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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

W.E.B. Du Bois Department

Department News

Professor Steven C. Tracy of Afro-American Studies recently returned from China, where he delivered a keynote address, "The French Revolution, King Louis Armstrong, and the Futuristic Jungleism of Jazz,"  at the 2nd International Symposium on Ethnic Literature at Central China Normal University. The symposium was attended by scholars from America, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, and Korea. While in Wuhan, Tracy offered a series of three lectures on The Black Chicago Renaissance, Sterling Brown, and August Wilson to students at two different Wuhan universities.

Tracy was also honored on the occasion of the end of his 2011-2014 tenure as Chu Tian Scholar "only the 10th in the 111 year history of the University" with an "Honorary Credential" marking his "outstanding service." In addition, Tracy was awarded a "Letter of Appointment" honoring him as "Guest Professor of Central China Normal University" from 2015 to 2017 in order to continue in an official capacity his teaching, lecturing, and performance work.

While at the conference, Professor Lianggong Luo of the School of Foreign Languages unveiled the cover for the upcoming Chinese translation of Steve's first published book, Langston Hughes and the Blues, originally published in 1988 by the University of Illinois Press. The translation is now due out in the Spring of 2015, coinciding with the release of his newest monograph, Hot Music, Ragmentation, and the Bluing of American Literature from the University of Alabama Press.

Now in the 8th year of his visits to China, Steve was featured on Wuhan Television Channel 6, Wuhan's major television station. Three television hosts conducted two separate interviews, one on location at the university and one in the television station studios. The interviews discussed his personal, academic, and musical background and how they have operated separately and dovetailed in his career. Steve performed "John Henry," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," and "Blues in A" during the interviews, and was also videoed at the conference talking to participants as well.

See Professor Steven Tracy's television interview in Wuhan, China on his facebook page.


James Carroll (Ph.D. 2013) joins UWW faculty at UMass Amherst.


David Lucander (Ph.D. 2010) will be delivering the third address in the David Beisel History Lecture Series. This annual event features speakers from RCC's History Department discussing current trends in historiography.

“Fighting for a Double Victory in World War II: Race Relations on the American Homefront"

December 4, 11:00-12:15

Technology Building, Ellipse


Graduate Student News

Kelli Morgan, Ph.D. candidate, is the second Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in African American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art.  She will begin her position in late May.  Kelli's interests include nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century African American Art, particularly representations of the Black female body in various contexts.  Kelli also received the Ford Foundation Fellowship for 2014-2015. She is the first one in our department to be awarded the fellowship.  Thank you to Kelli for her thoughts on African American women's bodies in art, and their opportunities in the art world through a biography of renowned artists Elizabeth Catlett.  This is the fifth in a series that pays tribute to Black History Month. Read along with us...http://umasshistory.wordpress.com/.

Two UMass AfroAm affiliates win fellowships in the newly inaugurated Mellon Program in  African American History at the Library Company, Philadelphia!

Kabria Baumgartner, UMass Afro Am alumnus and Assistant Professor of  History at the College of Wooster, Ohio won the Mellon Post Doctoral  Fellowship in African American History.

Doctoral student Emahunn Raheem Ali Campbell won the Mellon  Dissertation Fellowship in African American History.

Nadia Alahmed's, Ph.D. candidate, published an article, "Not In Our Name: Against U.S. Aid to the Massacre in Gaza".

Flávia Santos de Araújo’s article “Righting/Writing the Black Female Body in Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Literature” has been published in the bilingual critical anthology Cuerpo, educación y liderazgo político: una mirada desde el género y los estudios feministas / Bodies, education and political leadership: a gender and feminist perspective (FLACSO, 2014), edited by Sara Poggio y María Amelia Viteri.  Araújo analyzes how the black female body is conceived in the literary works of four contemporary Afro-Brazilian poets: Cristiane Sobral, Conceição Evaristo, Esmeralda Ribeiro and Elisa Lucinda. She argues that these writers defy stereotypical images of black women that have been historically constructed and are part of Brazilian social imaginaries. The volume is available in a PDF version (click here) and individual articles can be downloaded on the editor’s website.

Alex Carter, Ph.D. candidate, celebrated at the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 50th anniversary.

Rosa Clemente, Ph.D. candidate, has been appointed as the first Distinguished Visiting Lecturer for 2014-2015 in the Departments of Pan-African Studies and Latin American Studies at California State University-Los Angeles. Rosa was the youngest Vice-Presidential candidate in U.S. history when she ran with Green Party Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney on the first ever women-of-color ticket in 2008. She is also the visionary who co-founded the National Hip Hop Political Convention and a world-renowned revolutionary Hip Hop organizer. This fall she will be teaching Hip Hop as Political Expression, Race, Activism and Emotions and Race in the Americas (focus on Afro-Latino identity). More information can be found at www.rosaclemente.net.

