Studies theory and history, Africana philosophy; ancient Egyptian (Maatian) ethics; ancient Yo­ruba (Ifa) ethics; African American intellectual history; ethnic re­la­tions; and the socio-ethical thought of Malcolm X.

Terry Kershaw (1952-2017), editor of the International Jour­nal for Africana Studiesand the Director of Af­ri­ca­na Stud­ies and the Race and Social Policy Research Cen­ter at Virginia Tech University, mainly focused on the operationalization and imple­men­ta­tion of schol­ar-ac­ti­vism. Accepted a position at the University of Cin­­ci­n­nati to be­come the head of Af­rican and Af­ri­can American Stud­ies.

Summer L. (Henry) Melay is the Executive Director of the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS). In this capacity, she has been instrumental in ensuring the effectiveness, quality, and success of the NCBS national conferences. She finds time to work with her church and civic community. In 2002, she moderated an At­lan­ta-based youth summit at the National Con­vention for the Prevention of Crime in the Black Community spon­sored by the Office of the Attorney General in Florida. She worked with the Wo­men against Domestic Violence unit in Decatur, GA. In 2004, she work­ed closely with the organizers of the National African American Relationships Institute (NAARI) conference. She has a background in Psy­chol­ogy and Sociology. Ms. Melay received a certification in Mark­et­ing from Tulane University School of Business.

Manning Marable (1950—2011)Professor of Public Affairs, Po­lit­i­cal Science, History, and African-American Studies and founding director of the Institute for Research in Afri­can-American Studies at Columbia University., has written almost 200 articles in academic journals and edited volumes and written or edited 21 books and scholarly anthologies. His books Malcolm X: A Life of Re­in­vention(New York: Viking, 2009). As a na­tion­al leader in the development of web-based, educational resources on the African American experience, Marable has directed the pro­duc­tion of two multimedia courses; a version of Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folkand a massive multimedia version of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Professor Marable lectured annually in Sing Sing Prison, Ossining, New York, in a master’s degree program for prisoners.

Irma McClaurin is an activist, administrator, teacher and writer with a commitment to the eradication of social inequality for over 30 years. She funded “Conversations…” in her position in the Program Of­fice in Education and Scholarship at the Ford Foun­da­tion. From 1999-2004, McClaurin was As­so­ci­ate Pro­fessor of An­thro­pology at the University of Flor­i­da, directing the Zora Neale Hurs­ton Diaspora Studies Research pro­ject. After serving as Deputy Pro­vost at Fisk University from 2002–2004, McClaurin became the first Mott Dis­tin­guished Professor of Women’s Studies and Founding Director of Af­ri­cana Women’s Studies at Bennett College for Women in 2004. For seven years (1997–2004), Mc­Claurin was editor of Transforming Anthropol­ogy. She is the author of Women of Be­lize, three books of poetry, and editor of Black Feminist An­thro­pol­o­gy. Her poems have appeared in over 16 mag­a­zines and anthologies.

Claudia Mitchell-Kernanan anthropologist currently serving as Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division at the University of Cal­i­for­nia Los Angeles, is widely known for her clas­sic so­cio­linguistic studies of African Americans, which con­tinues to be widely cited. Her most recent book, The De­cline in Marriage among African Americans, was co-ed­i­ted with M. Belinda Tucker (1995). Presi­dent Clin­ton ap­pointed her to the six-year term on the National Sci­ence Board (1994–2000).

Nathaniel Norment, Jr. is chair and associate pro­fes­sor of African American Studies at Temple Uni­ver­sity, where he teaches undergraduate and grad­u­ate courses in African American Studies and Af­ri­can Amer­ican lit­e­ra­ture and culture. He is the di­rec­tor of The Center for African American Research and Public Policy (at Tem­ple) whose research focus­es on four areas af­fect­ing African Americans: criminal justice, eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment, education, and health. He is the editor of The African Amer­ican Stud­ies Reader (Carolina Academic Press, 2001, 2nd Edition 2007); Read­ings in African American Language: Aspects, Features and Per­spec­tives-Volume 1 (2003)and Volume 2 (2005) Peter Lang Pub­lish­ing; An In­tro­duction to Af­ri­can American Studies: The Discipline and its Di­men­sions (Ca­ro­li­na Academic Press, forthcoming 2010); The Addison Gayle, Jr. Read­er, (University of Il­li­nois Press, 2009); and has published in the College Lan­guage Association Jour­nal, the Journal of Basic Writing, the Journal of Chinese Language Teachers As­so­ciation, the Journal of Black Studies, and the Language Quarterly.

