News Archive 2013 to 2014

 

Calvin White Jr.The University of Arkansas Teaching Academy recently elected six new Fellows and named the recipient of the 2014 Dr. John and Mrs. Lois Imhoff Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student Mentorship. 
The Imhoff Award winner is Calvin White Jr., associate professor of history and director of African and African American Studies. White teaches a number of courses from freshman to graduate levels, including AAST 1003: Introduction to African and African American Studies. In addition, White developed AAST 2023: The African American Experience, which has been approved as a humanities elective in the university core.
He has received numerous awards in recognition of excellence in teaching and student mentoring, including the Fulbright College’s John E. King Award for Outstanding Service, the Fulbright College Outstanding Advisor Award, and the Student Alumni Board’s Outstanding Teaching Award, among others. Colleagues and former students note White’s high expectations, the rigor of his courses, and his dedication to student success. As one colleague wrote, “Calvin is the rare professor who is able to see enormous potential in every student with whom he interacts, even if they do not at first see that potential themselves, and there have been countless students who have had their lives changed by the care, attention, and encouragement that Calvin has given them.”

AST is excited to announce the availability of scholarship applications for 2015-2016 year.  Please note that there are two separate applications.  If you have not received a scholarship from African and African American Studies in the past, please use the New Student Scholarship Application. If you have received a scholarship from AAST in the past, please use the Returning Student Scholarship Application.
As you apply, please be sure to follow the guidelines stated on the application. All applicants are required to submit an official University transcript including their Fall 2014 grades.  Additionally, please keep in mind that our scholarships are selected upon academic merit and program involvement. The deadline for the application is February 2, 2015.  
We look forward to receiving your application.  If you have any further questions, please email our Scholarship Chair, Dr. Gigantino at jgiganti@uark.edu.

AAST/SCWK 4163 posterStudents,

Still need a class for the Spring? Consider taking Dr. Valandra's AAST/SCWK 4163:"African American Perspectives of Trauma, Loss, & Recovery," Tuesdays 2:00-4:30PM in ASUP 0217. 

This class looks at numerous topics related related to Trauma, Loss, and Recovery, such as: race-based trauma perspectives, micro aggressions, post traumatic slave syndrome, and transracial adoption among other issues. You can receive graduate credit for this class. 

For more information about the course, please click here for the flyer.

AAST 2023 article screenshotWe are excited that AAST 2023: The African American Experience course is now a part of the University of Arkansas Core, and it's received notice by The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education! Read the full article here.

Coffee with the Professors posterPlease join us next Wednesday, December 10th 11:45 AM - 2:00 PM for our final Coffee with the Professors of the Fall 2014 semester!

We’ll have coffee, refreshments, and information about scholarships and next year’s courses.  We are also excited to celebrate one year of our office space in Memorial Hall!

 The African and African American Studies Program in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences recently added a course that will fulfill the university’s general core requirement in the humanities. Students enrolled in AAST 2023 The African American Experience will benefit from its interdisciplinary exploration of questions of diversity, inclusion and culture.
Approached from multiple angles and methodologies, the course will open dialogue among students whose interests lie across various disciplines to help them develop a broad cultural literacy and see how the issues surrounding race that Arkansans and Americans deal with every day are grounded in a distinctive cultural framework and are still under construction today.
“We are excited to begin offering this course as part of the university’s core curriculum especially since race is so essential in helping students understand American society past and present,” said Calvin White, associate professor of history and program director. “Adding the course as part of the general education curriculum aligns the University of Arkansas with the best practices of 10 out of the other 13 SEC schools that already offered courses as part of their core curriculums. The program needs to thank the various faculty committees who supported the inclusion of AAST 2023 and the critical need to educate our students about the importance of race in America.”
In addition to serving students in Fayetteville as a core humanities requirement for the entire undergraduate population, The African American Experience will serve as the gateway course in the program’s new online minor, recently approved by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. 
“The ability to offer AAST 2023 online advances the program’s goal of broadening educational access to underserved populations across Arkansas,” said James Gigantino, assistant professor of history and co-author of the proposal to include the course in the university core.  “Online courses expand our program’s reach and allow us to interact with populations we would have never come into contact with before — they are the night classes of the 21st century, only better. We are pleased to be able to help students both within Fayetteville and beyond learn the important role that race has played in American film, art, music, literature, politics and history.”
The African and African American Studies Program at the University of Arkansas is an interdisciplinary program that expands on the core disciplines of a traditional liberal arts education.  Through interdisciplinary study, students explore the legacy of the African diaspora and African-descended people’s global experiences and the importance of race with a focus on Africa, the United States and the Caribbean.

The Ragged Road to Abolition book coverCongratulations to Dr. Gigantino on the publication of his book, The Ragged Road to Abolition: Slavery and Freedom in New Jersey, 1775-1865!

In February 1856, farmer John Hagaman was preparing to relocate to Illinois when he sold Catherine, his “slave for life,” for $20.
The transaction was recorded in Somerset County, New Jersey. The 1850 U.S. Census had recorded Catherine as a free woman. At the time of her sale, she was 67 years old, notes historian James J. Gigantino II.
Gigantino, an assistant professor of history at the University of Arkansas, discovered Catherine’s bill of sale in a county archive in New Jersey while researching his new book, The Ragged Road to Abolition: Slavery and Freedom in New Jersey, 1775-1865.
“I think Catherine is a great example of the slow death of slavery in the North between the turn of the 19th century and the Civil War,” said Gigantino, whose book is the first modern examination of slavery in the entire state of New Jersey.
The plight of Catherine, who was not freed by New Jersey’s gradual abolition laws, indicates what Gigantino describes as a “slow death of slavery” in the antebellum North. In The Ragged Road to Abolition, Gigantino demonstrates how deeply slavery influenced the political, economic and social life of blacks and whites in New Jersey. The book shatters the perceived easy dichotomies between North and South or free states and slave states at the onset of the Civil War, he said.
“This woman, who should not have been categorized legally as a slave, was sold as a slave,” Gigantino said. “Someone paid money to get her service. People like her, who were trapped within this slow death of slavery, were still functioning and existing in New Jersey, and in the North in general, as slaves up until the Civil War.
“There is a perception among the general public – and also among many historians – that the institution of slavery died relatively quickly in the North with state abolition laws,” he said. “Slavery persisted in the North well into the 19th century. This was especially the case in New Jersey, the last northern state to pass a gradual abolition statute, in 1804. There were similar systems of slavery’s slow death in northern states such as Pennsylvania, where it lasted until the 1830s and 1840s, and in New York, where it lasted until the 1830s.”
New Jersey’s gradual abolition law provided freedom for children born to slaves after July 4, 1804, only after they had served their mother’s master for more than two decades.
In The Ragged Road to Abolition, Gigantino writes, “These children, whom I call slaves for a term, were bought, sold, whipped, worked and separated from their families just like slaves before them. Contemporary New Jersey sources remarked that these children were thought of and treated like slaves, though with the understanding that they would leave that status in the future. The presence of slaves for a term extended bondage in a different form to generations that came of age in the late 1820s and 1830s so that in 1830 almost a quarter of the state’s black population remained bound laborers.”
Gigantino also examines the role of the memory of slavery among New Jerseyans – both on the eve of the Civil War and in the postbellum United States. He provides examples of New Jersey politicians using the memory of slavery as a way to align themselves with southern interests in sectional crises before the Civil War. They repeatedly talked about how New Jersey was a slave state, whereas other New England politicians would not.
“But after the Civil War, slavery was remembered very differently,” he said. “Many New Jerseyans, and many northerners, remembered slavery in the North as very benign and not as harsh as it was in the South. People also were confused about the process of slavery and freedom in New Jersey. They would say that slavery ended in New Jersey in 1820 but the abolition law in 1820 didn’t actually end slavery in New Jersey, it helped extend it.”
Gigantino, who joined the University of Arkansas faculty in 2010, holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Richmond and a doctorate in history from the University of Georgia. In addition to his appointment in the Department of History, he is an affiliated faculty member of the African and African American Studies program in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. This is his first book.
The Ragged Road to Abolition is published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

GigantinoFAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The African and African American Studies Program in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences will host the third forum in its fall 2014 series of brown bag lectures. The final lecture of the semester will begin at 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, in the program’s new home, Memorial Hall 230. All members of the university community are welcome to attend.

James Gigantino, assistant professor of history and a participating faculty member in the African and African American studies program will present “Five Things to Know about Slavery and Abolition in the North.”  His book, The Ragged Road to Abolition: Slavery and Freedom in New Jersey, 1775-1865 was published in October by the University of Pennsylvania Press.  He teaches courses on early American history, the history of slavery and the Atlantic World. Gigantino came to the University in 2010 after earning a doctorate in history from the University of Georgia.

“Program faculty and graduate students have undertaken some important research on the history of race and the African Diaspora,” said Calvin White, associate professor of history and director of the African and African American studies program. “As faculty move through the scholarly process, the Brown Bag Series brings together an interdisciplinary audience to provide feedback as they revise and develop their work as well as present their final projects to faculty who have given support during its development.  These events help foster the interdisciplinary community that makes our program so special.”

The African and African American Studies Program at the University of Arkansas is an interdisciplinary program that expands on the core disciplines of a traditional liberal arts education.  Through interdisciplinary study, students explore the legacy of the African diaspora and African-descended people’s global experiences and the importance of race with a focus on Africa, the United States and the Caribbean.

Contacts:

Calvin White, Jr., director
African and African American Studies Program
479-575-5702, calvinwh@uark.edu
 
 
Darinda Sharp, director of communications
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-3712, dsharp@uark.edu

The Racial Politics of Ebola posterOn Wednesday, October 30, 2014, Drs. White Jr., Banton, and Gordon, were featured on KUAF's Ozark at Large program to discuss the upcoming panel: The Racial Politics on Ebola. They provided a snapshot of some of the racial issues surrounding the recent outbreak of Ebola and some larger historical problems that have shaped the way Americans have come to view Africa and the Ebola. To listen the interview, click here. The discussion starts  21 minutes into the MP3. 

This is a great teaser to what we can expect from our panelists on Monday, November 3, from 4:00-5:30 PM as they discuss the Racial Politics of Ebola, how it has been portrayed in the media, and the consequences of this. We hope to see you all there!

Coffee with the Professors posterPlease join us on Wednesday, October 29th in Memorial Hall 230 from 11:45-2:00 PM for our first Coffee with the Professors for Fall 2014.  We’ll provide coffee and refreshments while you meet our faculty members and your fellow students in a casual setting. We look forward to seeing you there! 