Johanna Ortner, Ph.D. candidate, won the Graduate School's Dissertation Research Grant for 2014-15.


The 2014 Constance Rourke Prize

Chair: Franny Nudelman, Carleton University

Rick Baldoz, Oberlin College

Kathleen Donegan, University of California, Berkeley

 

The Constance Rourke Prize has been awarded annually since 1987 for the best article published in American Quarterly.  The winner of this year’s prize is Janet M. Davis, "Cockfight Nationalism: Bloodsport and the Moral Politics of American Empire and Nation Building," Volume 65, Number 3, September 2013.

 

Finalist mention goes to Britt Rusert, “Delany’s Comet: Fugitive Science and the Speculative Imaginary of Emancipation,” Volume 65, Number 4, December 2013.


Professor Manisha Sinha was invited to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014. See link: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-march-11-2014/exclusive---the-weakest-lincoln?xrs=playershare_fb

Also, Professor Manisha Sinha's latest on "12 Years a Slave" in the NY Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/untold-history-beneath-12-years-article-1.1706946


See photos from the Footprints of Peace celebration with John Bracey and Sonia Sanchez, et al.


Furious Flower

Participants: Professors John Bracey and James Smethurst and Sonia Sanchez

September 24-27, 2014

 

 

In Loving Memory of Ruby Dee Davis

October 27, 1922-June 11, 2014

Celebrate Sonia!

The Official New York City

80th Birthday Party for Sonia Sanchez

Friday, September 19, 2014


 

 

 

SOS—Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader

A major anthology of readings from the Black Arts Movement. Edited by John H. Bracey Jr., Sonia Sanchez, and James Smethurst

 


*See facebook link for photos of “Black Women and the Arts in the 21st Century”event featuring Toni Morrison, Bernice Johnson Reagon and Sonia Sanchez.

View video here (click on flyer)

March 10th, 2014 7:00 -9:30 p.m., Mullins Center, UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. – An event featuring three prominent African-American artists — Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison, singer and social activist Bernice Johnson Reagon and poet and playwright Sonia Sanchez.

 

 


Dr. Christopher Lehman (Ph.D. 2002) quoted in NY Times!


Dr. David Lucander (Ph.D. 2010) received tenure and was promoted to Assistant Professor at Rockland Community College in the Pluralism and Diversity Department. Look for his upcoming book, Winning the War for Democracy: The March on Washington Movement, 1941-1946 this fall on University of Illinois Press.


Professor John Bracey, Chair, Afro-American Studies

WPFW Interview on Wednesday, May 21st at 11 a.m.

Click here to listen!

Visit their website at www.wpfwfm.org.


Tracy Lectures, Performs at Hong Kong Conference

Professor Steve Tracy of Afro-American studies was an invited speaker and performer at the 10th anniversary of the America Studies Network conference (USCET-ASN) in China: Transnational Currents of U.S.-China Relations, held Nov. 15-17 at the University of Hong Kong, Centennial Campus. Tracy delivered a paper titled “Play It Like You Did Back to George Street,” dealing with the aesthetic relationship between literature and music, and performed solo on harmonica and vocals as the climax of the conference. See Inside UMass for more...

See video from conference.


Professor Sinha quoted in "The slaves who sued for freedom" in the Boston Globe.


Renowned Poet Sonia Sanchez--Tribute to John Bracey at the ASALH Conference in Jacksonville, Florida.


National Council for Black Studies Presidential Award Given to Shabazz

Amilcar Shabazz, professor of Afro-American Studies and faculty advisor to the chancellor for diversity and excellence, has received the National Council for Black Studies’ Presidential Award, conferred at its 38th annual conference on March 8 in Miami. Click here for details.


W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies recognized by the AHA in the January 2013 issue of Diverse Issues in Higher Education (See page 2 and 5).


See Professor Bracey's interview on WWLP re 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington!


See the Liberation Film Series 2012-2013 Retrospective featuring Professors Bracey and Strickland at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.  

Professors John Bracey and Chris Tinson are quoted in an article remembering Amiri Baraka: see

Diverse Issues in Higher Education.


