AAAS News and Events

Diversify your intellectual experience through Africology and African American Studies at Eastern Michigan University

By Professor Victor O. Okafor, Head, Department of Africology and African American Studies

Dear EMU Student:

I hope this message finds you well. As you breathe the fresh air of summer and as we climb out of the doldrums of Covid-19 mandates that sometimes disallowed us from going about our lives as we used to do, presumably, you must have begun to plan for fall, 2021. Please, allow me a moment of your busy day to acquaint you with the intellectually-diversifying and career-oriented learning opportunities that we offer here at EMU’s Department of Africology and African American Studies (AAAS).

AAAS offers several undergraduate and graduate academic programs and General Education courses that are designed to help enrich your learning experience in a way that could better prepare and equip you with knowledge and skills for effective functioning in our world of diverse peoples and cultures. Through a systematic and critical exploration of lived experiences of  African peoples in general and African Americans in particular, AAAS at EMU contributes to a basket of fruits of knowledge of peoples and cultures of the world designed to strengthen and diversify your learning journey through this institution.

Are you aware that we offer a 33-credit hour Master of Arts (MA) degree program in Africology and African American Studies which is open to ALL students, regardless of your country of origin, racial, ethnic, or gender classification? Are you aware that we offer a 33-credit hour bachelor’s degree program in Africology and African American Studies which is open to ALL students, regardless of your country of origin, racial, ethnic, or gender classification? Indeed, our students—that is, students who traffic through our myriad of courses each semester—represent a diverse group of learners who come here to join us in our often exciting, critical and systematic exploration of the black experience in its domestic and global contexts. We offer a myriad of opportunities—through coursework—by which you can not only join in learning about ancient Africans’ creative adaptations to their social and natural environments but also a variety of epochal events and transformations that led to our contemporary global African presence.

So, besides our 33-credit Major in Africology and African American Studies, we also offer a 21-credit Minor in Africology and American Studies, a 12-credit Undergraduate Certificate in African Studies, and a 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Africology and African American Studies. We also encourage students to double-major in Africology and African American Studies and any other discipline of their choice that can fit into the 124-minimum number of credits that you need to earn a bachelor’s degree at Eastern Michigan University. Every semester, we provide a mix of course sections that pertain to not only multidimensional aspects of black life and culture in the United States but also to the Caribbean and Africa. Thus, Africology is designed to provide you with a holistic understanding of the global black experience even though we accord a historically necessary premium attention to the African American experience in the New World, particularly the United States.

When the “world” was our village

Going back to history, we can recall that there was a distant time in the history of human social evolution when "our world" consisted of just our villages where we were born and nurtured, as well as destinations to which our most natural means of movement, namely our feet, could take us. During that ancient pre-historic period, most likely, our ancestors were not even aware that their understanding of what constituted the totality of the world, was simply a microscopic snippet of it to which they were confined by their limited horizon. Human civilization ultimately achieved greater self-awareness, and advanced technologically away from that simplistic mode of existence and that simplistic horizon to efficient and complex machines, including motor vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, the telephone, and now the internet, as expanded and quicker means of transportation and instantaneous human interaction and human communication emerged.  

Today’s Global Village

Thus, we now talk in terms of a global village inter-connected by instantaneous modes of personal and mass communications. For Africology and African American Studies, one of the implications of all these technological transformations in human existence is a fact that our students are bound to be ill-served and ill-prepared by a tunnel vision of the black experience—that is, one that is simply local and simply domestic in content though our education must prepare us to fit well into the societies in which we live and function. Hence, for our students to be reasonably and optimally equipped to function in a world of diverse peoples and cultures that is increasingly inter-connected by instantaneous digital communications and creeping socioeconomic and corporate globalization, including our own heterogeneous society inevitably marked by a diverse work environment, they, in effect, deserve exposure to an Africological scope of inquiry—that is, a global vision of the black experience.

Liberal Arts designed to Open and Broaden Minds

Easily remembered as the father of Black Studies, W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963), the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in the year 1895 from Harvard (America’s oldest university), was a champion of a broadly-based and worldly educational experience. As he articulated it in his classic known as The Souls of Black Folk, educational outcomes should include “… intelligence, broad sympathy, knowledge of the world that was and is, and of the relation of men [and women] to it” (quoted in Mullane, 1993, p. 392).[i] In terms of the New World, he posited the following challenge to educators: “The problem of education … among [African Americans] must first of all deal with … the problem of developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races” (quoted in Mullane, 1993, p. 382). DuBois could not be more correct. Ideally, liberal arts education, at its best, is meant to open and broaden minds, not close, or contract them, not reify cultural hegemony, or parochialism or a white supremacist vision of society. Yes, a well-rounded education must make us aware of who we are in the universe of peoples and cultures, but at the same time, reasonably enlighten us about peoples and cultures that are not part of our proximate cultural and geographical space. No doubt, this is a tough challenge, but one that is achievable. In short, liberal arts education is meant to enlighten and broaden our horizons, not cause atrophy. Thus, in our increasingly globalized social and digital space, you stand to benefit from and be intellectually strengthened by an Africological course of study which, among other learning outcomes, is designed to help you achieve a deep or deeper understanding of human equality in the context of human differences and commonalities as members of the same human species.

