Category: African American Studies

Keepers of Black Women's History


leeThe Root is an online publication originally developed by the Washington Post and edited by American literary critic, writer and scholar Henry Louis Gates. The Root recently published a list of the Keepers of Black Women's History, an elite list of scholars "using thier classrooms, their research and their writing to make sure we know the full story of black women in America." Among the distinguished list is our own Chana Kai Lee:

Lee, an associate professor of history (Lee holds a joint appointment between the department of history and the Institute for African American Studies) at the University of Georgia, is the author of For Freedom’s Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. The book won the Willie Lee Rose Prize, awarded by the Southern Association for Women Historians, and the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize, awarded by the Association of Black Women Historians.

A few others on the list include:

  • Paula Giddings, Smith College
  • Tera Hunter, Princeton University
  • Darlene Clark Hine, Northwestern University
  • Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Harvard University
  • Martha Jones, University of Michigan
  • Fransciose Hamlin, Brown University
  • Thavolia Glympth, Duke University
  • Heather Williams, University of North Carolina

That's great company to be in. We salute these great American scholars for their work in bringing us the stories (and the history) of who we are.

Image: Chane Kai Lee courtesy of the department of history.

UGA Apero Africana lunchtime lecture series begins today



Washington_Freed.jpgLectures begin today at 12:15 in room 481 at Tate Center


Today is a special historical anniversary.  Fifty years ago today, hundreds of thousands of civil rights activists descended on Washington D.C. to call for civil and economic rights for African Americans.

In Washington D.C. today, a special series of events will mark the occasion. A website for the events,, sheds some light on just how significant the event is at this point in time.

But right here on the UGA campus, a series of lectures kicks off with one lecture that continues a necessary dialogue on civil rights and race relations—on a global and national scale.

Known as the Apero Africana lecture series, this brown bag lunch time event is co-sponsored by the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ Institute for African American Studies and Institute for African Studies.  The series was originally a project of the African Studies Institute, but has now evolved into a larger, collaborative event that’s been going strong since 2008 thanks to series co-directors Freda Scott Giles and Akinloye Ojo.

“It is a joint effort by African American Studies and African Studies to highlight the interdisciplinary nature of our scholarship, to let the campus know that African American Studies and African Studies are for everyone, to bring new insights to topics of general interest, and to bring together people from the campus and the community to interact and discuss the issues/topics in a less formal setting,” said Giles, associate director for the Institute for African American Studies.  

“Having a dialog is vital to enhancing communication and developing in-depth understanding of issues,” she added.  “The speakers really appreciate the feedback they receive from the audience--they are talking about subjects they are passionate about, and they want to share that passion effectively.  The audience enjoys interacting with the speaker and developing ideas based on the material presented.”

The first lecture in the series this fall is “Unscripted Anxiety, Amnesia, and the Complex Duplications of Black Identity.” David Olali, from the T’fori-Atta Institute for the Study of Religion Heritage of the African World in Atlanta, is the scheduled speaker.

Here’s a list of all of the upcoming lectures in the series.  Take a look. The topics run the gamut and are likely to produce some lively discussion and dialogue.

The lecture series is also a blue card event.  Fulfill those 10 events by the October 30 deadline and get the added benefit of registering for classes early.

Image: Copyright Estate of Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos via Brigitte Freed

Medine receives Teaching honor from AAR


The American Academy of Religion awarded one of its highest honors to Carolyn Medine:

Medine, a University of Georgia professor in the department of religion and the Institute for African American Studies, has been selected to receive the 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Academy of Religion.

The professional society for scholarship and teaching in the field of religion, the AAR has more 10,000 members who teach in about 1,000 colleges, universities, seminaries and schools in North America and abroad. The award, announced on the AAR website, will be formally presented at the academy's annual meeting in November.

"I'm very humbled by this award," Medine said. "So many important teachers of religion have won this award that I feel honored, and a bit unworthy, to be included among them."

Medine teaches courses focused on how literature and art relate to religious experience, particularly Southern and African-American women's religious experience, within the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She has written extensively on the work of Toni Morrison and Harper Lee.

An important honor by her peers for Dr. Medine and one that brings great distinction to the Franklin College and UGA. Congratulations to Dr. Medine for bringing great instruction to her students.

Image and Identity in the African Diaspora




The Institute for African American Studies and Lamar Dodd School of Art present a lecture by Cameron Van Patterson, Diasporic Imagination: Race, Difference, and Memory in Contemporary Art. The lecture will be on April 5 at 5 p.m. in room S150 of the school of art, with a reception immediately following. The lecture and reception are free and the public is invited to attend.

Babb named Director of IAAS


medium_babb_valerie.jpgProfessor of English and African American studies Valerie Babb has been named director of the Institute for African American Studies in the Franklin College:

“The IAAS is one of UGA’s premier units for engaging in the contemporary exchange of ideas across disciplines,” said Hugh Ruppersburg, interim dean of the Franklin College. “Dr. Babb’s scholarship in American literature and culture will be a vital contribution to the intellectual history that serves as the basis for the institute.”