This year's recipient of the Darwin T. Turner Award for the best essay representing any period in African American or pan-African literature and culture is: Robin Bernstein, "Utopian Movements: Nikki Giovanni and the Convocation following the Virginia Tech Massacre"
Receiving Honorable Mention: Britt Rusert, "The Science of Freedom: Counterarchives of Racial Science on the Antebellum Stage"

Tracy Lectures, Performs at Hong Kong Conference

November 19, 2013

Professor Steve Tracy of Afro-American studies was an invited speaker and performer at the 10th anniversary of the America Studies Network conference (USCET-ASN) in China: Transnational Currents of U.S.-China Relations, held Nov. 15-17 at the University of Hong Kong, Centennial Campus. Tracy delivered a paper titled “Play It Like You Did Back to George Street,” dealing with the aesthetic relationship between literature and music, and performed solo on harmonica and vocals as the climax of the conference. See Inside UMass for more..see video from conference.


Renowned Poet Sonia Sanchez--Tribute to John Bracey at the ASALH Conference in Jacksonville, Florida.


On January 19th, 2013 Archie Shepp, Professor Emeritus, will be returning to Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont to receive the "Goddard Award for Excellence".  The award has been granted only three times in the history of the college. Professor Shepp received his undergraduate degree from Goddard in 1959. In conjunction with the award, Professor Shepp will be performing  on the Goddard campus at 8:00pm at the Haybarn Theatre accompanied by musicians Tom McClung, Ronnie Burrage and Nicolas Letman Burtinovic.   Archie Shepp was a member of the Du Bois Department for over thirty years. Well done Professor Shepp.  See full press release here.


Emeritus Professor Ekwueme Michael Thelwell represented the department (and the University) when he delivered the keynote address in the "National Week of Respect" in celebration of the life of Chinua Achebe in his native Nigeria on May 20th, 2013 at the International Conference Center in Abuja the capitol.  After which our brother traveled to Eastern Nigeria for the traditional ceremonies of celebration and burial by Achebe's family and kinsmen.  As you know Professor Thelwell has taught courses on Achebe's work in the department for many years.


See Professor John Bracey's poetry on a mural in Philadelphia. Click on the photo for a pdf version.

Professors John Bracey and Chris Tinson are quoted in an article remembering Amiri Baraka: see

Diverse Issues in Higher Education.



This year's recipient of the Darwin T. Turner Award for the best essay representing any period in African American or pan-African literature and culture is:

Robin Bernstein, "Utopian Movements: Nikki Giovanni and the Convocation following the Virginia Tech Massacre"

Receiving Honorable Mention: Britt Rusert, "The Science of Freedom: Counterarchives of Racial Science on the Antebellum Stage"

Tracy Lectures, Performs at Hong Kong Conference

November 19, 2013

Professor Steve Tracy of Afro-American studies was an invited speaker and performer at the 10th anniversary of the America Studies Network conference (USCET-ASN) in China: Transnational Currents of U.S.-China Relations, held Nov. 15-17 at the University of Hong Kong, Centennial Campus. Tracy delivered a paper titled “Play It Like You Did Back to George Street,” dealing with the aesthetic relationship between literature and music, and performed solo on harmonica and vocals as the climax of the conference. See Inside UMass for more...

See video from conference.


Renowned Poet Sonia Sanchez--Tribute to John Bracey at the ASALH Conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

 

Professor John H. Bracey, Jr. was awarded the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters at the College of Wooster at the College's 143rd Commencement on May 13, 2013.  See In the Loop for full article.

See Professor Bracey's interview on WWLP

http://www.wwlp.com/news/local/hampshire/umass-professor-remembers-seeing-dr-king-speak


Shabazz honored by UnityFirst.com

Amilcar Shabazz, professor of Afro-American Studies and faculty advisor to the chancellor for diversity and excellence, has been chosen by Springfield-based UnityFirst.com to receive its Common Ground award for “leadership, excellence and role model example for generations to come.”  See In the Loop for details.

 

 


Professor Steven Tracy headed back to China as Chu Tian Scholar. He will make the second of five Chinese government-sponsored trips to Central China Normal University in Wuhan as a Chu Tian Scholar from May 11 to July 16. While there, he will teach two courses, advise graduate students, work on co-editing a collection of essays by Chinese and American scholars, and offer musical performances. Professor Tracy will also lecture at universities in Wuhan, as well as undertake a lecture tour at eight to 10 universities in Beijing, Three Gorges, Shanghai and other locations.

His first book, Langston Hughes and the Blues, is in preparation for publication in Chinese IN 2013-2014.

Back in the U.S. on Aug. 3, his band, Steve Tracy and the Crawling Kingsnakes, will perform on the main stage at the Greater Cincinnati Blues Festival. The following day, he will emcee the Piano Stage at the festival and perform with a variety of blues pianists.

