Skip navigation
University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

W.E.B. Du Bois Department

Current Graduate Students

  2013 (go to an email address by clicking a name)
Nneka Dennie is from Leonardtown, MD.  She received her B.A. in Political Science from Williams College. She is interested in researching political theory, racial politics in the Caribbean, 19th century Black feminism, and global expressions of Black feminism. Nneka is on the history and politics track and is the recipient of a 2013-2014 diversity fellowship.

Theresa Dudek is from Windsor, Connecticut. She received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Hartford. Tess’s interests are primarily in 20th century African-American and Caribbean writing, the Black aesthetic, and the Black Arts Movement.  She is on the literature and culture track.

Carlyn Ferrari is from Rohnert Park, California. She received her B.A. in English from Pacific Union College and her M.A. in English from San Francisco State University. She is passionate about higher education and spent her professional career working with and teaching at-risk, underrepresented students.  Her research centers on representations of blackness and black figures and identifies the ways in which past racial dogmas have influenced our current understanding of race.  Carlyn is on the literature and culture track and is the recipient of a 2013-2014 university fellowship.

Crystal Westfield was raised outside of Phoenix, AZ. She earned her B.A. in African American Studies from Oberlin College.  After leaving Oberlin, Crystal taught 4th grade math and science at George H. Oliver Elementary School in Clarksdale, MS. An accomplished violinist, she taught violin to students as well. Crystal's research interests surround theories of racial identity/formation linked to miscegenation laws in the early 20th century.  She is on the history and politics track.

G. Xavier Orr has joined our terminal M.A. program and is from Hartselle, Alabama. He received his B.A. in American History from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Connecticut. He is interested in examining the ways in which the social climate that existed during the Reconstruction period, as reflected in policies, personal accounts, institutions, etc., supported racist ideologies that favored White over Black.  Gary is on the history and politics track.

  2012

Maria Ximena Abello Hurtado is from Cali, Columbia. She is a social worker who graduated from Universidad del Valle. As an active member of the Afro Colombian Group GAUV, she has participated as researcher in several projects related to the problems of Afro Colombian women and families. Her research has helped established complex linkages between family, gerontology and intercultural issues; effects of multiple forms of discrimination on Afro descended women in the case of access to public health care in Cali. 

Anthony Phillips is from Philadelphia, PA and received his M.A. degree in Black Religion in the African Diaspora from Yale Divinity School.  In 2010, he graduated as a Benjamin Elijah Mays Scholar with a B.A. in African American Studies and Philosophy from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.  Anthony is an alumni member of The Institute for Responsible Citizenship and is the proud Co-Founder of Youth Action, a Philadelphia based youth-led service non-profit operated by young African Americans.  Anthony has received a diversity fellowship for 2012-2013 and is on the history and politics track.

Jacinta R. Saffold is from Milwaukee, WI and received her B.A. in African American Studies and Educational Studies from Emory University and is a Mellon-Mays Fellow.  Jacinta is on the literature and culture track. 

 

Huan “Rita” Zhou is from Huanggang, China. She received her B.A. in English from Central China Normal University and worked as an English teacher for two years in a high school in the Sichuan Province.  Rita’s research interests focus on Afro-American women writers. She is on the literature and culture track.

Olivia Brown has joined our terminal M.A. program. She is from Windsor, CT.   She graduated from Temple University with a B.A. in African American Studies in addition to a minor in History. Her research interests include the history of African American women's activism, history of the Black Power Movement, Civil Rights Era history, and African Diaspora History.

Spencer Kuchle has joined our terminal M.A. program.  He is from Woodstock, CT.  He received his B.A. from Hampshire College in Africana Studies with an emphasis on "performing blackness" and concepts of racial malpractice.  Spencer’s research interests include hip hop and social justice, the Black Arts Movement, and Black feminism.  He has served as a member of a five-year interdisciplinary, inter-institutional research team to engage in participatory action planning around clean water solutions, sustainable agriculture, and entrepreneurship for women in Kenya's rural communities.  Spencer is on the history and politics track.

Justin McCarthy has joined our terminal M.A. program. He is from Lynn, MA and received his B.A. at UMass Amherst in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. Justin's research interests include the use of Hip-Hop as a social tool as well as the Nation of Islam's impact on African-American youth culture. He is also a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and is on the literature and culture track.

2011

Julia Bernier is from Manchester, Connecticut.  She received her B.F.A. in Art History from Pratt Institute, and an M.A. in History at City College of New York. Julia is on the history and politics track.

