Information for graduates of the Du Bois Department
If you were a graduate or undergraduate student in the UMass Amherst Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, please email Tricia Loveland to update your alumni profile in our Graduate Alumni Directory. Also we have created a Facebook page for alumni and current students to network (see below). Stay connected to UMass and support the Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies.
Olivia Brown received her M.A. in May, 2014 from our terminal Master's Program.
Vanessa Fabien, successfully defended her dissertation: "African American Environmental Ethics: Black Intellectual Perspectives, 1850-1965"
Donald Geesling, successfully defended his dissertation: "'Survival Kits on Wax': The Politics, Poetics, and Productions of Gil Scott-Heron, 1970-1978"
Allia Abdullah Matta, has accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of English at LaGuardia College CUNY
James Carroll, successfully defended his dissertation: "Composing the African Atlantic: Sun Ra, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and the Poetics of African Diasporic Composition"
David Swiderski, has accepted a position as a visiting professor at Wesleyan University this fall! He successfully defended his dissertation: "Approaches to Black Power: African American Grassroots Political Struggle in Cleveland, Ohio, 1960-1966"
Ernest Gibson, III, has accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of English at Rhodes College
McKinley Melton has accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of English at Gettysburg College
Jamal Watson, Senior Staff Writer, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.
Kabria Baumgartner, Assistant Professor of History, The College of Wooster
Jonathan Fenderson, Post-Doctoral Fellowship in African & African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis
Catherine Adams, Assistant Professor of English, Paine College
Jacqueline Jones, Assistant Professor of English, CUNY LaGuardia Community College
David Lucander, Assistant Professor of Pluralism and Diversity, SUNY Rockland Community College
Christopher Tinson, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, Hampshire College
Daniel McClure, Assistant Professor of African American History, Grand Valley State University
Alesia McFadden, Instructor, Prince George's Community College
Anthony Ratcliff, Assistant Professor of Pan-African Studies, California State University
Thomas Edge, Instructor of Ethnic Studies, Bowling Green State University
Marieta Joyner, Associate Lecturer of Politics and History, Curry College
Zebulon Miletsky, Assistant Professor, Africana Studies, Stony Brook University
Michael Forbes,College of Wooster
Lloren Foster, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, Western Kentucky University
Ousmane Power-Greene, Assistant Professor of History, Clark University
Rita Reynolds, Assistant Professor of History, Wagner College
Lindsey Swindall, Visiting Professor, Department of History, Sam Houston State University
W.S. Tkweme, Assistant Professor of Pan-African Studies, University of Louisville
Paul Udofia,Adjunct Instructor, Roxbury Community College.
Angelica Whitmal, Sophomore and Junior Class Dean, Mount Holyoke College
Sandra Duvivier, Assistant Professor of English, Bronx Community College and Adjunct at Queens College
David Goldberg, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, Wayne State University
Andrew Rosa, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, Western Kentucky University
Tanya Mears, Assistant Professor of History and Politics at Worcester State College
Trimiko Melancon, Assistant Professor of English, Loyola University
Shawn Alexander, Assistant Professor of African & African American Studies and interim director of the Langston Hughes Center, University of Kansas
Brandon Hutchinson, Associate Professor of English, Southern Connecticut State University
Jennifer Jensen-Wallach, Assistant Professor of History, University of North Texas
Stephanie Evans,Chair, History Department and Associate Professor of African American and Africana Women's Studies at Clark Atlanta University
Carolyn Powell, Administrator, New York City Public School System
Francis Njubi Nesbitt, Associate Professor of Africana Studies at San Diego State University
Christopher Lehman, Professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies, St. Cloud State University
Dissertation Defenses of 2014
Vanessa Fabien successfully defended her dissertation, "African American Environmental Ethics: Black Intellectual Perspectives, 1850-1965". Professor James Smethurst chaired the committee.
Donald Geesling succesfully defended his dissertation, "'Survival Kits on Wax': The Politics, Poetics, and Productions of Gil Scott-Heron, 1970-2978". Professor Ernest Allen chaired the committee.
Dissertation Defenses of 2013
James Carroll successfully defended his dissertation,"Composing the African Atlantic: Sun Ra, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and the Poetics of African Diasporic Composition" on January 25, 2013. Professor Steven Tracy chaired the committee.
David Swiderski successfully defended his dissertation, "Approaches to Black Power: African American Grassroots Political Struggle in Cleveland, Ohio, 1960-1966". Professor John H. Bracey chaired the committee.