At the festival, Tracy will autograph a two-LP set of historical recordings of Cincinnati blues from 1928-1936, "Play it Like You Did Back to George Street," for which he wrote the liner notes.

Professor Tracy has also been tapped as a keynote roundtable expert at the Ralph Ellison Centennial / annual MELUS conference March, 2014 in Oklahoma City, along with key Ellison experts Arnold Rampersad, Adam Bradley, Eric Sundquist, and Kenneth Warren. The Ellison Centennial will be a year-long celebration, from March 2013-March 2014, of Ellison's work. Current plans are to feature Tracy performing as well at a local jazz club as well.

Finally, three visiting scholars from China will be working with Professor Tracy in the 2013-2014 school year. Runrun Pan, Yukuo Wang, and Xu Yuanyuan will all be in residence working on American and African American literature under Steve's sponsorship and guidance.


Professor A Yemisi Jimoh was elected as President of The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS). Her term will run from 2012 to 2015. Professor Jimoh also serves on the editorial board of the Society’s journal MELUS.


On the evening of May 7th graduating senior Berhani Woldu performed his  senior thesis presentation in the Shirley Graham Du Bois Reading Room on the 2nd floor of the New Africa House. Berhani, an accomplished tenor saxophone player, was accompanied by master Valley musicians Vishnu Wood on upright bass and Bob Weiner on drums and percussion.  The trio led by Berhani launched into hour of improvisation that drew  what seemed like the full range of sounds and feelings possible from their instruments. Several times during the performance what could have been conclusions were in fact pauses before the music took off in yet another interesting and provocative direction. When the room finally returned to silence, the audience was still listening intensely before realizing that this was indeed the end.      It was a masterful display by all involved. Of course Berhani passed with flying colors. The entire proceedings were filmed by Professor Ernest Allen.


Alex Carter, Afro-American Studies Ph.D. candidate, has been selected for the United States Fulbright award to Australia for the academic year 2013-2014. His project explores the connections and influences between Afro-Americans and Aboriginal Australians during the Black Power and Black Arts movements. He will be affiliated with Professor Maryrose Casey of Monash University in Clayton, Victoria. The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Approximately 310,000 "Fulbrighters," 116,900 from the United States and 192,800 from other countries, have participated in the Program since its inception more than sixty years ago. The Fulbright Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide. Congratulations!



Meet Isabel Espinal, Librarian for Afro-Am


Professor A Yemisi Jimoh was elected as President of The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS). Her term will run from 2012 to 2015. Professor Jimoh also serves on the editorial board of the Society’s journal MELUS.


NYC in WWII (youtube video)   Featuring Professor David Lucander (Ph.D., 2010)


Professor Amilcar Shabazz named Faculty Advisor to the Chancellor for Diversity and Excellence. See In the Loop for details.


Professor Manisha Sinha is the featured commentator on 'The Abolitionists' on PBS.  
Begins on January 8, 2013.
See In the Loop for the full article.


Professor A Yemisi Jimoh was elected as President of The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS). Her term will run from 2012 to 2015. Professor Jimoh also serves on the editorial board of the Society’s journal MELUS.


Flávia Santos de Araújo, Ph.D. candidate, has been awarded a UMass Graduate School Dissertation Research Grant. The grant will support archival research and the conducting of interviews in Brazil for her dissertation, “The Diasporic Black Female Body in Contemporary Afro-Brazilian and African American Literary Representations.”


Professor Manisha Sinha

See Professor Sinha's latest piece "Is the Modern GOP a 'Relic of Barbarism?'"
published by HNN (History News Network)


Funding Opportunity for all minority students:
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program


New England Regional Student Program (NERP)
Afro-American Studies Majors Qualify
from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont

The NERP allows students from the six New England states, who are enrolled in certain programs not offered by their home-state public college or universities, to pay a reduced tuition rate. Not all programs are available in the NERP at UMass.    See the Registrar's Officefor details!


Drs. Jonathan Fenderson and Kabria Baumgartner have been selected to receive the Esther M. Terry Award for their distinguished dissertations in Afro-American Studies, 2011.

Kabria Baumgartner
"Intellect, Liberty, Life: Women's Activism and the Politics of Black Education in Antebellum America"
Dissertation Committee Chair, Manisha Sinha

Jonathan Fenderson
"'Journey Toward a Black Aesthetic'": Hoyt Fuller, the Black Arts Movement & the Black Intellectual Community"
Dissertation Committee Chair, James Smethurst.