Peter Blackmer is from Marcellus, New York. He receive his B.A. in History and M.S. in Education both from Wagner College. Peter is on the history and politics track.

Rosa Clemente from the Bronx, New York.  She received her B.A. in Africana Studies from Albany State University and her M.A. in African/African American Studies from Cornell University.  She is on the history and politics track. 

Erin Judge is from Middlefield, Massachusetts.  Erin received her B.A. in Ethnic and Gender Studies from Westfield State College. Erin is on the history and politics track.

Trent Masiki is from Worcerster, Massachusetts. He received his B.S. in Computer Science at Southern University, and M.A. in English at Texas A & M University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Emerson College.  Trent is on the literature and culture track.

Xianzhi Meng is from Linyi, China.  Shirley received her B.A. in English from Weifang University and an M.A. in English from Sun Yat-sent University, and an M.A. in American Studies at Heidelberg University in Germany.  She is on the literature and culture track. 
Robert Williams finished his second year in our terminal M.A. program and has been admitted to the Ph.D. program in the Fall 2013. Bob was born and raised in the Pioneer Valley. He received his B.A. in Education/History from American International College and an M.A. in Medieval History from Saint Andrews University. He is interested in examining the ghettoization and marginalization of African American experiences in American Secondary School US History curricula and is on the history and politics track.
2010

Emahunn Campbell is from Washington, D.C.  He received his B.A. in English and B.S. in Political Science from the University of Virginia's College at Wise, and his M.A. in English from the University of Memphis. His research deals with the imagination and construction of the black criminal in Early America. Emahunn is on the literature and culture track.
Julia Charles is from Greensboro, North Carolina. She received her B.A. in English from Bennett College and an M.A. in English and African American Literature from North Carolina A&T State University. Julia has spent many years advocating for young adults in the foster care system across the country and is the author of Surviving the Storm: the Life of a Child in Foster Care. Julia is on the literature and culture track.
Kelli Morgan was born and raised on the Westside of Detroit. Her interests in African-American history and culture began when she was in high school, but did not fully flourish until she became a student of Wayne State University in 2000, and was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and a recipient of the Dudley Randall Endowed Scholarship from the Department of Africana Studies. She graduated cum laude with her B.A. degree in 2006.   Kelli is on the literature and culture track.
Agyei Tyehimba is from Harlem, NY. He received his B.A. in Sociology from Syracuse University and an M.A. from the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University. He and other educators founded KAPPA Middle School in the Bronx, NY, in 2000. In 2007, he co-authored Game Over: The Rise and Redemption of a Harlem Hustler, published by Simon & Schuster. Agyei’s research interests include black power, black nationalism, and black student activism in the 20th Century. He is on the history and politics track.
Fangfang Zhu is from China. She received her B.A. in English and an M.A. in British and American Literature from Central China Normal University. Barbara is on the literature and culture track and her research interests focus on 20th century Afro-American literature, as well as music and literature.

2009
Alex Michael Carter received his B.A. from Alabama State University and an M.A. from the University of Iowa. His academic interest is the Black Panther Party's international influence on social movements, specifically, with the Dalit Panthers of South Asia. Alex is a native son of Washington, D.C. He is on the history and politics track.
Crystal Donkor received her B.A. from New York University in English and Africana Studies, and her M.Ed. from CUNY Lehman in Middle and High School English Education. Crystal is on the literature and culture track and her research interests include multicultural education and reclaiming African-American women's voices through historical literature. She is from the Bronx, New York.
Johanna Ortner is an international student from Austria who started her undergraduate studies at the University of Vienna in the African Studies and American Studies for two years, before transferring to Rutgers University. She continued her undergraduate studies in African and African American Studies and graduated in May 2009. Johanna is on the history and politics track and her research interest is black women's history.

