UMD Dept. of African American Studies (Magazine - Winter/Spring 2022)

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Winter/Spring 2022

Welcome Message from our Department Chair Despite the challenges of the pandemic, African American Studies has thrived. Our faculty has continued to produce excellent scholarship that has garnered national and international attention. Our students have been recognized through prestigious awards, and our amazing staff has worked tirelessly to ensure that the department shines during these difficult times. Additionally, we have hosted high-profile events with world-renowned scholars and practitioners. Here are our highlights of the year 2021. Sangeetha Madhavan, Ph.D. Professor, African American Studies and Sociology Faculty Associate, Maryland Population Research Center


News Events Faculty & Staff Students


New Hires in our Department

We were delighted to welcome the following new faculty and staff to African American Studies.



Ashley L. Newby, PhD.

Rachel Schupbach

Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Business Manager

Chinyere Osuji, PhD.

Chukwudi T. Unonu

Mike Wagner, PhD.

Alysa Conway

Visiting Associate Professor

Associate Research Scientist


Graduate Administrative Assistant

Marci Deloatch

Administrative Coordinator Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice & Ethics

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Fall 2021 Brown Bags Seminars

Reparations Discussion Series Aimed to Promote Significant Change Spring 2021 Dr. Joseph Richardson and Dr. Kameron Van Patterson led this series that offered insight into the historical, social and psychological, economic, and political consequences and implications of racial slavery, injustice, and structural inequality in America. Cross-campus co-sponsors joined efforts, giving the events valuable, multi-disciplinary angles. For more information visit URL:

September 2021 Dr. John Drabinski, Professor, discussed Post-Reparative Thinking in the post-Colonial Americas, looking to cinema, literature, political theory, and philosophy.

October 2021 Dr. Shane Walsh, Lecturer, discussed Black Leadership, Cross-Cultural Leadership, and Ideologies & Comparative Outlets.

John B. Slaughter Endowment Lecture Series October 2021 Lecture Series • Dr. Evelyn Patterson (Vanderbilt University) discussed,“Race, Weathering and Incarceration” • Dr. Mesmin Destin (Northwestern University) discussed, “Expanding Our Views of Marginalized Students’ Identities”

November 2021 Dr. Robert Choflet, Lecturer, discussed the radical intellectual and political traditions that emerge from spaces of racialized poverty around Baltimore, MD.

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Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice and Ethics

Thurgood Marshall 113th Birthday Celebration

A press conference announced plans to turn the former P.S. 103 at 1315 Visition St. in West Baltimore into the Justice Thurgood Marshall Center and paid tribute to Justice Marshall on the 113th anniversary of his birthday.

Third Annual Lecture Series

This forum was dedicated to recognizing individuals and organizations whose exemplary commitment to education, restorative social justice, ethical leadership, and civic responsibility stands as a model of excellence and inspiration.

Partnership with UMD Department of English’s Center for Literacy and Conparitive Studies

John B. Slaughter Endowment Lecture Series: “Re-Thinking Malcolm X: A Conversation with Peniel Joseph and Michael Sawyer” Featuring guest lecturers: • Dr. Peniel Joseph (University of Texas at Austin) Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and professor of history and the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy • Dr. Michael Sawyer (University of Pittsburgh) Associate Professor of African-American Literature and Culture in the Department of English

Outreach to Prospective Students and Their Families

Undergraduate Information Session Dr. Ashley L. Newby, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Marshal Washington, Academic Advisor, led a virtual event in the Fall 2021 semester showcasing undergraduate student testimonies and faculty stories on the significance of having a major/ minor in African American Studies at the university. In case you missed this event, more information sessions will be held in 2022. g o . u m d . e d u / a fa m


Black Diaspora ID Two-Day Research Seminar

Solidarity at UMD #StopAsianHate #AAPIAgainstHate

Solidarity Workshop Dr. Jason Nichols, Senior Lecturer, along with other UMD faculty, staff, and student leadership conducted a workshop at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union to help support and deepen Black-Asian American Solidarity in the university community.

Leading Black American Diaspora Research Dr. Sharon Harley, Associate Professor, with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, hosted the virtual event which featured the scholarship of distinguished scholars and graduate students in multi-disciplinary humanities and social science fields in African, African American, Africana, and African/Black Diaspora Studies. Participants presented highlights from their research projects and then responded to questions around differing aspects central to their work.