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.


Manisha Sinha, Professor of Afro-American Studies, gave the opening address at the Underground Railroad Public History Conference held April 13-15 at Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y. 
Sinha’s presentation was titled “Fleeing for Freedom: Fugitive Slaves and the Making of American Abolition.”
Check out the video here.


W. E. B. Du Bois: The Prime Minister of the State We Never Had

by Professor Bill Strickland


Afro-American Studies Professors contribute major essays to world authority on poetry and poetics

The W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies has significant representation in the world’s foremost authoritative volume dealing with poetry and poetics, the new 4th Edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. The major essays on the Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance and the Poetry of the Black Arts Movement in the volume were written by department professors Steve Tracy and Jim Smethurst, respectively, and their works are referenced in other essays in the volume as well. Professor Tracy has produced books dealing with African American music, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, and Ralph Ellison, and Professor Smethurst on the African American roots of modernism, radicalism in the South, African Americans on the literary left, and the Black Arts Movement.

Through three editions over more than four decades, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics has built an unrivaled reputation as the most comprehensive and authoritative reference for students, scholars, and poets on all aspects of its subject: history, movements, genres, prosody, rhetorical devices, critical terms, and more. Now this landmark work has been thoroughly revised and updated for the twenty-first century. Compiled by an entirely new team of editors, the fourth edition--the first new edition in almost twenty years--reflects recent changes in literary and cultural studies, providing up-to-date coverage and giving greater attention to the international aspects of poetry, all while preserving the best of the previous volumes. At well over a million words and more than 1,000 entries, the Encyclopedia has unparalleled breadth and depth. Entries range in length from brief paragraphs to major essays of 15,000 words, offering a more thorough treatment--including expert synthesis and indispensable bibliographies--than conventional handbooks or dictionaries.  Click on the book cover shown above for more...


The latest from Dr. Ernest Gibson:

Article: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~gradnewsforum/?p=5953

Conference Presentation: http://youtu.be/11wKksClSAY


Prof. Steve Tracy performs in Germany during his Fulbright professorship

 

 

 

Check out the article in the July issue of Diverse Issues in Higher Education, "Black Studies Now Flourishing Despite Early Struggles." Our Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies is nicely represented in the article. See pdf or go to http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?i=11739


Amilcar Shabazz has been elected Secretary of the National Council for Black Studies, the leading organization of Black Studies professionals in the world. A member of the Council's National Board since 2009, Shabazz will now join its Executive Committee for a two-year term. "The NCBS was established in 1975 by African American scholars who recognized the need to formalize the study of the African World experience, as well as expand and strengthen academic units and community programs devoted to this endeavor." Today it holds an annual conference in March, publishes a peer-reviewed journal and a newsletter, conducts program evaluations, organizes national workshops and institutes on topics of professional and programmatic development, among other activities.


Du Bois Department Senior in the Spotlight...

Justin McCarthy ’12, an Afro-American studies major tells us about how hip hop shaped his life and Afro-American studies changed the way he thinks about the world. See his HFA Student Profile by going to

http://www.umass.edu/hfa/students/profiles/justinmccarthy.html

   


Dr. Trimiko Melancon ('05), Assistant Professor of English and African & African American Studies at Loyola University, has been awarded a prestigious 2012 Woodrow Wilson National Foundation fellowship for next academic year. During this time, she will complete the final revisions of her first book "Unbought and Unbossed: Transgressive Black Women, Sexuality, and the Politics of Representation." Additionally, she will be working on her second book project, "You People: Race and the Global Politics of Exclusion from Katrina to Berlin," from which she presented at the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies "Fire Next Time" Colloquium Series in October 2011. An article based on her presentation has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Popular Culture entitled "Reading Race and the Difference It Makes: (Post) 9/11, Black Performance, and Cultural Production." See here for details.


 

 

 

An Army of Lions: The Civil Rights Struggle Before the NAACP

by Shawn Leigh Alexander ('04)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Power at Work: Community Control, Affirmative Action, and the Construction Industry

by David Goldberg ('06) and Trevor Griffey, eds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Poetics of Paul Robeson's Othello

by Lindsey Swindall ('07)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other recent titles by our graduates include Christopher Lehman’s The Colored Cartoon: Black Representation in American Animated Short Films, a Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2008, A Critical History of Soul Train on Television, and American Animated Cartoons of the Vietnam Era; Stephanie Y. Evans' Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850-1954: An Intellectual History, and African Americans and Community Engagement; Jennifer Jensen Wallach's Richard Wright: From Black Boy to World Citizen and Closer to the Truth than Any Fact: Memoir, Memory, and Jim Crow, also a Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2008; and Shawn Alexander's anthology T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American Agitator. Congratulations to all our former students adding to the body of published scholarship on the African American experience.