Janice Petrovich served as Director of Education, Sex­u­al­ity, and Religion at the Ford Foundation, over­seeing the Foundation’s global work in the fields of education and scholarship; sexuality and repro­duc­tive health; and religion, society and culture in its thir­teen offices around the world. Her numerous pub­lications include the book Bringing Equity Back (Teachers College Press, 2005) with Amy Stuart Wells. She has served as direc­tor of other national organizations and on various commissions and Boards of Directors of institutions such as: the White House Com­mis­sion on Latino Educational Excellence at the invitation of President Wil­liam (Bill) Clin­ton; Hispanics in Philanthropy; In­de­pend­ent Sector; and Mount Holyoke College.

Daryl Michael Scott is a Professor of History at How­ard University and Vice President for Programs for the Association for the Study of African Amer­icanLife and History (asalh) and serves on the Nomi­nat­ing Com­mittee of the Organization of American His­tor­i­ans (oah). In 2005, he founded The asalhPress and The Wood­son Review. His book, Contempt and Pity, won the oah’s James Rawley Prize in 1998. In 2008, he edited Car­ter G. Woodson’s Appeal, which he discovered in 2005. He is currently work­ing on a history of White nationalism in the American South. Along with Marilyn Thomas-Houston, he is a founding co-editor of Fire!!!: A Mul­ti­media Journal of Black Studies, which is scheduled for a February, 2011 launch.

James Stewart, emeritus Professor of Labor Studies and Industrial Organization at Penn State, served two terms as President of the National Council for Black Studies (1997–2001) and is currently the President of the Asso­ci­ation for the Study of African American Life and His­tory. In addition to his 2004 book, Flight In Search of Vision, his other monographs, include: Black Families: Interdisciplinary Perspectives;The Housing Status of Black AmericansResearch on The African-American Fam­i­ly: A Holistic Perspective; and Blacks in Rural America. He is also co-author with Tal­madge Anderson of the second edition of Introduction to African Amer­i­can Studies.

Esther Terryone of the founding faculty of the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies Uni­ver­si­ty of Massachusetts at Amherst, was tapped to serve as its Chair in 1988 — a position she held until 2009. Un­der her leadership, the depart­ment inaugu­rated a Ph.D.program in 1996. Her adminis­tra­tive re­spon­si­bil­i­ties have also been as As­soci­ate Pro­vost for Faculty Re­la­tions in 1998, Associate Director of the Institute for Ad­vanced Study in the Humanities, and Associate Chan­cel­lor.

James Turner, professor of African and African Amer­i­­can Studies at Cornell University, is the found­er and first Director of the Africana Studies and Re­search Center — one of the first departments in the field. He is an original member of the editor­i­al board and contributing editor of The Black ScholarThe Western Journal of Black StudiesJournal of African American His­tory, and the Journal of Black Studies. In addition to his ad­vis­o­ry contributions to development of Black Studies, Turner worked as an advisor to the Blackside, Inc. series “Eyes on the Prize.”

Dorothy Randall Tsuruta is chair of Africana Studies at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and serves as ed­i­tor/advisor to the SFSU Black Studies Journal. Re­cent publications appeared in Gwendolyn Brooks’ Maud Martha: A Critical Collection (Third World Press, 2002);Concerns: A Publication of the Women’s Caucus of the Mod­ern Language Association (Spring 2002); and Sasongo: The Cameron Review of the Arts (June 2000). Her poetry has appeared in TheBlack ScholarThe Black Studies Journal, and Best of Show (De­troit Writers’ Guild, 2002) having placed among the winners in the Paul Lawrence Dunbar Poetry Contest.

Warren Whatley is professor of Economics and Af­ri­can and African-American Studies at the University of Mich­i­gan. He has published widely on the econom­ic history of Africans and African American, with arti­cles ap­pear­ing in the American Economic ReviewThe Quar­terly Journal of Ec­onomics, the Journal of Economic History and the Journal of Labor Economics. He has published two books, Black America (1989) and History Matters (2004). He has been an As­sociate Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan, an ed­itor at the Journal of Economic Historyand Explorations in Economic His­to­ry, and a member of the GRE Board of the Educational Testing Ser­vice. He is the founder of CEDit, Inc., a nonprofit cor­po­ra­tion that sup­ports local efforts to develop capital in poor communities.