2008
Flávia Santos de Araújo is from the Northeast of Brazil. Having earned both her B.A. and M.A. in Literature at the Federal University of Paraiba (Brazil), she is interested in developing her doctorate research on the literary representations of Afro-descendant women in the American diaspora, focusing on the production by women writers of African descent in the region. Flavia is on the literature and culture track.
Savannah Carroll is a native of San Antonio, Texas. Her dissertation will focus on the intersection of race, gender, and nation for the black population in Mexico during the 20th and 21st centuries. She holds a B.A. from Arizona State University in Political Science and African American Studies.  Savannah is on the history and politics track.
Donald Geesling is from Denver, Colorado and holds a B.A. and M.A. in History from the University of Tulsa. His dissertation focuses on the life and cultural productions of poet, novelist, and so-called "Godfather of Rap," Gil Scott-Heron.  Don's research interests include the Black Power/Black Arts Movement, black cultural politics, jazz/blues studies, Pan-Africanism, labor history, black intellectual history, and Afro-American/Native American relations.  In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Geesling is a professional musician, having recorded and performed live on the Hammond B-3 and Fender bass for over two decades.  He has worked with and opened for acts including Brother Jack McDuff, A.C. Reed, Gil Scott-Heron, Jimmy Smith, Jay McShann, Rosie Ledet, Loretta Lynn, the Paladins, Leon Russell, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jerry Lee Lewis, Byron Berline, Jesse Aycock, Three Penny Upright, and the Red Dirt Rangers.  Don is on the history and politics track.
J. Anthony Guillory is from Texas. He received his B.A. in Theology from Texas Lutheran University. Anthony’s research interests include education history of African Americans in the South; class variation in southern African American communities; and the historical relationship between black athleticism and mainstream sport. He is on the history and politics track.
Cynara Robinson is from New Orleans, Louisanna. She received her B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in History from Howard University. Her research interests include looking at social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, inclusive of interests in the urban rebellions and those occurring on black college campuses. Cynara is on the history and politics track.

2007
Markeysha Davis is from Detroit, Michigan. Her research interests include urban poetry (modernist), black social and political thought, Pan-Africanist intellectual thought and literary movements, among others. Markeysha's dissertation is centered on the poetry of the Black Arts Movement and the concept of nation building through art and performance. She was the 2011 recipient of a Du Bois Library Fellowship. See In the Loop story. She is on the literature and culture track

2006
Vanessa Fabien is from Miami, Florida where she completed her B.A. in Afro-American Studies from the University of Florida.  Her research interests center around ecofeminism, environmental ethics and the impact of environmental degradation upon disadvantaged communities of color. She is specifically studying the Southern Tenant Farmers Union and the activism of black women within the union. Vanessa is on the history and politics track.
DeRoy Gordon received his B.A. in Political Science from Long Island University and an M.A. in Public Administration/Management from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in N.Y. His research interests are African American politics focusing on 19th Century African American political theory. DeRoy is on the history and politics track.

2005
H. Zahra Caldwell is from New York. She has a B.A. in both Black Studies and History from SUNY New Paltz, an M.A. in Black Politics from Howard University, and a M.A.T. from American University. Zahra is on the history and politics track and her research interests center around African American women and image in the forties and fifties as well as black cultural history. Zahra is a 2010-2012 Dissertation Fellow in the departments of Africana and Latino Studies and History at SUNY College at Oneonta (more).
Jason Hendrickson is from New York and graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in African and African American Studies. His research interests include the Harlem Renaissance, African American poetry, discourses of gender vis-à-vis constructions of masculinity/femininity, whiteness studies, and hip-hop studies. Jason is on the literature and culture track and his dissertation will examine how Black writers during the Harlem Renaissance conceptualize, integrate and/or marginalize Africa and as a referent for heritage and identity.

2003
Angelique Warner received her B.A. and M.A. in English from Kent State University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New Mexico State University. Angie is on the literature and culture track and the title of her dissertation is “Negotiating the Law: Black Women Writing Out The Abject.”
2001
Cristina Tondeur is from Chapel Hill, NC. She received her MA from Indiana University at Bloomington and is currently finishing her dissertation entitled, “We Are Tired of Your Games: A History of the Civil Rights Movement in Evansville, Indiana.” In addition to her dissertation research, Cristy also utilizes critical race theory in her other research, presentations, and community activism. She is presently on the faculty of American Public University. She is on the history and politics track.
Karla Zelaya received her B.A. in English from SUNY College at Cortland and an M.A. from the Du Bois Department. She is from the Bronx, NY. Her dissertation is entitled, “Remember ‘Tis A Start: Uncovering 19th-century African-American Literary Theory.” She teaches African-American Writing, 18th Century to 1940; Black Literature of the Caribbean; and Black Women in the Americas and the Caribbean, as a full-time instructor in the Center for Ethnic Studies at Borough of Manhattan Community College (more).  She is on the literature and culture track.

1998
Takao Yoshioka is from Okayama-Ken, Japan. He received his B.A. in English and Afro-American Studies from Coe College, M.A. in African American World Studies at the University of Iowa, and an M.A. in Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst. The title of Takao's disseration is, "'Between the World and Me': the Concept of the 'Marginal Man' in the Fiction of Richard Wright." He is on the literature and culture track.