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The Fall 2011 issue of The Black Scholar features four articles on print culture and local movements that were originally presented at the Du Bois Department's 2010 conference "Art & Power in Movement."
Founded in 1969, and hailed by The New York Times as "a journal in which the writings of many of today's finest black thinkers may be viewed," THE BLACK SCHOLAR is one of the leading journals of black cultural and political thought in the United States. Robert Chrisman is the Editor-in-Chief/Publisher, Robert L. Allen is the Senior Editor, and Maize Woodford is the Executive Editor.
Contemporary, timely and historical, THE BLACK SCHOLAR has emerged as the cutting edge of black thought today. It is published four times a year with subscription rates for individuals at $30 per year and $6 for single copies. An online order form can be found at http://www.theblackscholar.org/order.asp


 

Afro-American Studies professor Steven C. Tracy has been awarded the Chu Tian Scholar Fellowship Award ("The Sky of Chu Kingdom Award") by the Hubei Provincial Department of Education in China and officially named Lecture Professor of the Chu Tian Program.

See full article at In the Loop.

On a recent trip to Beijing, Professor Tracy visited the Olympic Village and the swimming pool complex. He then went back to Wuhan for a poetry conference, where he performed on harmonica and vocals “Amazing Grace” and “Going Down to the Graveyard” at an international poetry reading and showcase for Central China Normal University’s music department, and offered a keynote address.

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BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez

A new documentary—now in production by Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater, with Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, a one-hour documentary, will examine her contribution to the world of poetry, her singular place in the Black Arts Movement and her leadership role in African American culture over the last half century. Despite her achievements, there is—as yet—no major film documenting her life and the impact of her work. Supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Leeway Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation and the Lomax Family Foundation, this Attie & Goldwater Production will give Sister Sonia her due with our own John Bracey serving as both a talking head in the film and a member of the film's advisory board. Click tease to see the movie's advanced trailer.
Also, on December 29th, 2011 Professor John Bracey was in Philadelphia to attend the naming of Sonia Sanchez as that city's first Poet Laureate. Mayor Michael Nutter presided over the ceremony held at City Hall. As part of her acceptance speech Sanchez read a poem she had written in 1994 upon the occasion of the visit to Philadelphia of Vaclav Havel, recently deceased first President of the Czech Republic and a playwright. Sanchez' term as Poet Laureate runs for two years ,and plans are underway for a number of initiatives promoting poetry and the arts throughout the city. Sonia Sanchez's appointment was met with universal acclaim, confirming the widely held view that Sanchez had been the de facto poet laureate of Philadelphia for some time ,and that the Mayor Nutter just made it official. See articles in the Philadelphia Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Phildelphia Inquirer Editorial and other photos (pdf).

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MR issue features plenary session papers from 2010 Art & Power in Movement Conference

The new issue of the Massachusetts Review is out and it features presentations from a plenary session on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) held during last November's 40th Anniversary of the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. Professor Emeritus Ekwueme Michael Thelwell introduces us to fellow SNCC activists Charles E. Cobb, Jr. and Judy Richardson, and to a period that "not only fundamentally challenged the culture and architecture of injustice in the south, but laid the groundwork for a new pedagogy of social justice on campuses like our own."

More from In the Loop...

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Congratulations to Professors Steve Tracy and James Smethurst on the publication of their newest books:

Professor Steven Tracy's newest book has now been published. Writers of the Black Chicago  Renaissance comprehensively explores the contours and content of the Black Chicago Renaissance, a creative movement that emerged from the crucible of rigid segregation in Chicago's "Black Belt" from the 1930s through the 1960s.

Click here for more....

Roark Bradford's 1931 novel and 1939 play dealing with the legendary folk-hero John Henry (both titled John Henry) were extremely influential in their own time, but have since then been nearly forgotten. Steven C. Tracy has united these hard-to-find works in a single critical edition that helps contextualize-and revive-both texts. Click cover for more information...

The African American Roots of Modernism explores how the Jim Crow system triggered significant artistic and intellectual responses from African American writers, deeply marking the beginnings of literary modernism and, ultimately, notions of American modernity. Click cover for more information..