For more information, please click here for the poster, email Sarah Riva at sriva@uark.edu or call 479-575-2872.

 We are offering a great selection of on-campus and online classes for Spring 2015! For a full list of offerings click here. If you have any questions regarding your degree plan and/or program of study, please contact the academic advisors in the Fulbright College Advising Center.

The Racial Politics of Ebola posterInterested in the outbreak of Ebola? Curious to understand why its spread to the United States has caused so much concern? Then make sure to attend our upcoming panel on the “The Racial Politics of Ebola,” hosted by African and African American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and International Studies. Drs. Gordon, Grob-Fitzgibbon, Banton, Gigantino, and White, Jr., will make up the panel as they discuss the outbreak and its racialized treatment throughout the world.

 Join us Monday, November 3rd at 4:00PM in Memorial Hall 230. Refreshments will follow.

Brown Bag Lecture Series posterAfrican and African American Studies is excited to announce the lineup for our Fall 2014 Brown Bag Series!

  • Wednesday, September 10th - Misti Harper
  • Wednesday, October 8th - Timothy Landry
  • Wednesday, November 5th - James Gigantino

All Brown Bags will take place in our conference room in Memorial Hall 230 from 11:50 to 12:40. To view more information about Dr. Landry's talk tomorrow, check out the Newswire story here!

HarperCongratulations to Misti Harper who received Best Paper for "To Deny Black Womanhood: The Mothers' League of Central High School” at the Arkansas Association of College History Teachers conference today! This paper stems from her presentation at our first Brown Bag lecture this semester and the feedback she received, which is also part of her dissertation work.
Congratulations, Misti!

Williams Africa classroomStudents,

Interested in a Study Abroad trip to Ghana? Have you already participated in the African and African American Studies trip to Ghana? Please join us on Thursday, October 2, 2014, at 2:00PM for a lecture by Dr. Michael Williams. Williams has recently returned to the United States on holiday from Ghana and he will be discussing the importance of studying in West Africa, particularly Ghana, as well as the Ebola crisis that has hit the region.

All are welcome to come and those who have participated in the study abroad trip will find this particularly interesting.

Williams will be giving his talk in the African and African American Studies conference room (Memorial Hall 230).

The Annual African Conference posterThe University of Texas at Austin is now accepting papers for its Annual Africa Conference. This year's theme is "Development, Urban Space, and Human Rights in Africa." The conference will be held on April 3-5, 2015, and proposals are due November 30, 2014.

The goal of the conference is to generate interdisciplinary insights that can interrogate development paradigms and intervention practices as they relate to urban space and human rights in Africa.

For more information about potential topics for the conference and general information regarding the Annual Africa Conference, please click here!

Brown Bag Lecture Series posterAfrican and African American Studies is excited to announce the lineup for our Fall 2014 Brown Bag Series!

  • Wednesday, September 10th - Misti Harper
  • Wednesday, October 8th - Timothy Landry
  • Wednesday, November 5th - James Gigantino

All Brown Bags will take place in our conference room in Memorial Hall 230 from 11:50 to 12:40.

Remembering Summer posterAfrican American Studies at Mississippi State University is hosting "Remembering Freedom Summer" on October 19-21, 2014. This conference celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Summer Project in Mississippi and will bring activists who were involved in the movement as well as scholars together, to suggest ways Mississippi can move forward in being a welcoming community for all people.

For more information see the website here or the conference flyer here.

African and African American Studies Hosts Third Study Abroad Program to Ghana

Following the legacy of Fulbright

Study Abroad group photo

Thursday, September 18, 2014

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Fourteen students studied in Ghana, West Africa, as part of the African and African American studies program’s bi-annual study abroad program, “Ghana:  Kingdom, Slavery, Colonialism, Independence and Modern Development.” Calvin White Jr., the program’s director and associate professor of history, and James Gigantino, assistant professor of history, co-led the course.

“Our study abroad to Ghana is a key component of not only the program’s curriculum but also the mission of Fulbright College, following the legacy of Fulbright,” said White. “Encouraging students to see through an international lens is critical for our students as many have embarked on careers with international businesses such as Tyson Foods and Walmart or pursued graduate study.” 

As part of their study abroad experience, students enrolled in six hours of intensive coursework, meeting first on campus in Fayetteville for two weeks before their departure for three weeks in Ghana. The group traveled from the northern border with Burkina Faso to Cape Three Points on the Atlantic Coast, covering more than 2,000 miles across nine of the country’s 10 administrative districts. 

“Helping our students understand the history, culture and modern development of Ghana is critical to the future of Arkansas and the United States,” said Gigantino. “West Africa has played, and will continue to play, a major role in international affairs.  Ghana was at the center of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the 18th and early 19th centuries and its independence movement in the 20th encouraged both civil rights leaders in the United States and leaders from across Africa to fight against colonization.  It remains a hub of commerce as trade between Africa and the United States will continue to grow in the coming years.”

As part of the “Ghana and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade” course, students participants traced the route slaves took from the far north to the coast, visiting important sites of the slave trade along the way before touring Cape Coast and Elmina castles—European-built trading outposts on the coast that helped facilitate the trade. 

The second course, “Colonialism, Pan-Africanism, and the Development of Ghana,” focused on Ghana’s colonial experience and its modern economic development, especially in the last few years with the discovery of oil off the country’s coast.  Students compared economic development across the regions they visited and studied factors that spurred and impeded that growth.

Students found the experience crucial to their academic growth, and many remarked that it had changed their perceptions of Africa and their own lives. 

According to Will Pohlman, a Sturgis Fellow and honors animal science and biochemistry major, the study abroad experience “taught me the importance of branching out with an open mind ... and has taught me the necessity of diversity, even within one’s own life.” 

“I’ve learned entirely too much to fairly explain it in one day, let alone a few words,” said Ayana Gray, honors African and African American studies and political science major.  “The best way I can do just that is to say that my study abroad experience taught me that no matter how wide open you think your eyes are … open your eyes wider and see more.”

History and African and African American studies major Janet Shields echoed the idea of keeping an open mind and said the experience taught her “that when looking at other cultures we must be careful not to put other people of the world into the mold of our own culture.” 

In addition to the Ghana course, the African and African American Studies Program helped negotiate an exchange agreement with the University of Cape Coast. The agreement, established in 2011, allows for the exchange of faculty and students between the two institutions making the University of Arkansas the first school in the Southeastern Conference to reach a formal agreement with Cape Coast.

The June 2014 trip marked the third summer the program has sponsored a study abroad program in Ghana. For more information may be found on the program’s website.

The African and African American studies program expands on the core disciplines of a traditional liberal arts education.  Through interdisciplinary study, students may explore the legacy of the African diaspora and African-descended people’s global experiences and the importance of race with a focus on Africa, the United States and the Caribbean.

 Students and faculty, welcome back to campus! We hope you had a great, relaxing summer and are ready for this upcoming semester. Keep an eye on your emails for information about upcoming events at AAST! If you have any questions feel free to stop by the office, call or email us!

Have a great week!

2nd Annual Black Doctoral Network Conference 2014 posterStudents,

The Black Doctoral Network, Inc. is hosting its 2nd Annual Black Doctoral Network Conference on October 23-25, 2014, in Philadelphia, PA at the DoubleTree by Hilton Center City Hotel.

Undergraduate students are encouraged to submit abstracts for the poster competition! The deadline is Friday, September 12, 2014. More information about the conference and the submission process can be found here.

Graduate students are also encouraged to attend this great event! For general information about the conference and the speakers, panels, and presentations, check out the Black Doctoral Network, Inc.'s website.

MAAAS 2014 posterThe Kansas African Studies Center (KASC) at the University of Kansas, Lawrence is hosting the 20th Annual Meeting of the Mid-America Alliance for African Studies (MAAAS) on October 3-4, 2014. This year's theme is African Studies: Concepts and Practices for Decolonizing Knowledge. The keynote speaker is Professor Garth Myers, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Urban International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, CT.

Registration information:

All conference presenters and participants must pay both MAAAS membership dues and conference registration fees.

Early conference registration (by August 31) is $30 for faculty or $10 for students and independent scholars. Membership dues are $20 for faculty or $10 for students and independent scholars. On-site registration is $40 for faculty or $20 for students and independent scholars. 
Please download and fill out this registration form and send it, along with a check, to Glenn Adams (address is on the form) by August 31.

For more information about the Conference please see the MAAAS Website.

The Mountaintop play posterStudents! 
Next year's play, "The Mountaintop" is being produced by the Department of Theatre in partnership with African and African American Studies. It will run January 30-February 1 in Kimpel Studio 404. 
SIGN UP FOR AN AUDITION TIME NOW!
Auditions will be held on August 24 instead of November this year! If you are interested please sign up electronically here: AUDITIONS CLOSED
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Professor Sibley (dillon@uark.edu) or Professor Landman (mlandman@uark.edu).

Murder at Cape Three Points book coverWe are excited to announce the third book in our suggested summer reading list: Kwei Quartey's Murder at Cape Three Points.

At Cape Three Points on the beautiful Ghanaian coast, a canoe washes up at an oil rig site. The two bodies in the canoe—who turn out to be a prominent, wealthy, middle-aged married couple—have obviously been murdered; the way Mr. Smith-Aidoo has been gruesomely decapitated suggests the killer was trying to send a specific message—but what, and to whom, is a mystery. The Smith-Aidoos, pillars in their community, are mourned by everyone, but especially by their niece Sapphire, a successful pediatric surgeon in Ghana's capital, Accra. She is not happy that months have passed since the murder and the rural police have made no headway. 
When the Ghanaian federal police finally agree to get involved, Detective Inspector Darko Dawson of the Accra police force is sent out to Cape Three Points to investigate. Pretty as the coast is, he is not happy to be sent away from his wife and two sons, the younger of whom is recovering from a heart operation. And the more he learns about the case, the more convoluted and dangerous it becomes. Three Points has long been inhabited by tribal villages of subsistence fishers, but real estate entrepreneurs and wealthy oil companies have been trying to bribe the tribes to move out. Dawson roots out a host of motives for murder, ranging from personal vendettas to corporate conspiracies.

We are excited to announce two interesting classes being taught this Fall by Dr. Landry!