Dissertation Defenses of 2012
Allia Matta successfully defended her dissertation, "Uncovering the Covered Word and Image:
Framing a Blackwoman's Diasporan Stage-Space". Professor James Smethurst chaired the committee.
Ernest Gibson, III successfully defended his dissertation, "In Search of the Fraternal: Salvific Manhood and Male Intimacy in the Novels of James Baldwin" . Professor James Smethurst chaired the committee.
McKinley Melton successfully defended his dissertation, "Pen Stroking the Soul of a People: Spiritual Foundations of Black Diasporan Literature". Emeritus Professor, Michael Thelwell chaired the committee.
Jamal Watson successfully defended his dissertation, “Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press: Black Journalism and Its Advocacy Role from 1954-1991”. Professor John Bracey chaired the committee.
The Esther M. Terry Award: Distinguished Dissertations in Afro-American Studies
Ernest Gibson, Ph.D. 2012
Dissertation Title: "In Search of the Fraternal: Salvific Manhood and Male Intimacy in the Fiction of James Baldwin"
Chair: James Smethurst
James Carroll, Ph.D. 2013
Dissertation Title: "Composing the African Atlantic: Sun Ra, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and the Poetics of African Diasporic Composition"
Chair: Steven Tracy
Christopher Tinson, Ph.D. 2010
Dissertation Title: "The Fight for Freedom Must Be Fought on all Fronts: Liberator Magazine and Black Radicalism, 1960-1971"
Chair: Ernest Allen, Jr.
Kabria Baumgartner, Ph.D. 2011
Dissertation Title: "Intellect, Liberty, Life: Women's Activism and the Politics of Black Education in Antebellum America"
Chair: Manisha Sinha
Jonathan Fenderson, Ph.D. 2011
Dissertation Title: "'Journey Toward a Black Aesthetic': Hoyt Fuller, the Black Arts Movement and the Black Intellectual Community"
Chair: James Smethurst
Radwa Ashour, the Egyptian writer and scholar born in Cairo, Egypt in 1946, is the department's first Ph.D. graduate. She earned her degree in African American Literature at the University of Massachusetts in 1975 (working jointly in the English & the Du Bois Department). In 1973, a joyfully-cultivated friendship with Shirley Graham Du Bois, world traveler, litterateur, and widow of W.E.B., led Ashour to UMass. Madame Du Bois, as the école-educated Ashour still calls her late liaison to Amherst, was living in Cairo at the time, and pointed the young Egyptian toward the then-infant Afro-American Studies department here. "She said, 'the best department in the United States is at UMass,' says Ashour, remembering how Du Bois returned from a visit to Massachusetts with an application and a scholarship for her protegé. Ashour has published 7 novels, an autobiographical work, 2 collections of short stories and 5 criticism books. Part I of her Granada Trilogy won the Cairo International Book Fair “1994 Book of the Year Award”; the Trilogy won the First Prize of the First Arab Woman Book Fair (Cairo, Nov. 1995). She has co-edited a major 4-volume work on Arab women writers (2004); The English translation: Arab Women Writings: A Critical Reference Guide: 1873-1999 (AUC Press 2008). In 2007 Ashour was awarded the Constantine Cavafy Prize for Literature. She is currently professor of English and Comparative Literature, Ain Shams University, Cairo.
From our first class who as sophomores served on the committee that launched the Du Bois Department:
Carlton Brown from the class of 1971 who serves today as the President of Clark-Atlanta University
Robin M. Chandler who is today a tenured professor at Northeastern University in Boston
Other Alums in the Spotlight:
Akosua Boateng, "Bringing Change to Ghana: Alumna Shannan Magee opens a school for girls," founder of the The Youth Institute of Science & Technology, an international school based in Agogo, Ghana; class of '96, '97G.
Sonia Gloss, program assistant for SCOPE, Strengthening Community Partnership and Empowerment. which was established in 1999 to address HIV and AIDS and other health challenges in Kenya; class of 2009.
Make a Gift
The W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies is a vibrant center of intellectual productivity and interdisciplinary teaching and research. But because of the statewide and nationwide budget crisis, we are threatened with severe losses in state funding. Please help us preserve our capacity to continue providing our students with excellent education. Your contributions will help us offer scholarships and social events, and host visits by internationally renowned scholars. If you have made contributions to the Department in the past, thank you again. For those who have not, please contribute now to help the Du Bois Department continue its tradition of excellence during this period of economic crisis. Click to visit the Make a Gift page.