We're in the news all over the place: See the UMass Amherst magazine for John Sippel's feature story on the department. See also "UMass Doctoral Programs on the Rise, Earn Distinction as Among the Nation's Best in NRC Rankings" as well as the Daily Collegian article "UMass doctoral program ranked among top-performing schools by National Research Council."
Here's the news on our PhD program:

The first detailed survey since 1995 of doctoral programs at the nation's research universities shows that the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is among the most highly ranked graduate programs in the country. The National Research Council (NRC) survey, released Sept. 28, 2010, emerged from data collected in 2005-06 on more than 5,000 doctoral programs in 62 fields at 212 colleges and universities, covering such characteristics as faculty publications, grants, and awards; student financial support, and employment outcomes; and program size, time to degree, and faculty composition. Measures of faculty and student diversity were also included. Their analysis assigned each doctoral program a range within which the program likely ranks, such as between first and third for Department in the Diversity ranking which "reflects gender balance, ethnic diversity, and the proportion of international students." The Department ranked in the top 10 nationwide. Du Bois Department chair Amilcar Shabazz noted,"We are very proud of our standing among our peers, and welcome NRC and other findings which lend additional validity to our own sense that we provide our students with teaching and research excellence, together with engaged social responsibility in developing human knowledge and social life in general." The NRC assessed 42 graduate programs in American Studies. In overall scholarly performance the Du Bois Department ranked in the top ten of doctoral programs in the field, at the top in terms of gender balance as well ethnic & international student diversity, and #6 in terms of student performance and experience. See for yourself through the independent guide PhDs.org and the Chronicle of Higher Education synopsis at http://chronicle.com/article/NRC-Rankings-Overview-/124700/.


Professors Kabria Baumgartner and Jonathan Fenderson completed an edited volume of the Journal of African American Studies, with James Stewart. It is focused on the Black Studies Movement.    Also, see Emeritus Professor Ekwueme Michael Thelwell's commentary "History and Memory: The Tyranny and Prejudice of Experience".

Click on the following link to the table of contents: http://www.springerlink.com/content/1559-1646/16/1/



Professor Jonathan Fenderson won the Black Metropolis Research Consortium Short-term Fellowship for the summer. It was granted by the Black Metropolis Research Consortium and sponsored by the Mellon Foundation. See http://www.blackmetropolisresearch.org/shortTerm.html for details.

 

Dissertation Defenses in 2012

Ernest Gibson's “In Search of the Fraternal:
Salvific Manhood and Male Intimacy in the Novels of James Baldwin”

       Monday, April 9th 2:30 p.m.

Room 2601, W.E.B. Du Bois Library

Our doctoral student, Ernest Gibson, III, made it onto the 2011 Boston Lizard Lounge National Poetry Slam Team. The team will be competing at the National Poetry Slam, an annual poetry slam championship tournament against teams from all over North America and Europe that will take place August 8-13th in Boston, Massachusetts.

Click here for more from Boston Globe story...


Markeysha Davis of the Afro-American Studies Department and Rickey Fayne of Northwestern University have been named winners of Du Bois fellowships to assist younger scholars in conducting research in Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) in the Du Bois Library. Go to In the Loop for more...

Ernest Gibson, III, made it onto the 2011 Boston Lizard Lounge National Poetry Slam Team.  Nationals is in August and will feature teams from all across the world congregating to compete for the National Slam title.  The Lizard Lounge's website: http://poetryjam.org/slam/.  And the official website for the national comp: http://nps2011.com/.  Check back here for upcoming competitions.   Good luck Ernest!


Jonathan Fenderson, after two years as a Fellow at the The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies [http://news.clas.virginia.edu/woodson/x16454.xml], University of Virginia, has successfully defended his dissertation "Journey Toward a Black Aesthetic," about Hoyt Fuller, the 1960s Black Arts Movement, and the Black intellectual community that formed in the movement’s wake. He has accepted an appointment in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburg that will begin after a postdoctoral fellowship year in the Program in African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

Kabria Baumgartner, after a productive a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship [http://www.spencer.org/content.cfm/dissertation-fellows-2010-2011], has now accepted a position as an assistant professor at the College of Wooster. The Du Bois Department takes great pride in Kabria and all our graduates.

H. Zahra Caldwell is a 2010-2011 Dissertation Fellow in the departments of Africana and Latino Studies and History at SUNY Oneonta.  http://www.oneonta.edu/academics/africlat/facultyassociatedandadjunct.html

Allia Matta has received a 2010-2011 Diversity Assistantship from the Graduate School at UMass.