Voodoo: From Africa to Our Imaginations course infoVoodoo: From Africa to Our Imaginations 
Dr. Timothy Landry (Religious Studies)
AAST 499V-005/HIST 3983-002
MWF 12:55-1:45 p.m.
Bell 2268

When Westerners hear the word “voodoo,” images of zombies, black magic, and grotesque ritual sacrifice often flood our thoughts. However, these images – long portrayed by film, popular culture, and news media – can be seen as offensive and even racist to the millions of people across the globe who practice some version of the religion known as “Voodoo” in the world today. Called “Vodún” in West Africa (Togo, Bénin, and Nigeria), Vodou in Haiti, and Voodoo in the Mississippi Valley (especially New Orleans), the practice of “Voodoo” is diverse and expansive. Despite Voodoo’s great diversity, the single term “Voodoo” is often used in the West to condense all sub-Saharan African religious practices into a monolithic religious practice that is thought to be steeped in superstition and irrationality. In this course we will examine the lived experiences of “voodoo” practitioners from West Africa and the religion’s connection to the African Americas (esp. Haiti, and the Mississippi Valley). To complement this inquiry, we will also analyze the role of popular culture in the politics and meaning behind concepts such as “voodoo economics,” “zombies,” and “black magic.” While complicating Western imaginations and fantasies of “Voodoo,” we will also learn that despite racial stereotyping and anti-Africa sentiments around the globe, “Voodoo” is emerging as a “world religion” and a powerful global force supported by complex global “voodoo economies,” tourism, and increased interest in the practice and spirituality of “Voodoo.”
 
Secrecy and Power in African and African Diasporic Art course infoSecrecy and Power in African and African Diasporic Art
Dr. Timothy Landry (Religious Studies)
AAST 499V--006/ARHS 4993--001
MWF 2:00-2:50 p.m.
Fine Arts 213

In this course, we will study the ways in which the peoples of the African Atlantic world express, explore, and negotiate their religious identities, beliefs, social capital, agency, legitimacy, and power through art. Along the way, we will explore images, fashion, shrines, charms, sacred space, divine power, magic, bodies, and consumption in order to develop a working knowledge of “art" in the religions of the African Atlantic world. Our explorations will take us from the so-called African “fetish” to intricately carved wooden statues from Nigeria; from sequined and beaded death masquerades in Bénin to sacred and powerful stones in Brazil, Cuba, and the United States; from powerful mojo bags, roots, and powders in the American south to Islamic-themed adornments in Sierra Leonean taxis in Washington D.C.; and from powerful charms and spirit shrines in Brooklyn to ritual art in West Africa and the Afro-Caribbean. Across these various settings, we will chronicle the ways in which religious experiences, including beliefs, anxieties, rituals, ceremonies, and cosmologies, are articulated, maintained, and even protected through material culture and the visual arts across the African Atlantic world.

Their Eyes Were Watching God book coverWe are excited to announce the second book in our suggested summer reading list, Zora Neale Hurston's classic: Their Eyes Were Watching God.

The epic tale of Janie Crawford, whose quest for identity takes her on a journey during which she learns what love is, experiences life's joys and sorrows, and comes home to herself in peace. Her passionate story prompted Alice Walker to say, "There is no book more important to me than this one."

With haunting sympathy and piercing immediacy, Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of Janie Crawford's evolving self-hood through three marriages. Light-skinned, long-haired, dreamy as a child, Janie grows up expecting better treatment than she gets until she meets Tea Cake, a younger man who engages her heart and spirit in equal measure and gives her the chance to enjoy life without being a man's mule or adornment. Though Janie's story does not end happily, it does draw to a satisfying conclusion. Janie is one black woman who doesn't have to live lost in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, instead Janie proclaims that she has done "two things everybody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' for theyselves."

Erasure book coverWe are excited to announce the first book in our summer suggested reading list: Percival Everett's Erasure: A Novel
In this satire about race and writing, that includes a book within a book, Thelonious "Monk" Ellison’s writing career has bottomed out: his latest manuscript has been rejected by seventeen publishers, which stings all the more because his previous novels have been "critically acclaimed." He seethes on the sidelines of the literary establishment as he watches the meteoric success of We’s Lives in Da Ghetto, a first novel by a woman who once visited "some relatives in Harlem for a couple of days." Meanwhile, Monk struggles with real family tragedies—his aged mother is fast succumbing to Alzheimer’s, and he still grapples with the reverberations of his father’s suicide seven years before. 
In his rage and despair, Monk dashes off a novel meant to be an indictment of Juanita Mae Jenkins’s bestseller. He doesn’t intend for My Pafology to be published, let alone taken seriously, but it is—under the pseudonym Stagg R. Leigh—and soon it becomes the Next Big Thing. How Monk deals with the personal and professional fallout galvanizes this audacious, hysterical, and quietly devastating novel.

The African and African American studies program in the Fulbright College of Arts has awarded more than $50,000 to 20 scholarship recipients for the 2014-15 academic year, including nine summer 2014 scholarships to support students participating in the program’s faculty-led study abroad to Ghana. The awardees were chosen for their outstanding academic performance, program involvement and campus/community leadership.

“The excellence that our students have achieved over the last several years has been astounding,” said Calvin White Jr, associate professor of history and director of African and African American studies.

“Our students have been admitted to top Ph.D. programs and law schools, completed nationally competitive internships and secured employment in the home offices of businesses such as Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Trucking and Walmart. Scholarship support from donors and the University of Arkansas make this possible.”

“Our scholarships help our program achieve one of its core objectives, to ensure accessibility to higher education and to study abroad experiences to Arkansas students,” said James Gigantino, assistant professor of history and chair of the program’s scholarship committee. “I am proud of all of our students for achieving so much during their time with us.” 

Kevin McClenney received the L.E. Gene and Jean Read Hudson Access Arkansas Scholarship. A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., majoring in Africa and African American studies and history, McClenney has earned a 4.0 grade point average in all major courses and is an extremely involved member of the program. Additionally, McClenney is a veteran of the United States Air Force.

“AAST has been an essential part of my great UA experience,” McClenney said. “The professors are personable and have gone out of their way to help me in every way, and all the classes are all top-notch in terms of curriculum, teaching styles and subject matter.” 

McClenney will be a part of the program’s study abroad program, “Ghana: From Kingdom, Slavery, Colonialism, Independence and Modern Development,” which is held in the summer of even-numbered years. During their pre-departure studies and their three weeks in Ghana, students discuss Ghana’s involvement in the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, colonialism, pan-Africanism and the modern world. The summer of 2014 will mark the program’s third trip to Ghana and will be co-led by White and Gigantino.

Ayana Gray, recipient of the Bayard Rustin Endowed Scholarship, will also participate in the Ghana course. An Honors College junior pursuing a combined major in African and African American studies and political science, Gray has been an active member of the program since coming to the university.

“The African and African American Studies program effect on me is multifaceted,” Gray said. “Academically, it’s been nothing short of refreshing to study in depth the continent of Africa as well as the integral role African Americans have played in America’s history.”

Gray credits the program’s influence for her decision to pursue a career in civil rights and immigration law. As part of her scholarship, she will volunteer this year at the Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology .

Scholarship recipients include:

2014-2015 Endowed Scholarships

  • LaChassity Phillips, Ronnie Brewer Endowed Scholarship
  • Michael Day, Ronnie Brewer Endowed Scholarship
  • Ayana Gray, Bayard Rustin Endowed Scholarship
  • Tomario King, Dillard’s and CDI Contractors, LLC Endowed Scholarship
  • Kassidy Boyle, Dillard’s and CDI Contractors, LLC Endowed Scholarship
  • Kevin McClenney, L.E. Gene and Jean Read Hudson Access Arkansas Scholarship

2014-2015 Academic Scholarships

  • Tonisha Brown
  • Kadeesia Crutchfield
  • Antonio Igbokidi
  • Tabitha Orr
  • Reginald Thurman
  • Kassidy Boyle
  • Rachel Dukes
  • Whitney Frierson
  • Laylah Leon
  • Dara Gaines

2014 Ghana Study Abroad Scholarships

  • Iesha Green
  • Kevin McClenney
  • Malachi Nichols
  • Shareika Pendleton
  • Janet Shields
  • Sarah Sloan
  • Christopher Warren
  • Ayana Gray
  • LaChassity Phillips

Scholarship awards are given annually to eligible students who have declared a combined major or a minor in African and African American studies. These competitive scholarships help defer the cost of books, tuition and study abroad expenses.

The African and African American studies program expands on the core disciplines of a traditional liberal arts education. Through interdisciplinary study, students may explore the legacy of the African diaspora and African-descended people’s global experiences and the importance of race with a focus on Africa, the United States and the Caribbean.

Shields and GigantinoJanet Shields, African and African American Studies and History major, was named runner up for a James Madison Fellowship. The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation offers $24,000 James Madison Graduate Fellowships to individuals desiring to become outstanding teachers of the American Constitution at the secondary school level. Fellowship applicants compete only against other applicants from the states of their legal residence. Generally, one Fellowship per state is awarded each year. Professor James Gigantino, II is the University of Arkansas representative for the fellowship and organizes informational meetings each year and mentors local applicants for the award.

Congratulations, Janet!

 We are excited to offer more classes than ever, both on-campus and online.  We have offerings for May Intersession and Summer 2014 as well as Fall 2014.  For more information, please contact mhui@uark.edu or call 479-575-2872.

12 Years a Slave panel posterPlease join us on Wednesday, April 23rd at 6:00 PM in Hembree Auditorium (AFLS E107) for a panel on 12 Years a Slave, the winner of the 2014 Academy Award "Best Picture." The film, based on the slave narrative of Solomon Northup. 

The panel will feature Dr. Jim Gigantino, assistant professor of history, Dr. Caree Banton, assistant professor of African and African American studies and history, and Dr. Lauren DeCarvalho, assistant professor of communication. 

 This event is sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta, the Department of History, the Department of Communication, African and African American Studies Program, and the King Fahd Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

AAST faculty are at it again--winning awards and research grants! Congratulations to the following faculty members.  We are proud to boast accomplished and contributing faculty in African and African American Studies!

  • Caree Banton, assistant professor of African and African American studies and history, has won a $5,000 humanities seed grant to finish her manuscript, More Auspicious Shores: Post-Emancipation Barbadian Emigrants in Pursuit of Freedom.  The study centers on Barbadians who approached a US-based colonization society to repatriate African Americans in Liberia in the early 19th century.  The society opened up its colonization efforts to West Indians and 346 Barbadians boarded ships for the new nation.  Dr. Banton's book will be the first scholarly work to tell this story.
  • James Gigantino, assistant professor of history, was awarded the Noal Faculty Award for Contribution to Graduate Education
  • Calvin White Jr., associate professor of history and director of the African and African American Studies Program, was awarded the John E. King Award for Outstanding Service

The Bluest Eye play posterOne of the premiere events of our spring semester is the annual African and African American Studies play. This year’s production,  The Bluest Eye (adapted by Lydia R. Diamond), is directed by Prof. Clinnesha D. Sibley.  The play will run at the Arkansas Union Theater Sunday, April 13th at 2:30 PM (talkback following) and Monday, April 14th at 7:30 PM (reception following).  Admission is free. 