Art and Film

Making African America: How African American Studies intersects with Art and Film Moderated by Dr. Jason Nichols, Senior Lecturer, a dialogue was held with the creators of “African America” — a film currently distributed by Netflix — that details one South African woman’s experience navigating race, gender, ethnicity, and migration in an attempt to pursue her dreams of making it on Broadway, NY. Two of our four featured panelists were UMD Department of African American Studies alumni. g o . u m d . e d u / a fa m



Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant Dr. Oscar A. Barbarin, Professor, recieved a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for his project on Evaluating “Ban and Replace” Policies for Reductions of Racial Disparities in School Discipline. This project is a prime example of solution-focused scholarship that is central to the mission of the Department of African American Studies and the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences at the University of Maryland. Find out more via URL:

2022 BBI Seed Grant Award Along with two other researchers, Dr. Angel Dunbar, Assistant Professor, was awarded monies by the Brain & Behavior Institute (BBI) to examine whether the presence of anxiety symptoms in children on the autism spectrum can be assessed with RSA in real-world social-interactive contexts. Previous studies examined RSA in lab settings, but this project will be the first to examine adolescents on the autism spectrum in real-life and in a sample with both autism and anxiety - also focusing on recruitment of historically underrepresented individuals on the autism spectrum in autism research to reduce disparities starting within research.

NIH Research Funding on Sub-Saharan Africa Dr. Sangeetha Madhavan, Professor and Chair, continued to work on her NIH funded R01 project, “JAMAA na AFYA ya MTOTO (JAMO) or Kinship, Nuptiality and Child Outcomes in Kenya.” This 5 year project will track young children, their mothers and kin groups in low income settings in Nairobi to better understand how the process of marriage and kinship support affect the healthy development of children. The research team includes researchers from multiple departments at UMD and colleagues at the African Population and Health Research Center in Nairobi, Kenya.

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2021 RAND Faculty Leaders Program Fellow Congratulations to Dr. Cecily Hardaway, Assistant Professor, for being selected by the Pardee RAND Graduate School as a 2021 Faculty Leader. The title of her research project was “Juggling Family, Work, School, and Welfare: Trajectories of Educational Attainment among Low-Income Women.” Dr. Dionne Barnes-Proby served as her RAND research mentor.

Empowered to “MPower” Dr. Joseph B. Richardson, Joel and Kim Feller Professor of African-American Studies and Anthropology, was announced by the Office of the President as an inaugural MPower Professor. Read more about this prestigious award at URL:


Black Thought Leadership & Black History Dr. George Kintiba, Lecturer and Coordinator of the Certificate in African Studies, co-published “Marcus Mosiah Garvey: The Man and his Philosophy” in Early Black Thinkers in the Diaspora and Their Conceptualizations of Africa (Hauppauge, NY: Nova Publishers, 2021).

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2021 Merrill Presidential Scholars Mentor

Marshal Washington, Academic Advisor, was acknowledged by the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program for his services as an undergraduate student faculty mentor and role model. When informed of the honor, it was shared with him: “Your fine work as a faculty mentor is being honored. One of your students, Imani Nokuri, a rising senior in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences [at the University of Maryland], has been chosen as a 2021-2022 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar. You have been named as the faculty mentor who has had the greatest impact on Imani’s academic achievement."

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Thank You

“It has been an honor to serve the department. I cherish the experience not only from what I learned, but from the people I encountered along the way that I consider as my family. I will cherish the time spent in the department”.

Sharon has taken on a variety of roles and has done so virtually, on campus, and during unusual hours, providing steadfast support. The department shares its gratitude for Sharon’s efforts.

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye... Longtime staff member Sharon Y. Anderson, Administrative Assistant, concluded her tenure with the department in January 2022. Sharon joined the department in 2006 and provided invaluable support to countless students, faculty members, and staff over the years.

Working from Heart The Department of African American Studies would like to highlight the continued hard work of one of its own, Sharon Hodgson, Director of Administrative Services. Sharon has supported faculty and staff colleagues during myriad challenges over the past two years.

The Department of African American Studies wishes Sharon the absolute best in her next chapter and will always count her as a key member of the department family.

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Student Awards & Honors

2021 Merrill Presidential Scholars

Congratulations to three undergraduate students affiliated with the Department of African American Studies honored as 2021 Merrill Presidential Scholars by University of Maryland President Dr. Darryll J. Pines. Also recognized with each student-scholar was their university mentor. Pictured (In Alphabetical Order): Crystina Martinez, Ally Merwitz, and Imani Nokuri

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Department of African American Studies University of Maryland 1119 Taliaferro Hall 4280 Chapel Lane, College Park, MD 20742 Phone: 301-405-1158

For Public Relations / Media Inquiries: g o . u m d . e d u / a fa m

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