Shawn Leigh Alexander, who received his PhD from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2004, is a Professor and Chair of African and African American Studies, and the director of the Langston Hughes Center at the University of Kansas. His area of research concentration is African American social and intellectual history of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Dr. Tony Bolden is Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies. His teaching and research interests include a broad spectrum of topics related to artistic expression in the African Diaspora, especially black music and literature. His book, Afro-Blue: Improvisations in African American Poetry and Culture (2004), is among the studies that prefigured the outpouring of scholarship devoted to black poetry today. Bolden has also figured prominently in funk studies. His new book, Groove Theory: The Blues Foundation of Funk, will be published in November. You can learn more about Bolden’s work on funk by visiting his website: www.phunkativity.org
Abel Chikanda (Ph.D., University of Western Ontario) is an Assistant Professor of African & African-American Studies and Geography. His main research and teaching interests include migration and development, refugee movement, food security, and the informal sector in Africa. He has held teaching positions at several universities in Canada including Western University, Queen’s University and the University of Waterloo.
Dr. Amal El Haimeur is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Arabic, and the coordinator of the Arabic language. She also serves as the director of the Arabic Summer Institute at Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco. She has extensive experience in foreign and second language instruction. She holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and specializes in Arabic as a heritage language, second language acquisition, and teaching Arabic as a foreign language. She is also interested in language contact in North Africa.
Jessica Gerschultz is an Associate Professor and Graduate Studies Director in the Department of African and African-American Studies at the University of Kansas and a 2018 Hans-Robert Roemer Fellow at the Orient-Institut Beirut. She received her PhD in Art History from Emory University in 2012. Professor Gerschultz's research and teaching interests span modern and contemporary art in Africa and the Arab world, gender and materiality, and feminist art history and methodologies. Her current work centers on transregional articulations of modernism with an emphasis on tapestry and fiber art.
Dr. Dorothy Hines received a Ph.D. in Education Policy from Michigan State University. She holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University graduating Magna Cum Laude, and a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from North Carolina State University. Dr. Hines' scholarship explores how race, gender, and space structures school discipline practices and policies, school pushout, and inequality in urban schools. Dr. Hines' research examines the racialized and gendered schooling experiences of Black students with a focus on Black girls and girls of color.
Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley is an award winning professor and director. She is an Associate Professor of American Studies and African American Studies who specializes areas of Hip-hop Studies, Acting and Directing and African American performance in theater, film and television. An artist-scholar, Hodges Persley creates intentional bridges between the entertainment industry and academia. She is the author of Sampling and Remixing Blackness in Hip Hop Performance and Breaking It Down: Auditioning for Artists of the Global Majority, co-written with Monica Ndounou of Dartmouth University
Jelks is a graduate of South Shore High School (Chicago), the University of Michigan (BA in History), McCormick Theological Seminary (Masters of Divinity) and Michigan State University (Ph.D. in History); he is also an ordained clergy person in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Before joining the faculty of the University of Kansas, Professor Jelks taught at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Liz MacGonagle is an African historian in the Departments of History and African & African American Studies. She is the Director of the Kansas African Studies Center (KASC). In her research, she crosses historical, geographical, and theoretical boundaries to link nation, culture, and ethnicity to processes of identity formation in African and Diasporan settings.
Peter Ojiambo is an Associate Professor of African & African-American Studies. His research focuses on African education, especially in studies on Starehe Boys Center and School of Kenya. He has published in this area and on education, democracy and development. His area of teaching is KiSwahili and he has developed a KiSwahili teaching website. Dr. Ojiambo has held teaching positions at Ohio University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dr. Dorthy Lee Pennington, a graduate of Rust College and the University of Kansas, is an associate professor of African and African-American Studies, and Communication Studies. She is a specialist on intercultural communication and African-American culture, the cultural discourse on trauma/terror and has taught courses on the Rhetoric of African Americans, the Black Woman, Black Male and Female Communications, among others. She has had teaching experiences at Texas Tech University and at the Department of Defense where she taught courses on Race Relations and Equal Opportunity Management.
Kathryn Rhine is an Associate Professor of African & African-American Studies and Geography. She is also a Faculty Fellow in the University Honors Program. Rhine received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Brown University in 2010. Her teaching and research interests include topics in global health and medicine in Africa, especially in Nigeria. She is the author of The Unseen Things: Women, Secrecy, and HIV in Northern Nigeria.
Dr. Wawire is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Kiswahili and African & African American Studies, and is the coordinator of the African languages for the Department of African & African-American Studies. Dr. Wawire has over a decade of experience in foreign and second language education. At KU, she is involved in efforts to strengthen African, diasporic languages through coordinating instruction, facilitating reverse-engineered curriculum (i.e. designed to teach outcomes) and task-based language learning.
James Yeku received his PhD in English from the University of Saskatchewan in 2018, joining the University of Kansas a year later as an assistant professor of African digital humanities in the Department of African and African American Studies and the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities. James studies the digital expressions of the literatures and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora and focuses on the African articulations of the digital cultural record. His interdisciplinary research also includes cultural studies, social media, as well as online visual culture from Nigeria. His current project Digital Nollywood is a web-based archive of Nollywood film posters that reconstructs the history of the video film in Nigeria.
Dr. Naima Boussofara, a graduate of the universities of Tunis, Exeter (UK), and Austin at Texas, is an associate professor of Arabic Studies. She received her Ph.D in applied linguistics but she also specializes in sociolinguistics. She teaches courses on Arabic language, Arab cultures and societies. She has had teaching experiences at Cornell College in Iowa, and at the universities of Tunis, and Texas at Austin.
Dr. Arthur D. Drayton, a graduate of the University of London, is a professor emeritus of African and African-American Studies. He was the University of Kansas' first Langston Hughes Visiting Professor (1978), after which he joined the department as a full time faculty member, and chaired the unit from 1981 to 1996. He has also had teaching experiences at the University of the West Indies, Ibadan, Nairobi, and Hull.
Dr. Bryant Freeman is a retired emeritus University of Kansas professor, who was the founding director of the Institute of Haitian Studies, one of the few such institutes in a major university in the United States. Freeman received his Ph.D. in French from Yale University, specializing in the work of Jean Racine.
Dr. Jacob U. Gordon, a graduate of Bethune-Cookman College, Howard and Michigan State Universities, and Union Theological Seminary, is a professor emeritus of African and African-American Studies, a research fellow of the Institute of Life Span Studies, and the executive director of the Center for Multicultural Leadership. During his 34 year career at KU, Dr. Gordon helped establish the Department of African and African American Studies (1970) and chaired the unit of ten years. He also assisted in creating the Kansas African Studies Center, as well as the Center for Multicultural Leadership.
Beverly Mack is a Professor Emerita of African Studies in the Department of African and African American Studies. She regularly taught the following courses: Women and Islam, Muslim Women's Autobiography, African Women Writers, and Islamic (Sufi) Literature. Prior to joining KU, Professor Mack taught at Yale University (Hausa language and African Literature), Georgetown University (African History), and George Mason University (African Literature).