2014 Summer Online coursesAfrican & African American Studies is excited to offer several online courses this summer.  
Please see the flyer below for information on our online offerings for summer 2014.

Brown Bag Lecture Series posterIt is our great pleasure to announce the spring lineup for the African & African American Studies Program's Brown Bag Lecture Series. Please join us at these gatherings--bring your lunch and listen to the dynamic academic lectures. Here is the remaining schedule for this spring:

  • Wednesday, March 19th, 1pm, Old Main 412, Benjamin Fagan, Assistant Professor of  African & African American Studies and English, “The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation”
  • Wednesday, April 2, 1pm, Old Main 412, Calvin White Jr. , Associate Professor of History and Director of the African & African American Studies Program, "Oscar DePriest, One Among Many: A Black Congressman Amongst Segregationists”

Brown Bag Lecture Series posterThe African and African American Studies Program invites you to join us for our final Brown Bag lecture of this semester.  Dr. Calvin White Jr. Associate Professor of History and Director of African & African American Studies will be presenting on “Oscar DePriest, One Among Many: A Black Congressman Amongst Segregationists."  We look forward to seeing you this Wednesday at 1 PM in Old Main 412.

FaganBenjamin Fagan, assistant professor of African and African American studies and English, has won a National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Library Company in Philadelphia, Penn. The program awards up to four fellowships a year chosen from a national pool of candidates.

“Dr. Fagan has a way of putting his honors to use not only in his own research but also in the service of others,” said Dorothy Stephens, chair of the department of English. “His students understand their own lives better when they delve into the history of African American print culture.”

“Upon his arrival, Ben made an immediate impact. He helped to expand our course offerings and his classes have become extremely popular,” said Calvin White Jr., director of the African and African American studies program. “His interaction with students is simply amazing, and we congratulate him on this high honor. Ben’s research is indicative of the interdisciplinary work going on in Fulbright.”

Fagan will step out of the classroom from January until May 2015 for this residential fellowship. He will spend this time to work on his book, The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation, which examines how the institutional and material forms of black newspapers helped shape ideas of black chosenness in the decades before the Civil War. 

In conjunction with his teaching and research focus on early African American literature and print cultures, Fagan’s course offerings at the University of Arkansas have included “African American Literature and the Media,” “The American Renaissance in Black and White” and “The Black Atlantic.”

Fagan holds a joint appointment in the African and African American Studies program and the department of English in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. He has won fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies and the American Antiquarian Society. His work has appeared in journals such as Comparative American Studiesand American Periodicals, and in 2012 he was awarded the Best Article Prize by the Research Society for American Periodicals.

Located in Center City Philadelphia, the Library Company is America's oldest cultural institution and served as the Library of Congress from the Revolutionary War to 1800. It was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731 and was the largest public library in America until the Civil War. 

The holdings include the nation’s second largest collection of pre-1801 American imprints and one of the largest collections of 18th-century British books in America. It holds more than half a million rare books and graphics that are capable of supporting research in a variety of fields and disciplines relating to the history of America and the Atlantic world in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. 

Rutgers University Press has contracted Dr. James Gigantino II to edit a new collection on revolutionary American History. Nine essays make up the book, The American Revolution in New Jersey:  Where the Battlefront Meets the Homefront, which pulls on extensive archival research and the newest approaches to the study of revolutionary America. The American Revolution in New Jersey breaks new ground in showing the powerful impact of the American Revolution on New Jersey’s diverse population.  Long understood as the “cockpit of the American Revolution,” this volume illustrates how the battlefront and the homefront regularly intersected in New Jersey during the Revolution.  Each essay vividly shows the importance of the Revolution in the lives of average New Jerseyans and connects these important local issues to larger national trends to demonstrate the integral role the Revolution played in the Garden State.  One reviewer indicated that the collection “provides an important contribution to the history of the Revolutionary Era in New Jersey and offers important ideas and themes that are applicable to the study of the American Revolution more generally.  What stands out in all of these essays is the strong use of primary research, often in little known or under used archival collections.”
 
In a state with divided loyalties that often pitted neighbor against neighbor and made the state a literal battleground for seven long years, this wartime experience dramatically affected how New Jerseyans understood their world.  The essays in the volume explore how New Jerseyans dealt with living in the cockpit of the Revolution by examining the role of the militia in everyday life, the development of illegal trade networks between American and British lines, and how various industries managed to survive despite the realities of war.  In a larger sense, the essays explore how the Revolution had a long-term impact on the course of the state’s history by illustrating how the war impacted wealth acquisition, the place of African Americans and abolition in the state, and the lives of the thousands of New Jerseyans who remained loyal to the King. 
 
Congratulations Dr. Gigantino!

 More than 50 classes offered by the African studies department at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have been revealed to be nonexistent, but professors at the UofA said UA students can be assured their degrees will not lose value.
At the UofA, the department of African and African American studies is one of the fastest growing programs in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
 “Their program is very different than ours,” said Calvin White Jr., an associate professor of history at the UofA.
The department offers more than 40 courses that focus in fields ranging from various humanities to fine arts and social sciences, said Misti Nicole Harper, a graduate assistant for the African and African American studies program at the UofA.
“Our program focuses on expanding the core disciplines offered by the university to engage debate and advance social awareness, as well as support excellence in the classroom,” she said.
Students involved with the African American studies program at the UofA compete for scholarships based on merit and program involvement. Students have been awarded scholarships to travel to countries, such as Ghana, Cameroon, Greece and England.
“My experience with the AAST program here at the U of A has given me a much needed foundation in my future scholarship, and the professors truly care,” said Kevin Morris, an African and African American studies major at the UofA. “I’ve had opportunities to take classes that aren’t offered at many other universities, as well as foster relationships with professors that have helped me with securing fellowships, independent study opportunities and graduate school preparation.”
The classes at UNC, which were apparently very popular with student-athletes, were instructed by professors who had not supervised or graded the work. Professor Julius Nyang’oro, the African Studies department chair at UNC, is under indictment for fraud, and the head football coach has been fired.
“The academic fraud at UNC comes as a great shock to me, with the institution’s nationwide perception of excellence,” Morris said. “I believe this to be a blip on larger scale of academic departments and really won’t see many issues moving forward where future employment, or in my case, graduate school admission is concerned.”
UNC has accepted responsibility for the years of phony classes that were predominantly taken by student-athletes.
The UA program does not seem to bear any significant relationship to the student-athlete population, Harper said.
“Of our 100 majors and minors, 2 percent are student-athletes,” Harper said.
The fraudulent classes were revealed after a suspended UNC-Chapel Hill football player sued to have his eligibility restored, resulting in a thorough examination of his coursework. After a paper he had submitted for a Swahili class, allegedly taught by Nyang’oro, was confirmed as plagiarized, multiple independent investigations revealed the truth about the program.
“Whether or not these courses were created at the behest of the athletic department, it is obvious to everyone that it’s related to athletics,” said Frank Baumgartner, a political science professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
 There were 200 classes dating as far back as the mid 1990s that had little to no evidence of instruction. Investigations also revealed approximately 500 unauthorized grade changes.
“There is no evidence that the anomalous courses were initiated in order to benefit athletes, but close to half who did enroll were student-athletes,” said Carol Folt, chancellor of UNC. “The unsupervised courses were not reflective of the standards that we expect for our university.”
Eight percent of a sample of UNC students that play football and basketball were reading below a third grade level, according to research by Mary Willingham, instructor of education. Mary Willingham is fighting to continue research on the literacy of UNC-Chapel Hill student-athletes.
Read the full story at http://www.uatrav.com/news/article_a6da34de-87ae-11e3-90b3-001a4bcf6878.html.

The African American Journey to Islam posterThe African American Journey to Islam

Featuring
Dr. Richard Turner
 
Feb 28th at 3pm
Giffels Auditorium in Old Main

 
Reception from Petra Café
Sponsored by
Al-Islam Students Association
King Fahd Center for Middle Eastern Studies
African & African American Studies
University of Arkansas Multicultural Center
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA

This event is free to current UofA Fayetteville student as supported by the ASG through the Office of Student Activities and funded by the Student Activities Fees. For questions, contact the ASG at 479-575-5205

The African and African American Studies is excited to have our Brown Bag lecture series featured in the Winter 2014 edition of The Fulbright Review. Click here to see the story.  Our Brown Bag series for Spring 2014 kicks off Wednesday, February 5th.

Coffee with the Professors posterPlease join us on Wednesday, February 19th in Memorial Hall 230 for Coffee with the Professors from 1:00-3:00 PM.  This is a great opportunity to meet with your professors and classmates in a casual setting. You can find out more information about our program and upcoming opportunities to get involved.  We'll have coffee and refreshments available. We look forward to seeing you there! 

For more information, please e-mail Mary Margaret Hui at mhui@uark.edu or call 479-575-2872

42 film screening posterSankofa, the African and African American Studies RSO, is partnering with University Programs (UP) to present the movie 42: The Jackie Robinson Story on Thursday, February 20th at 7:30 PM in the UP Theater of the Arkansas Union.  Pizza and drinks will be provided! This movie is part of the UP African American Movie Series.

For more information, please contact Abby MacDonald at ahmacdon@uark.edu.

The Remnant Trust Inc. logoDr. Fagan will be giving a lecture next Wednesday, February 12th at 3:00 PM as part of Mullins Library’s Remnant Trust Series on Frederick Douglass’s My Bondage and My Freedom.For more information, click here.

Sankofa Sock Drive posterWe're now collecting socks for Sankofa's (the African and African American Studies registered student organization) inaugural sock drive to provide warmth to those in need for the colder winter months.  You may bring sock donations to our office in Memorial Hall 230 until February 13th. All donations will be given to 7 Hills Homeless Shelter for distribution. 

For more information, please contact Abby MacDonald, President of Sankofa, ahmacdon@uark.edu.

