Afroamerican and African Studies Faculty Listing

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Professor Frieda Ekotto, Chair (7/1/14-6/30/17)

Professor Elisha P. Renne, Associate Chair

Professor Ann Pitcher, Associate Chair for African Studies

Professor Megan Sweeney, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Academics and Requirements


Fernando Arenas (Romance Languages and Literatures), Lusophone African, Brazilian, and Portuguese Studies with an emphasis on literature, film, and popular music

Adam Ashforth, African politics, post-apartheid South Africa, religion and spirituality

Angela D. Dillard (Afroamerican and African Studies / Residential College) (Earl Lewis Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and in the Residential College), American and African-American intellectual history and political thought; religious studies; critical race theory; and conservatism

Frieda Ekotto, 20th-century French and Francophone literature

Kevin K. Gaines (History / Afroamerican and African Studies) (Robert Hayden Collegiate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies), African American history, progressive era; jazz

Sandra Gunning (English Language and Literature / American Culture / Afroamerican and African Studies), 19th- and 20th-Century American literature and Afro-American literature

Paul Johnson (History), History and ethnography of the religions of the African Diaspora in Brazil and the Caribbean, religion and race, religion and migration, ritual studies, and methodological and theoretical perspectives on the comparative study of religion more broadly

Tiya Miles (American Culture/History) (Elsa Barkley Brown Collegiate Professor of African American Women's History), African American and Native American Comparative and interrelated histories, women of color history, literature and feminist history

Derek Peterson (History), intellectual history of colonial eastern Africa

M. Anne Pitcher (Political Science), African politics, privatization in Africa

Elisha Renne (Anthropology), ethnographic research, abortion in Nigeria, reproductive health matters in Nigeria, aesthetics in northern Nigeria, African art

Ray Silverman (History of Art), African Visual Culture, especially Ghana and Ethiopia; Museum Studies

Howard SteinAfrican development including foreign aid, finance, institutional transformation, industrial and trade policy, health and economic change and structural adjustment

Jonathan D. Wells

Alford A. Young (Sociology) (Arthur F. Thurnau Professor), race and urban poverty; African American social thought; African American intellectuals; race and ethnic relations; low-income African American men in urban communities; and the political orientations of African American scholars

Magdalena Zabarowska (American Culture), Immigrant literatures, narrative and gender, cultural theory


Associate Professors

Kwasi Ampene (Music), Afromusicology; Music composition in oral cultures with emphasis on the Akan of Ghana, Intersection of Phonology, Oral Composition and Performance, Music and Social Change, and Popular Music

Paul Anderson (American Culture), modern U.S. cultural history; cultural history of popular music

Kelly Askew (Anthropology/Afroamerican & African Studies), cultural politics, ethnomusicology, nationalism, media, performance, Swahili studies, East Africa

David Doris (Afroamerican and African Studies / History of Art / School of Art), African Art and Culture

Amal Fadlalla (Women's Studies), Cultural anthropology, Gender Studies, Medical anthropology, and Anthropological demography

Martha Jones (History), African American History, 19th-Century United States History; Women's History; Race and the Law

Karyn Lacy (Sociology), Race, Class, and Gender; Community; Qualitative Methodology

Robin Means-Coleman (Communication Studies), researches, and publishes in the areas of: African Americans and the media (texts, contexts, industry, and audiences); Black popular culture; and African American identity formation/performance

Damani J. Partridge (Anthropology), Cultural anthropology, race and displacement, citizenship and non-citizens, technologies of exclusion, gender and sexuality, critical visual anthropology, German studies, European studies, anthropology of the state, post-socialism

Xiomara Santamarina (English), nineteenth-century African American women; antebellum culture; nineteenth-century African American and American literature; and African American writers

Megan Sweeney (English) (Arthur F. Thurnau Professor), 20th/21st-Century African American literature and culture; inter-American literatures; U.S. Latino/a literature; critical race studies; transnational feminist and gender studies; critical prison studies; cultural studies and ethnography

Richard Turits (History), Hispanic, Caribbean, and Haiti; race, slavery, violence, non-democratic regimes, peasantries, and U.S. interventions

Stephen Ward (Residential College), urban studies, Black politics, Detroit history


Assistant Professors

Omolade Adunbi, Transnationalism, Governance, Human and Environmental Rights and politics of natural resources in Africa

Aliyah Khan (English), Caribbean Studies, Indo-Caribbean Literature, 20th/21st-Century Muslim and Islamic Literature, Critical Feminist and Queer Theory, Asian Diasporas in the Americas, Creative Writing--Fiction, Graphic Novels

Adedamola Osinulu, urban religion in Africa, especially Pentecostal Christianity in Nigeria

Sherie Randolph (History), Creation of a feminist pedagogy for political and social change, African Americans, the African Diaspora, women and gender

Larry Rowley (Education), African-American issues in higher education, the role of race in American academic and intellectual hierarchies, relationships between urban universities and communities, and organizational analyses of racial diversity and the public service mission of higher education; relevance of W.E.B. Du Bois for African Americans in higher education and the importance of role models and mentors for Black college students



Scott Ellsworth, history and literature of the American South, slavery, the Civil Rights movement, criminal justice in America

Nesha Z. Haniff (Women’s Studies / Afroamerican and African Studies), abortion in Jamaica; women's reproductive health, violence against women in the Caribbean; AIDS in South Africa

Nyambura Mpesha, Swahili Language and literature, African folklore, African Literature, Children's literature, creative writing

Jon Onye Lockard, African, Afro-Brazilian, and traditional art of the Americas; contemporary African American art and comparative Black art

Julius Scott (History), Caribbean world in the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries; slavery and emancipation; the Haitian Revolution and its impact in Afro-America

Ronald Woods, African American constitutional and legal studies and civil rights law and policy

Adjunct Professor

Martin Murray (Urban Planning, Taubman College / Sociology), Sociology and African studies, Urban planning, South Africa, global cities

Adjunct Lecturer

Melba Boyd (Wayne State University, Distinguished University Professor and Chair of the Department of Africana Studies) African American film and literature

Faculty Associates

Naomi André, music, especially opera and the intersections of race, gender, nation, and class; Italian opera; blackness in opera in the US and South Africa; and teaching opera in prisons

Michael Awkward, Feminist scholar, gender in Afro-American expressive culture

James Chaffers, design links between spatial equality and human spirituality

Elizabeth Cole,  Class, race and gender as social identities; relationship between political attitudes and behaviors, particularly among African Americans and all women; qualitative methods

Matthew Countryman

Vince Hutchings

James Jackson, survey methodology; mental health, cultural influences

Warren Whatley, southern labor history; migration; urban poverty; and Black workers in the industrial age

Professors Emeriti

Lorna G. Goodison   (English Language and Literature / Afroamerican and African Studies), Creative Writing

Teshome G. Wagaw (School of Education / Afroamerican and African Studies), ethnicity and ethnic conflict, race, prejudice, and equity in educational opportunity and educational outcome prejudice; socialization of the Falasha in Israel

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