Jason Hendrickson, McKinley Melton, and Vanessa Fabien won coveted teaching appointments in the UMss Amherst Undergraduate Advising & Learning Communities' Multicultural America RAP or Residential Academic Program which involves teaching our AfroAm 151Literature & Culture course to small classes taught in the first-year student's residential area. http://ualc.umass.edu/rap/multiculturalamerica/


Lilly Teaching Fellow from Afro-Am selected

The Center for Teaching and Faculty Development (CTFD), which supports the professional development and achievement of faculty, has announced the 2012-13 Lilly Teaching Fellows. Among the eight fellows from departments across campus is our own Britt Rusert, selected in her first year at UMass. The Lilly Fellowship is a competitive award program, established in 1986, that enables promising junior faculty to cultivate teaching excellence in a special yearlong collaboration. The fellows assess their teaching and their students' learning through classroom visits; review of course materials; and student feedback. Lilly Teaching Fellows attend an intensive retreat and bi-weekly seminar sessions on college teaching, design and implement a course design project, and work with mentors to anticipate many of the challenges and rewards of faculty life at UMass Amherst. Click here for the full article in the Loop.


On February 25, 2011, the Black Student Union of UMass Amherst as part of its 3rd annual Black History Showcase, honored Amilcar Shabazz, Du Bois Department Chair. The BSU recognized Professor Shabazz for his devotion to teaching and his professional dedication to African American Studies. Wilmore Webley in the natural sciences, Enobong Branch in the social sciences, and Carlos Mendez in Management were other faculty that received awards. Also, the BSU gave Afro-American Studies major Justin McCarthy a distinguished peer award.

<<The group picture here of BSU officers and the various honorees was taken by Doris Clemmons, Associate Director of Institutional Diversity at UMass Amherst.


Afro-American Studies Professor Manisha Sinha was selected for the 2010-2011 Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series. Her lecture "Did the Abolitionists Cause the Civil War?" was presented April 27, 2011. You can see it at http://www.livestream.com/umamherst_events/video?clipId=pla_4f9ab883-37e4-4ed8-a0c2-ba3006a65058

Also, see Professor Manisha Sinha's recent article "The Strange Victory of the Palmetto State" in The New York Times.


Spotlight Scholar: Steven C. Tracy, challenging boundaries and bending notes

Afro-American Studies professor Steven Tracy is a man who blurs boundaries. A writer and editor of works about African-American literature and culture and an accomplished blues musician, Tracy's made a career of mixing music and literature and of "being in places he shouldn't be." While in high school, Tracy won a national harmonica competition that landed him on the "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. With just a year of playing experience, Tracy was given an opportunity more seasoned musicians only dream of - the chance to launch his musical career on one of the most popular television shows of the time. "I really had no business being there," laughs Tracy. 
Click here to see a full version of the article at In the Loop.


Tricia Loveland Distinguished Staff Service Award winner

From our February 12, 2010, nomination letter:  Bill Strickland notes “Tricia Loveland is not our ‘employee’ in the traditional sense but someone who is very much a part of the Department’s family. Her dedication to our work is above and beyond the call of duty and she furthers our interests as though they were her own.” Manisha Sinha adds: “Ms. Tricia Loveland has been invaluable to the smooth functioning of the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies for more than a decade. She has single handedly managed the department and performed functions that in other departments are done by at least three or four staff persons, department secretary, graduate and undergraduate secretary, and a personal assistant to the Chair and Graduate Director. And she has borne these tasks in a competent and cheerful manner. In short, recognition of her service to our department and the university in general is long overdue and we recommend her highly for this distinction.” Amilcar Shabazz...observes: “In a large institution like UMass it is easy for students as well as new faculty members to feel lost and alone. Tricia gives her personal attention to people in knowing and effective ways that gets you where you need to be and feeling that you have someone in your corner who knows this campus and who cares about your success. I have seen alumni return to the department after many years and the first person they want to see is Tricia. The Spirit of ’76, of solidarity and sacrifice, is in this Minutewoman!


Thank you to all who participated in our Art & Power in Movement Conference!

The Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies thanks all the scholars and activists, writers and artists, youth and elders, who came together November 18-20, 2010, to mark our 40th year on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus, as well as to support the exchange of knowledge about the dynamic period in which academic Black Studies units like ours were established. The Art & Power in Movement conference drew over 400 participants. Please click the poster to go to the conference website. We will be posting photos, as well as links to video and audio files of many conference presentations, especially by our keynoters Sister Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, and others.

Audio from keynote sessions can be found at http://trggradio.wordpress.com/ courtesy of the TRGGR Megia Group. Also, click here for the Conference Program (pdf).

Continue to check the blog of our Working Group on Black Arts & Black Power Movement Research for additional post-conference developments.