If you have not had a taste of what we offer, you are not opening yourself up to a rich opportunity that exists here at EMU for you to acquire a critical understanding of race, its intersection with class, ethnicity and gender, and how race influenced the social evolution of our heterogeneous society. Avail yourself of an opportunity to acquire a critical knowledge of and perspective on how our society evolved from what was once a slave-owning state to what it is now: a country that was led recently (2008 to 2016) by a President Barack Obama who was elected from a minority community of contemporary African Americans, most of whom are descendants of ancestors who were subjected to two hundred and forty-six years of African enslavement in the United States (1619-1865). Avail yourself of an opportunity to critically learn about how the afore-mentioned transformations consequentially gave a concrete meaning to our ideal concept of freedom and how it also expanded our democratic space and strengthened our system of representative governance. And avail yourself of an opportunity to critically learn about how a stratagem of non-violent direct action serves as a tool for positive social change.

Gen Ed options, Careers Possible Through AAAS & Our Variety of Names

Year-round, AAAS offers a set of AFC courses that count towards EMU’s General Education Program. Our website also presents information on various types of careers that were established by individuals who graduated with degrees in Africology and African American Studies. And, a critical piece of information that I need to leave with you is that though we are known as Africology and African American Studies here at EMU, our discipline goes by a variety of names across US universities, such as Africology, Black Studies, African World Studies, Global African Studies, Pan-African Studies, Black American Studies, and Africana Studies.

[i] For more on this, go to Mullane, Deirdre. (Ed.). (1993). W.E.B. Du Bois from The Souls of Black Folk (1903). Crossing the danger water: Three hundred years of African American writing. New York: Doubleday. 


Call for submissions: An AAAS Student Journal Competition

$100 for the Winning Submission!

You are invited to submit your scholarly or creative work to the inaugural issue of the AAAS Student Journal. The winner for best submission will receive $100.00 (one hundred US dollars).

As a current or former student of an AAAS course, you are invited to submit your scholarly essay, poem/s, visual art, or music, to the first AAAS student journal to be published in fall 2021. The theme for the issue is “The Fire This Time.” 

We are also looking for interested students to serve on the editorial board and help shape the title, mission, and future of the journal.

  • Scholarly submissions must employ The Chicago Manual of Style.
  • The best submission will receive a $100 prize.
  • The deadline for submissions is October 15, 2021

Email your submission/s to Dr. Toni Pressley-Sanon ([email protected]). Feel free to ask any questions.


Open this latest edition of the AAAS newsletter.


“The State of Civil Rights in America: What Does the Future Portend?”

A Black History Month Lecture By Mark Fancher, Esq, ACLU’s Racial Justice Project Staff Attorney

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 6–8 p.m. by zoom. Join us. (Meeting ID: 885 3444 7336/Passcode 800888)


A Call for Applications

A tenure-track Assistant Professor of Africology and African American Studies

General Summary

The Department of Africology and African American Studies at Eastern Michigan University invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Africology and African American Studies who focuses upon research methodologies in social and behavioral sciences, and/or on law and justice issues in the discipline. The department recently launched a Master of Arts in Africology and African American Studies. It also houses a Bachelor of Arts in Africology and African American Studies, and two certificate programs.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • A demonstrated capacity for effective teaching of both undergraduate and graduate-level courses is essential.
  • Assign and submit grades in accordance with established University schedules. Keep posted office hours during the week which are scheduled at times most beneficial to students.
  • Provide academic advising to students, if applicable.
  • Serve on search committees for hiring of new faculty members, departmental committees and other service committees across the university.
  • A demonstrated capacity for research, and/or programming activities, such as an ability to play a role in departmental extracurricular and student recruitment events.
  • Participate in activities such as student registration, orientation, convocations and commencements.
  • Attend and participate in scheduled departmental meetings and functions.
  • Provide other support service to the department, college and/or university, if applicable.
  • Engage in pursuits that enable them to remain current in their respective disciplines.
  • Engage in pursuits that help to further organize and contribute to growth of the body of knowledge in their respective disciplines, and/or to explore interdisciplinary implications. Perform related Departmental duties as required.