McGheeHannah McGhee, a junior in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, is studying Italian language and race relations in Italy in spring 2014. She is chronicling her experience at Il Mio Semestre all'Estero, a blog that helps her to stay connected with her peers in Arkansas and engage students across campus.  McGhee will be studying at the Universita degli Studi della Tuscia in Viterbo, a 12th century town about 60 miles north of Rome. Her coursework will not only help improve her Italian language skills, but will also intersect with her interest in race relations as she completes a bachelor of arts in journalism with a minor in African and African American studies. The African and African American studies program awarded her a study abroad scholarship to support her academic experience.  “We were extremely pleased to be able to support Ms. McGhee in her dream to study abroad in Italy,” said Calvin White, Jr, program director and associate professor of history. “She is one of the program’s many students who have made a commitment to study the importance of race in our global community. We are proud to see students like Hannah excel in the classroom and make African and African American studies one of Fulbright College’s fastest growing programs.”  “The African and African American Studies program is especially interested in ensuring that our students receive a truly global education,” said James Gigantino, assistant professor of history and chair of the program’s scholarship committee. “Following the model of Sen. Fulbright, African and African American studies has financially supported its students through study abroad scholarships for the last five years. Students like Hannah have studied in the United Kingdom, Turkey, Cameroon and Tanzania, as well as participated in the program’s own faculty-taught study abroad in Ghana, held every other summer since 2010.”  McGhee is originally from Memphis, Tenn., and came to the University of Arkansas in 2011. She has been named to the Dean’s and Chancellor’s List and maintains a strong record of extra-curricular engagement in addition to her classroom success. McGhee is a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and served as their new member coordinator in 2013. She was a student ambassador in 2012 and an ambassador to the Razorback football team in 2013, and she encourages health and fitness by serving as a yoga instructor and certified personal trainer.  The African and African American studies program expands on the core disciplines of a traditional liberal arts education. Through interdisciplinary study, students may explore the legacy of the African diaspora and African-descended people’s global experiences and the importance of race with a focus on Africa, the United States and the Caribbean.  The program coordinates the “Ghana: From Kingdom, Slavery, Colonialism, Independence, and Modern Development” course every other summer through the university’s Office of Study Abroad. During their pre-departure studies and their three weeks in Ghana, students discuss Ghana’s involvement in the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, colonialism, pan-Africanism and the modern world. The summer of 2014 will mark the program’s third trip to Ghana.  

Ghana Study Abroad posterAre you interested in participating in our study abroad program? It is not too late. Applications for the study abroad program are being accepted through February 1st.  This application is separate from AAST’s scholarship application.  You can apply online at http://studyabroad.uark.edu/ghana  To help answer any questions  you have about the program and to provide more information, we’re hosting an informational meeting Wednesday, January 29th at 3:30 PM in Memorial Hall 230.  If you’re planning on attending, it is mandatory for you to attend at least one informational meeting.  If you’ve already attended one this past school year (fall 2013), you’re welcome to attend this one but it is not required. If you were accepted through priority registration and have still not attended an informational meeting, this one is the last opportunity or your acceptance status will be changed to rejection. For more information or questions, please e-mail mhui@uark.edu.

AAST Scholarship DeadlineApplications are now being accepted for African and African American Studies Program Scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year and to support participation in our Summer 2014 Ghana Study Abroad Program. Below you will find the applications for returning students, study abroad, and new students. Please note that there are three different applications. As a declared minor/combined major in African and African American Studies, you are eligible to apply for a scholarship.

The new student scholarship application is for students applying for a scholarship to support their studies in the 2014-2015 academic year who have never received a scholarship from the program before. The returning student scholarship application is for students applying for a scholarship to support their studies in the 2014-2015 academic year who have received a scholarship from the program in the past. The study abroad scholarship application is for students applying for awards to be used towards the Summer 2014 Ghana study abroad program. Students who are selected to receive a Ghana Study Abroad scholarship may not also receive a new or returning student scholarship for 2014-2015. However, students who will be enrolled for the 2014-2015 academic year and are intending to enroll in the Ghana study abroad program are encouraged to complete two applications, one for the 2014-2015 scholarship and the other for the Ghana Study Abroad Scholarship, in case their study abroad plans change. As you apply, please be sure to follow the guidelines stated on the application. Students applying are required to provide two letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty members of the African and African American Studies program. All applicants are required to submit an official transcript including their Fall 2013 grades. Additionally, please keep in mind that our scholarships are selected upon academic merit and program involvement. The deadline for the application is January 29, 2014. We look forward to your applications. If you have any further questions, please e-mail Dr. Gigantino at jgiganti@uark.edu.

SibleyClinnesha D. Sibley, playwright, director and educator, will bring a different kind of keynote address to the 18th annual Recommitment Banquet, hosted by the Northwest Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Council. Sibley will direct her original one-act play, Bound by Blood, featuring University of Arkansas student actors Britney Walker-Merritte and Brandyn Smith.  The play is part of Sibley’s trilogy King Me: Three One Act Plays Inspired by the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The play is set in the South, with characters and themes that dramatize one of King’s best known quotes.  Sibley is assistant professor of drama in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. Walker-Merritte is a first-year M.F.A. acting candidate and Smith is a second-year M.F.A. directing candidate, both in the drama department.  The Recommitment Banquet will be held at 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 20, in the Fayetteville Town Center, on the south side of the Fayetteville Square. Ticket information is available at 479-575-4825 or at www.nwamlk.org/mlk-banquet/tickets.  The Northwest Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Council strives to promote awareness, education, and unity throughout the Northwest Arkansas community.

KingTomario King, a senior Industrial Engineering major with a minor in African and African American Studies, has written a new song entitled, “These Are Our Heroes (The Middle Passage).”  Inspired by his study abroad to Ghana in summer 2012, “These Are Our Heroes (The Middle Passage)” illustrates the effect of the program on Tomario and other past participants.  His original lyrics capture the history and the impact of trans-Atlantic slave trade. The song draws from Tomario’s journey and provides an intimate, artistic expression of how this program shaped perspective on the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  Tying the present day to events that took place centuries before, “These Are Our Heroes (The Middle Passage)” encourages others to go and experience what he has seen. Click here to download "These Are Our Heroes (The Middle Passage)"  The Ghana study abroad program is a bi-annual summer program with the African and African American Studies Program.  Students who participate earn 6 hours of academic credit while traveling the west African country of Ghana.  Course material focuses on the trans-Atlantic slave trade and Ghana’s independence. While the basis of this trip is academic, the experience is a life-changing program that follows the route of slave traders across the span of the country. Tomario excels in the classroom, as he is the recipient of several scholarships including the Engineering Career Awareness Program (ECAP) and the Dillard’s and CDI Contractors, LLC Endowed Scholar.  His participation in the African and African American Studies Ghana study abroad program was supported by the AAST Study Abroad scholarship.  As this song’s composition and performance demonstrates, Tomario’s talents exceed the classroom.  For more information regarding the Ghana Study Abroad program, please visit http://studyabroad.uark.edu/ghana Applications are being accepted until February 1, 2014.

DismuteWe would like to extend our congratulations to Brandon Rashad Dismute. Not only is he graduating this month with a Bachelor of Arts in African and African American Studies and Political Science with a minor in General Business, but he is bound for a graduate degree studying urban planning in Buffalo, NY beginning in the spring semester 2014!  As a student of Dr. Dowe and Dr. White, Brandon remained active in our program throughout his academic career at the U of A.  We are extremely proud to name yet another alumni of our program seeking a graduate/professional degree.

Best of luck, Brandon! 

Language, Globalization, and the Making of a Tanzanian Beauty Queen book coverIn Language, Globalization and the Making of a Tanzanian Beauty Queen, University of Arkansas researcher Sabrina Billings looks at Tanzanian beauty pageants as a place where women use verbal and non-verbal communication to struggle for mobility, access to education and a place in the global world.

Billings found that Tanzanian beauty pageants differ significantly from those in western cultures because they are socially progressive events that in many cases provide contestants with an opportunity to access an education and social mobility that would otherwise be impossible.

“The women who participated in my study typically want a life different from their mothers — they don’t want to be beholden to a man whom they consider dishonest, controlling or abusive and they want to be able to have a career and make their own money,” said Billings. “They seek independent, stylish and modern lives, away from paternal or conjugal authority, and English is often understood as a critical tool in fashioning their own, mobile futures.”

Language, Globalization and the Making of a Tanzanian Beauty Queen grew out of Billings’s dissertation research, which was prompted by a chance encounter she had with a Tanzanian beauty pageant in her second year of graduate school. Because of her background in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, Billings became interested in the way that language is used as a tool in the struggle for power and change in this unexpected social location.  

The study of pageant participants’ communication gave way to a much larger study of gender, inequality, opportunity, and cosmopolitanism in Tanzania.  

“Swahili is the national language and the most common language spoken by contestants and other pageant participants. However, English is seen as the ticket, and in many cases it is the ticket,” said Billings. “English is a cornerstone of pageant success, yet what that English sounds like, and what speaking it means in these events, is informed by a complex of local ideologies, practices and institutions.”  

The use of English, then, is a way that participants present themselves within the pageant setting by communicating their social and educational status in the hopes that this skill will prove their worth in a globalized world.  

The ways in which English is used is often not what we consider to be proper or Standard English, but still conveys information about the participants’ status, education and the like, wrote Billings. “More often than not, these varieties serve contestants well in conveying to audiences and judges information about themselves they wish to be known.”  

Accordingly, in many cases those who come into the pageant as the socially “elite” participants end up winning and moving on to the global pageants, as their access to linguistic and semiotic resources stands out in comparison to other participants.

Billings found that though participants’ use of hybridized or non-standard English may demonstrate a relatively elite social status within a specific, local setting, its value often plummets when it’s relocated to a more national, global or institutionalized setting. Local and hybridized varieties of English, Billings said, “typically do not help speakers much in their quest to change the material reality of their lives, but instead afford their users rather slim opportunities for social or geographic mobility.”

Though the participants of Tanzanian pageants may not necessarily be successful by Western standards, pageants still provide women with other, unique opportunities to become a part of a more globalized world.  

For example, participants engage in displays of cosmopolitanism to consciously mark themselves as knowledgeable of Western norms. In addition to their use of English, they become globalized citizens through their interpretation of western body image — including standards of weight, style and fashion, and use of make-up products like skin-lightening cream. They also demonstrate their concern with global issues such as HIV/AIDS, homelessness and child abuse.  

The adoption and display of western norms has not gone uncontested, though. Some citizens of Tanzania consider beauty pageants and independent women to be a threat to society by undermining masculine authority. Accordingly, beauty pageants are still largely monitored by the state and continue to reflect official Tanzanian national culture. This manifests, most visibly, through the policing of language and the female body.  

Billings is an assistant professor of world languages, literatures, and cultures and the director of the Swahili language program in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. Language, Globalization and the Making of a Tanzanian Beauty Queen was published by Multilingual Matters.

WhiteAnother round of congratulations for our program director, Dr. Calvin White, Jr! He was recently named to the Board of Directors for the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. Congratulations, Dr. White!  The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation honors the legacy of former Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller who once said, "Every citizen has the duty to be informed, to be thoughtfully concerned, and to participate in the search for solutions."  The foundation's mission to carry out this legacy and to serve as a catalyst for furthering the mission of the University of Arkansas system by bringing together people of diverse ideas and interests to address subjects of state, regional, national, and international importance.  

Ghana Study Abroad posterPlease join us Tuesday, December 3rd at 3:00 PM in Memorial Hall 230 for an informational meeting for the Ghana Summer 2014 study abroad trip! If you're interested about our program or curious to know more about it, we encourage you to attend.  If you’re planning on attending, it is mandatory for you to attend at least one informational meeting.  For more information or questions, please e-mail mhui@uark.edu or check out our page on the study abroad website http://studyabroad.uark.edu/ghanahistory. We look forward to seeing you!

Coffee with the Professors posterPlease join the African and African American Studies Program for Coffee with the Professors on Tuesday, December 3rd from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Suite 230, Memorial Hall.  We'll have coffee and light refreshments in our new office space. This is a great opportunity to talk with your professors, staff, and fellow students in a casual atmosphere.  For more information, please call 479-575-2872 or e-mail mxh040@uark.edu.

 The University of Mississippi Center for the Study of Southern Culture is seeking proposals for the conference "Songwriting and the South: Music of the South Conference" that will gather scholars, including graduate students, to share current research on the culture, meaning, and practices surrounding songwriting in and from the American South.  The conference will be held on April 2-3, 2014 and proposals are due by January 15, 2014. For more information, click here.

 The African and African American Studies Program is excited to announce the cast of our spring play, Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, adapted by Lydia Diamond and directed by Prof. Clinnesha D. Sibley. Performances will be April 13th at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM and April 14th at 7:30 PM.  For a complete list of the cast, please click here.

 We are excited to announce that we have two new online courses beginning this spring.  AAST 499V:  The African American Experience (Instructor: Mary Margaret Hui) is a self-paced online course that is paced by the student within a 12-week period. Students may begin the course at various start dates throughout the year, which are typically offered once a month.  This is a great option for getting a head start on your courses over breaks or within a semester.  The African American Experience is an interdisciplinary survey of African American Culture and you can enroll here.  Additionally, we will offer AAST 499V: African Americans in Sports (Instructor: Carl Riley) is a semester-based class similar to a typical course in the semester paced by the instructor that meets online.  This course will trace African American sport participation from slavery to the New Millennium and analyze historical and contemporary issues facing African American athletes. You can enroll for this course via ISIS.  For more information, please see our flyer or e-mail Mary Margaret Hui.

 Students, the course schedules for the January Intersession/Spring 2014 terms are now available.  Please click here to view the course list.  If you have any questions regarding your degree plan and/or program of study, please contact the academic advisors in the Fulbright College Advising Center.

Annual Spring Play Auditions posterOne of the many highlights of our program is the annual play and we've begun planning for the 2014 spring production! If you saw Waiting to be Invited last year, you know what a great production and opportunity for involvement this is.  We encourage you to get involved and audition.  Auditions for the play will be held on November 6th and 7th at 6:30 PM in Kimpel Hall 402.  There is NO preparation necessary! Please arrive 5-10 minutes early and dress comfortably.  The play's director, Prof. Clinnesha Sibley, will oversee the auditions.  For more information, please e-mail Prof. Sibley at dillon@uark.edu.

 We will be having the second installment of our Brown Bag Lecture series this Wednesday, November 6th at noon in Old Main 412.  Dr. Caree Banton, Assistant Professor of History and African & African American Studies will present “Shifting Frontiers of Freedom, Citizenship, and Nationhood in Caribbean Post-Emancipation and the African Diaspora." Please bring your lunch and join us for this presentation!

Dr. Arrington and Dr. Billings have joined with Dr. Jozkowski to establish an Honors Course entitled "Health and Gender in Sub-Saharan Africa." This course is one of seven new interdisciplinary courses offered for spring 2014. It will challenge students to consider how Western biomedical approaches fit and don't fit in addressing public health issues in sub-Saharan Africa.  Case studies on topics such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic, female circumcision, water-borne diseases, reproductive health and breastfeeding/infant nutrition will help students understand how different cultural norms and especially gender impact ongoing public health crises.

For more information on the interdisciplinary courses, please see the full Newswire story here.

GenderMargaret Gender, this year's recipient of the African and African American Studies study abroad scholarship, is spending the fall 2013 semester abroad in Cameroon.  An African and African American Studies and French major, Margaret is an honors student studying social pluralism, development, and French with SIT Study Abroad in Cameroon.  This semester, she will be blogging her experiences to stay connected with the U of A campus.

Click here to read her blog.  The full Newswire story of Margaret's achievements and involvement with the program can be found at this link.  If you're interested in having academic experiences like Margaret's abroad, please check out our study abroad program to Ghana, launching for the third time this summer 2014!

Murphy-ErbyDr. Yvette Murphy-Erby, Interim Associate Dean of Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Social Work, is one of four University of Arkansas faculty members selected as fellows for the 2013-2014 Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program, a part of SECU, the conference's academic initiative.  The SEC Academic Leadership Development Program seeks to identify, prepare, and advance academic leaders for roles within SEC institutions and beyond.  This year a total of 49 faculty and administration members were selected to take part in the program.  For more information about the program, please click here.

Congratulations to Dr. Murphy-Erby! 

Coffee with the Professors posterThe African and African American Studies Program invites you to join us for "Coffee with the Professors" Tuesday, October 1st, from 11 AM-1 PM.  The event will be at Big Momma's Coffee House, located at 609 W. Dickson ST (behind Qdoba).  We'll provide coffee, snacks, and other refreshments while you connect with your professors and classmates in a casual setting. This is a great time to find out more about our program and the upcoming study abroad trip as well as spring classes.  We look forward to seeing you there! Big Momma's is within walking distance from the UofA.  Here are directions from Old Main. https://goo.gl/maps/3RNnj

Charles H. Adams, associate dean of academic affairs and international programs in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, will step down from this position after a 14-year tenure. In his place the college will gain two interim associate deans.

Yvette Murphy-Erby, director of the School of Social Work, has been appointed interim associate dean for academics effective Sept. 6. Marcia Shobe, professor of social work, will serve as the school's director during Murphy-Erby's absence.

In an effort to accommodate the tremendous growth in Fulbright College, Lynda Coon, professor of history, will also join the administrative staff. She will serve in an advisory capacity while on research leave during the fall semester and become interim associate dean beginning in January to help meet additional needs in academic affairs and administration.

"I am pleased that these two outstanding educators, researchers and administrators will be joining the Fulbright College dean's office," said Provost Sharon Gaber. "Dr. Coon and Dr. Muphy-Erby are proven leaders within their academic units, and I know they will bring the same expertise to the Fulbright College dean's office."

Before joining the University of Arkansas faculty in 2004, Murphy-Erby had almost 20 years of social work experience, focused primarily on child welfare issues. Prior to her appointment as the director of the School of Social Work in 2011, she served as the school's associate director and director of the bachelor in social work program.

Coon completed a five-year term as chair of the department of history in June. She is currently working on a new book on imagining Jesus in the Dark Ages (ca. 300-900). Her last book, Dark Age Bodies: Gender and Monastic Practice in the Early Medieval West was published in 2011. She has been at the university since 1990.

Adams will serve as a professor in the college's department of English. He will also work with international educators across campus to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and initiatives.

"Dr. Adams has a long history with international education," said Todd Shields, dean of the Graduate School and International Education and interim dean of Fulbright College. "He has worked to enhance the university's 20-year partnership with Shimane University in Japan. He was also instrumental in expanding humanities offerings at the University of Arkansas Rome Center, a very successful program started by the Fay Jones School of Architecture in the 1980s."

Ghana Study AbroadAre you interested in our summer study abroad program to Ghana? We would love for you to apply for summer 2014!  Our first event in preparation for the study abroad program is the Study Abroad Fair on Sept. 24th from 10 AM-2 PM in the International Connections Lounge of the Union, and we would love for you to be able to stop by ask questions and get information.  We'll have information on scholarships, travel dates, applications, and have past students and our faculty leaders available for questions.  If you're still interested but unable to stop by the fair, please e-mail mhui@uark.edu for more information.

Provost Sharon Gaber has appointed Stacy Leeds, dean of the School of Law, to chair the search committee for the new dean of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

“We look forward to launching the search for the leader of our largest college,” said Gaber, the vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Given the growing national reputation of the University of Arkansas and Fulbright College, we have no doubt that we will attract excellent candidates.”

The former dean of Fulbright College, Robin Roberts, is returning to the English faculty this fall. Todd Shields, dean of the university’s Graduate School and International Education and professor of political science in Fulbright College, currently serves as interim dean.

“Provost Gaber has assembled an outstanding committee that represents not only Fulbright College but the campus community and our alumni constituents,” said Leeds.

The search committee includes the following members:

  • Denise Beike, department chair, psychological science
  • Sidney Burris, professor, English, director of Fulbright College Honors Program
  • Jackson Cothren, associate professor, geosciences, director of Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies
  • Lewis Epley, former chairman of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees
  • Hershey Garner, Fulbright College advisory council
  • Julio Gea-Banacloche, department chair, physics
  • Jeannie Hulen, department chair, art
  • Brinck Kerr, professor, political science, director of public policy Ph.D. program
  • Daniel Levine, professor, classics
  • Ronda Mains, department chair, music
  • Yvette Murphy-Erby, director of school of social work
  • Katy Nelson-Ginder, assistant vice chancellor of development for external relations
  • Ines Pinto, associate professor, biological sciences
  • Doug Rhoads, representative, College Cabinet, professor, biological sciences
  • John Ryan, professor, mathematical sciences
  • Julie Stenken, professor, chemistry and biochemistry
  • Peter Ungar, department chair, anthropology
  • Kathy Van Laningham, vice provost for planning
  • Elliott West, distinguished professor, history, Alumni Chair in Arts and Sciences
  • Calvin White, associate professor, history, director of African and African American studies

Fulbright College is the largest and most diverse academic unit on campus with 19 departments, 23 academic programs and 11 research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all students attending the university and is named for Fulbright, a former president of the university and longtime U.S. senator. Additional information about the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas is available at fulbright.uark.edu.

This fall, African and African American Studies will welcome three new joint-appointment faculty members in History, Sociology, and Social Work.

  • Dr. Caree Banton (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) will be teaching courses on Afro-Caribbean history. 
  • Dr. Brandon Jackson (Ph.D., Florida State University) will be teaching areas in African American sociology. 
  • Dr. Valandra (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) will teach courses covering African American issues in social work.

We are thrilled to welcome these talented faculty members to our program and invite our students to enroll in their courses!

gigantinoProfessor James Gigantino has recently signed a contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press to publish his book,Freedom and Slavery in the Garden of America: African Americans and Abolition in New Jersey, 1775-1861, as part of its Early American Studies series that is published in partnership with the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Gigantino’s book explores slavery’s long life and slow death in New Jersey. He vividly shows how northerners clung tightly to slavery, participated in the domestic slave trade, and twisted the state’s abolition laws into helping them create new forms of bondage. His work questions much of what historians know about early America by problematizing the long-held notion of a “free north.” This allows him to challenge historical understandings of the formation of free black communities, the second abolition movement, and divisions among the states leading up to the Civil War. PENN Press’s faculty editorial board describes Professor Gigantino’s forthcoming book as “groundbreaking.”

GenderMargaret Gender, recipient of the AAST Study Abroad Scholarship, is originally from Kirkwood, Mo. Pursuing a combined major in French and African and African American studies and a member of the Honors College, she has an extraordinary performance record throughout her tenure at the University of Arkansas. Her passion for African and African American studies is evident in and out of the classroom. While she excels at her studies, she is also involved non-academic activities, recently serving as a cast member in the program’s annual spring play, Waiting to be Invited. Gender plans to use her scholarship toward a program in Cameroon during the fall of 2013.  While in country, she will study social pluralism, development, and culture."  Being in this program has really made me stay at the University of Arkansas,” said Gender. “I have found a home and support in my collegiate studies.”

We wish Margaret the best on her trip to Cameroon.  Look for her blog next fall where she will share her experience abroad.  If you are interested in study abroad opportunities like Margaret’s, stay tuned for information to come on our Ghana study abroad program for Summer 2014.  We will be offering competitive scholarships as well for our program.

Robinson IIUniversity of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart has announced that Charles F. Robinson II has been named vice chancellor for diversity and community.

Robinson, 47, is a history professor and currently serves as vice provost for diversity affairs within the university’s division of academic affairs. In the latter role, he serves as one of nine members of the chancellor’s executive committee, the university’s senior policy advisory council.

“Dr. Robinson has a well-deserved reputation as a scholar, mentor and higher education advocate in Arkansas and beyond,” Gearhart said. “This promotion reflects both Dr. Robinson’s leadership within the executive committee and on campus as well as the centrality of his office’s work to the university’s goals and objectives.

“I appreciate Chancellor Gearhart’s decision and the confidence he and Provost Sharon Gaber continue to place in me,” Robinson said. “I have a great respect for them and my colleagues. More important, I have a strong commitment to helping the University of Arkansas provide even greater educational opportunities and resources to the people of our state.”

In his new role, Robinson will continue to lead and coordinate the university's diversity initiatives. Those include facilitating the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, faculty and staff and enhancing the university’s diverse, multicultural nature and climate. In addition, Robinson will have administrative responsibility for the university’s office of equal opportunity and compliance. He will be one of six vice chancellors advising Gearhart on all campus issues.

Robinson’s promotion takes effect on July 1.

“We have made tremendous progress in our diversity efforts in recent years,” Gearhart said. “This promotion reflects a redoubling of our commitment to further expand the U of A’s inclusive and diverse community of scholars.”  

Robinson received his bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Houston. He earned a master’s degree in history from Rice University and a doctoral degree in history from the University of Houston.

Robinson’s 22-year career in higher education began at Houston (Texas) Community College, where he taught for nine years. Since joining the U of A in 1999, he has achieved the rank of full professor of history and has served as director of the university’s African and African American studies program.

In his tenure at the University of Arkansas, Robinson has been awarded the Fulbright College Master Teacher Award, the Arkansas Alumni Distinguished Teacher Award, and the Student Alumni Board Teacher of the Year Award. He has also been cited for excellence and inducted into the university's Teaching Academy. In 2006, Robinson received the Black Students Association’s Lonnie R. Williams Bridging Excellence Award. Robinson also received the Martin Luther King Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award from the MLK Council of Northwest Arkansas.

Robinson has published three scholarly works: Dangerous Liaisons: Sex and Love in the Segregated South;Forsaking All Others: Interracial Love, Violence, Betrayal and Revenge in the Post Civil War South; and Remembrances in Black: Personal Perspectives of the African American Experience at the University of Arkansas, 1940s-2000s. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Robinson has self-published a historical fiction,Engaging Missouri: An Epic Drama of Love, Honor and Redemption across the Color Line.

Multiculturalism and Social Justice Symposium posterOn Tuesday and Wednesday, June 11 & 12, 2013, at the Guesthouse International Hotel in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the College of Education and Health Professions launches its Inaugural Symposium on Multiculturalism and Social Justice:“Stepping Out, Stumbling, and Stepping Out Again: Classrooms, Conversations, and Communities.”

The Symposium begins Tuesday (June 11) evening at the Guesthouse International with a “Meet and Greet” from 5:00-7:00 PM

On Wednesday, June 12, a full day (7:45 AM – 3:30 PM) is planned including

  • keynote speaker Dr. Angela Webster-Smith, author and associate professor at the University of Central Arkansas;
  • breakout sessions on classrooms and conversations;
  • and a panel of community-based  speakers to address the varied realities and their unique meanings for social justice in Arkansas.

Breakfast, lunch and snacks are included.

Informative and interactive, the Symposium has been designed to promote and further a social justice agenda that encompasses the unique, multifaceted realities across our state.  A major goal is to initiate dialogue regarding equity and social justice in Arkansas among state educators and community leaders.  This event will be held annually to further this mission.

For sponsorship information please click here. For the symposium's flyer, please click here.

For more information, please contact Janelle Amos at jamos@uark.edu or call 479-575-7244

PerkinsCongratulations to Brent Perkins, who has been accepted into the University of Mississippi History graduate program.  Perkins is a History major with a minor in African and African American Studies, and was initiated into the prestigious honor society, Phi Beta Kappa this spring.  He will pursue his Masters degree under the direction of Dr. Charles Ross, head of the University of Mississippi African Americans Studies department.  Dr. Ross' expertise on African Americans in Sports will guide Perkins' own research topic, the impact of Negro League baseball.  Perkins credits the African and African American Studies program at the University of Arkansas for preparing him in "countless ways" to advance his academic career.  He states that without this program and the leadership of Dr. Calvin White, Jr., he would have "never discovered this passion for the history of African American involvement and success in this country."

Congratulations again to Brent, and best of luck at the University of Mississippi!

Morris IIThe African and African American studies program in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences announced the acceptance of Kevin P. Morris II into the African American Literature and Cultures Institute at the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

Morris is a junior pursuing bachelor of arts with a combined major in African and African American studies and philosophy. A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from Crenshaw High School and expects to graduate from the university in May 2014. 

The African American Literatures and Cultures Institute’s mission is to cultivate a diverse subset of students to join the American professoriate. This highly competitive program provides rigorous writing and research training to its students in preparation for doctorate programs, offers research stipends and immerses junior scholars in the basics of African American literature. 

“My parents laid a strong foundation for me in regards to African American history and culture,” said Morris. “While at the University of Arkansas, I have had the luxury of having professors who thought outside of the box, and it solidified my desire to become a professor.”

Classical ethical theory, existentialism, literature, Hip-Hop and performance all contribute to Morris’ approach to African American studies. He chose the University of Arkansas because it combined his love for African American studies and philosophy and offered the best place for him to grow.

This spring, Morris served as the dramaturge for the African and African American studies program’s sixth spring production, Waiting to Be Invited, directed by Clinnesha Sibley, associate professor of drama. 

“Kevin is the type of student who craves intellectual pursuits,” said Sibley. “He also has a good deal of potential to lead in higher education.”

After graduation, Morris plans to pursue a doctorate in African American studies, focusing on aspects of race, gender and sexuality through literature, drama and music.

“We are very proud of Mr. Morris,” said Calvin White, Jr., assistant professor of history and director of the African and African American studies program. “He is a prime example of the interdisciplinary nature of our program and the diversity of our class offerings. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Morris will one day take the podium as a professor, continuing the legacy of intellectual pursuit that began with the African and African American studies program.”

“Being awarded this fellowship at the University of Texas-San Antonio African American Literatures and Cultures Institute is a great opportunity to develop more as a researcher, writer, and overall scholar,” said Morris

Students will assemble in San Antonio in June for a month-long seminar. They will study with leading national scholars in African American literature, participate in a public literacy exhibit with their peers and senior scholars and travel to New York City to conduct academic research.

Participants receive housing, course materials and a $2,000 stipend. They are exposed to cultural events and unique primary research material. As part of last year’s institute, students participated in a private viewing of Harriet and Harmon Kelley’s personal collection of African American art. The collection is one of the nation’s largest of its kind and is housed at the San Antonio Museum of Art.

The African and African American studies program in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences has chosen 21 scholarship recipients for the 2013-14 academic year. The awardees were chosen for their outstanding academic performance, program involvement and campus/community leadership.

Margaret Gender, recipient of the AAST Study Abroad Scholarship, is originally from Kirkwood, Mo. Pursuing a combined major in French and African and African American studies and a member of the Honors College, she has an extraordinary performance record throughout her tenure at the University of Arkansas. Her passion for African and African American studies is evident in and out of the classroom. While she excels at her studies, she is also involved non-academic activities, recently serving as a cast member in the program’s annual spring play, Waiting to be Invited. Gender plans to use her scholarship toward a program in Cameroon during the fall of 2013.  While in country, she will study social pluralism, development and culture.

“Being in this program has really made me stay at the University of Arkansas,” said Gender. “I have found a home and support in my collegiate studies.” 

Tomario King, named the Dillard’s and CDI Contractors, LLC Endowed Scholar, is earning a minor in African and African American studies while majoring in industrial engineering.  Last year, he received the AAST Study Abroad Scholarship, which supported his participation in the bi-annual Ghana study abroad program.  A native of El Dorado, Ark., King has earned numerous honors including the Silas Hunt Scholarship and membership in the Engineering Career Awareness Program.  He balances his academic work with activities in the National Society of Black Engineers. Now a junior, King has been involved with the African and African American studies program for three years.

“The AAST program has taught me to build strong relationships with my professors not only inside the classroom, but also outside of the classroom,” said King. “This program has challenged me to think critically and analytically.  Aside from the strong academics, I know that the people in the program will do whatever they can to help me. That is what makes me proud to say I am a part of an organization like the African and African American studies program.”

Kevin McClenney, the L.E. Gene and Jean Read Hudson Access Arkansas Scholarship recipient, is majoring in history and African and African American studies.  A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., he has a strong record of success within his major courses.  McClenney is also a veteran of the United States Air Force. 

“AAST has been an essential part of my UA experience,” said McClenney. “The professors are personable and have gone out of their way to help me in every way, and the classes are all top-notch in terms of curriculum, teaching style and academic rigor.”

Brandon Dismute, recipient of the Bayard Rustin Endowed Scholarship, is pursuing a combined major in political science and African and African American studies.  Originally from Sherwood, Ark., Dismute has been involved with several campus activities including NWA Democratic Black Caucus, NWA Hispanic Democratic Caucus and Dream BIG.  He feels that the program has deeply impacted his time in college and growth as a person.

“Participating in the African and African American studies program has given me the strength and the courage to explore different academic avenues at the University of Arkansas while providing me a place of safety to spread my wings,” said Dismute. “I would like to thank this program for investing in me and for guiding me towards my academic interests.”

The program also awarded nine AAST Returning Student Scholarships and eight AAST New Student Scholarships.

Scholarship recipients include:

2013-2014 AAST Returning Student Scholarship

  • Corsalyn Allen
  • Raven Cook
  • Trase Cunningham
  • Rachel Dukes
  • Iesha Green
  • Melanie Monts
  • Malachi Nichols
  • Imani Smith
  • Cameron Woods

2013-2014 AAST New Student Scholarship

  • Kassidy Boyle
  • Mark Dillard
  • Whitney Frierson
  • Meghan Lewis
  • Abigail MacDonald
  • Porshe Scrape
  • Janet Shields
  • Christopher Warren

Scholarships are awarded annually to eligible students who have declared a combined major or a minor in African and African American studies. These competitive scholarships help defer the cost of books, tuition, and study abroad to Africa.

 Students: Our May 2013 Intersession and Fall 2013 semester course schedules are now available.  Please click here for a complete look at all AAST courses being offered during these times. If you have any questions or concerns regarding advising, you may contact the Fulbright Advising Center. The Fulbright College Advising Center (Old Main 518) is now a four-year academic advising center. If you have either a major and/or minor in Fulbright College (which includes AAST), please call 479-575-3307 to schedule an appointment with an adviser to discuss your progress towards graduation if you are a current junior/senior and/or course selection planning for summer/fall 2013 semesters. Also, this year the U of A will begin offering May and August intersession courses. An academic adviser in your respective major/minor will be happy to assist you. Moreover, meeting at least once per semester with your adviser will help you stay on track towards graduation. f you are unsure of your career goals, schedule an appointment with a career counselor in the Career Development Center in Arkansas Union 607 or by calling 479-575-2805.

A Conversation with Tina Fletcher posterPlease join us on Thursday, April 18th at 3:30 PM at Big Momma's Coffee House as one of our recent African and African American Studies alumni, Tina Fletcher, discusses her life and success beyond the University of Arkansas.  Ms. Fletcher went on to receive her Ed.M. from Harvard University, and has interned with the First Lady Michelle Obama.  Currently, she is the Community Investment Manager for the Memphis Grizzlies.  She will be discussing how her involvement with the AAST program prepared her for success, and will help answer questions you might have about graduate studies and entering the workforce.  Refreshments will be provided.

Think BIG AAST Scholars posterSeveral of you are upperclassmen and will be graduating this year or next. Or perhaps you are a freshman or sophomore and are looking for tips to guide you to graduation.  Derrick Echoles, M.A. will be leading

"Think BIG African and African American Studies Scholars: Bigger Impact, Bigger Service, Bigger Success"a program to give you the tools, tips, and resources to succeed in college and beyond.  This will include assistance with academic advising, career development, service learning, and mentorship.  Mr. Echoles is an Academic Counselor with the Fulbright College Advising Center as well as an Adjunct Professor with Social Work and African and African American Studies. Please join us on Thursday, April 11th at 6:00 PM in Old Main 204 for this event.

The Real Slim Shady posterJoin the Gender Studies program for our last colloquium of the year on Friday, April 12th at 5PM JBHT 216. presented by Marcia Alesan Dawkins, Ph.D. (USC - Annenberg School of Communication) titled: "The Real Slim Shady: Ten Things Everyone Needs to Know About Eminem." This is one you WON'T WANT TO MISS!!! The public is welcome and the lecture is free. Reception to follow! Co-sponsored by the Department of Communication, the African & African American Studies Program, and the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education.

Waiting to Be Invited play posterThe African and African American Studies Program is excited to announce that its sixth annual spring play will be opening soon.  This year's production, Waiting to be Invited, will be directed by Assistant Prof. of Drama, Clinnesha Sibley.  The cast and crew for the production are student-led.  We look forward to seeing the play as we know a great deal of hard work and preparation are involved in the production.  Please save the date for Saturday, April 6th at 7:30 PM in the Union Theater and Sunday, April 7th at 2:30 PM, also in the Union Theater for Waiting to be Invited.

Recently, our production of Waiting to be Invited was featured on KUAF's Ozarks at Large.

Clinnesha D. Sibley

dillon@uark.edu

Rwanda Awareness Week Lecture posterAs part of Rwanda Awareness week, Hon. Juliana Kantengwa, will be speaking Friday, April 5th at 5:00 PM in Old Main Giffels Auditorium.  She is the 4th Vice President of the Pan African Parliament and part of the 53% of female leadership that is rebuilding Rwanda following the 1994 genocide.

Last year, we announced that Prof. Clinnesha D. Sibley's original play, Tell Martha Not to Moan, won the 2012 Athena Festival "Plays in Progress" series.  Recently, the play opened for its world premiere in Denver, CO and has received great publicity.  Please see below for some articles:

http://www.denverpost.com/theater/ci_22834212/detroits-infamous-riots-haunt-lovely-debut-tell-martha

http://www.aurorasentinel.com/guide/female-only-festival-looks-to-spotlight-local-women-playwrights-artists-painters-and-designers/

https://youtu.be/dvHyhpVkjVI?t=15m33s

African American Teacher Appreciation Banquet posterThe Northwest Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus hosts the African American Teacher Appreciation Banquet: A Dinner for African American Teachers and Professionals in Northwest Arkansas.  The event is Thursday, March 28th at 6:30 PM at Mermaids restaurant. Speakers include Tina Fletcher, an African and African American Studies alumni and motivational speaker, and Tequilla Banks, a graduate of Yale University and Senior Strategist of the National New Teacher Project.  Additionally, there will be a special tribute to Dr. Gordon Morgan, Dr. Margaret Clark, Prof. Gerald Jordan, and John L Colbert, all hosted by Eric Wood.

Please RSVP by March 15th. Tickets are $30 per individual or $50 per couple.  For tickets, please contact D'Andre L. Jones at nwablackcaucus@gmail.com. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Will Watson at will@naturalstatestrategies.com.

Coffee with the Professors group pictureWe would like extend our thanks to all of the students and professors who joined us at Big Momma's Coffee House for "Coffee with the Professors." We had a great turn out! We especially enjoyed welcoming new students to our program and catching up with some familiar faces.  Congratulations to our door prize winner, Mark Dillard.  He won a DVD of Red Tails

If you could not join us for this event, please stay tuned! We are looking forward to upcoming events this semester, especially our annual spring play.  Details will follow soon on our website and e-mail listserv. If you are not on our e-mail listserv and would like to join, please contact Mary Margaret Hui at mhui@uark.edu.

Coffee with the ProfessorsAfrican and African American Studies invites you to join us for "Coffee with the Professors" on Tuesday, February 26th, from 12-2 PM.  The event will be at Big Momma's Coffee House, located at 609 W. Dickson ST (behind Qdoba).  We'll provide coffee, snacks, and other refreshments while you connect with your professors and classmates in a casual setting. This is a great time to find out more about program as well as opportunities to become more involved.  Additionally, it's a great time to have any questions you might have about our program answered.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Big Momma's is within walking distance from the U of A.  Here are directions from Old Main. 
https://goo.gl/maps/3RNnj

For more information, please contact

Mary Margaret Hui
Senior Graduate Assistant
479-575-2872
mhui@uark.edu

King Me play posterKing Me
Three One-Act Plays Inspired by the Life and Legacy of
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Clinnesha D. Sibley

A new way to study and celebrate Dr. King

In April, Prof. Sibley's work on a trio of short dramas set in the South and spanning 1968 to the present, King Me features compelling characters and relevant themes that examine our ongoing understanding of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Bound by Blood, #communicate, and Paradox in the Parish richly dramatize three of King’s popular quotes, offering creative methods for teaching history and social studies and setting the stage for inspiring discussions for contemporary theater goers. Readers and audiences will also learn about current civil rights issues such as the Jena Six Case in Jena, Louisiana, while appreciating, or appreciating anew, how King impacted the lives of his own and future generations.

Clinnesha D. Sibley is assistant professor of drama at the University of Arkansas. She is the author of It’s in My Blood: Thicker than Water and the winner of the Holland New Voices award.

The State of Black America posterThe Kappa Upsilon Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. will present, "The State of Black America" on Monday, February 18th at 6PM at the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education, located in the Arkansas Union.  The program will feature guest speaker, Dr. Calvin White, Jr. Topics of discussion will include Martin Luther King, Jr. vs. Malcolm X, black progression, and black society: the way it used to be. 

Scholarship Deadline 2013 posterWe're now announcing the application period for the African and African American Studies Scholarships. Attached you will find a flyer for the scholarships, as well as the applications for returning students and new students. Please note that there are two forms. As a declared minor/combined major in African and African American Studies, you are eligible to receive a scholarship award. The new student scholarship application is for students who have never received a scholarship from the program before and the returning student scholarship application is for students who have received a scholarship from the program in previous years.  As you apply, please be sure to follow the guidelines stated on the application.  Students applying are required to provide at least one letter of recommendation, preferably from faculty members of the African and African American Studies program.  All applicants are required to submit an official transcript including their Fall 2012 grades.  Additionally, please keep in mind that our scholarships are selected upon academic merit and program involvement.   The deadline for the application is February 1, 2013. We look forward to your applications.  If you have any further questions, please e-mail Dr. Gigantino at jgiganti@uark.edu or our new graduate assistant, Misti Harper at mxh040@uark.edu.

AAST New Student Scholarship Application (2013-2014)

AAST Returning Student Scholarship Application (2013-2014)

MLK Jr.Please visit the link on the left navigation, or click here[BROKEN LINK] for a complete listing of the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events.