This position is covered under the collective bargaining agreement between EMU and the EMU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which contains and settles all matters with respect to wages, benefits, hours and other terms and conditions of employment.

Qualifications

A Ph.D. in Africology and African American Studies or a cognate discipline; ABDs in Africology and African American Studies or a cognate discipline are welcome to apply, but the successful applicant must have obtained his/her/their Ph.D. by the effective date of the appointment. This position begins on 08/30/2021.

Supplemental Information

Applicants should submit online a letter of interest addressed to the Chair of the AAAS Faculty Search Committee, their current curriculum vitae, their academic transcripts and a writing sample.

Three reference letters will be requested of those candidates selected for the short-list.

Review of applications will begin after January 13, 2021 and continue until the position is filled.

EMU provides a collaborative, welcoming and supportive culture where differing ideas, behaviors and backgrounds contribute to the educational experience that includes a global and multicultural perspective enhancing the individual, society and the world.

Agency

Eastern Michigan University

Address

140 McKenny Hall
Ypsilanti, Michigan, 48197

Phone

734-487-3430
734-487-0076

Website: http://www.emich.edu/jobs  


An AAAS professor to host an advocacy writing workshop

Dr. Toni Pressley-Sanon, Associate Professor of Africology and African American Studies, has put together an advocacy-writing workshop to be presented online to the general public on October 17, 2020 from 11am to 12:30pm through the Ypsilanti District Library (734) 482-4110 ).

This "USING WRITING TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD" workshop is free of charge. Click on details for how to sign up. If you have any questions about this workshop, feel free to contact Dr. Pressley-Sanon through: [email protected] The workshop is LBC-credit approved.

AAAS launches the Robert L. Perry Endowed Scholarship in Africology and African American Studies

Effective from fall, 2020, AAAS will begin to make an annual award of a merit scholarship of four hundred US dollars ($400.00) to a successful applicant who is pursuing a Major in Africology and African American Studies. This scholarship program was established in honor of Emeritus Professor Robert L. Perry who retired in 2013. The recipient must hold a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in his or her AAAS major. For more information about this scholarship, visit https://www.emich.edu/aaas/internships-scholarships/robert-l-perry.php. Join us in saying a big thank you to Emeritus Professor Robert Perry for his dedication and generous donations that made this endowed scholarship possible.

Book Scholarship News!

The department of Africology and African American Studies awards a book scholarship of $100 to each qualified AAAS Major, Minor and Certificate student. This helps to reduce the cost of textbook purchasing for each recipient. The department awards this book scholarship from its Development Fund (R62095).

Please, Donate

You can support this initiative through a check returnable through the enclosed envelope or through EMU’s online link for donations: https://www.emich.edu/foundation/give/index.php?fund=00013 


Congrats to Professor Pressley-Sanon!

 Please, join us in extending hearty congratulations to our own Associate Professor Toni Pressley-Sanon on her chapter contribution, “Techniques for truth-telling from Haitian Corner to I Am Not Your Negro” to a newly-published anthology, I Am Not Your Negro: A Docalogue. For more information about this book, visit https://www.routledge.com/I-Am-Not-Your-Negro-A-Docalogue/Baron-Fuhs/p/book/9780367178949


Interview With Associate Professor Toni Pressley-Sanon


“Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired”

A Reflection and Some Resources by Toni Pressley-Sanon, professor of Africology and African American Studies


A biography of Mr. Fred Daniels, 1st Recipient of EMU’s Master of Arts in Africology and African American Studies

Meet Mr. Fred Daniels (see his picture below), the first student to receive a Master of Arts in Africology and African American Studies from Eastern Michigan University. He was among Emu students who graduated in April 2020. Below is his statement about his experiences at Eastern Michigan University during his two-year study for an MA in Africology and African American Studies, from fall 2018 to winter, 2020.

“As the first student to be enrolled and complete the curriculum for the Master of Arts degree in Africology and African American Studies, I am a proud beneficiary of the comprehensive plan of study, research strategies and opportunities for community engagement related to the African World experiences and culture, in conjunction with providing a student with the intellectual capacity to bring to the community, ideas and practices that enhance and improve conditions within the African and African American world at large.

I decided to return to school to finish my educational studies that were interrupted in the early 1970s, upon retiring from DTE Energy after 33 years of service. After earning an Associate of Arts from Wayne Community College and a Bachelor of Arts from Wayne State University with a major in African American Studies, in 2018, I enrolled at Eastern Michigan University for the MA in AAAS.

It is worthy of note that my sister, Alfreda Daniels, who graduated from EMU with a Bachelor of Arts in 1976 and a Master of Arts in 1980, is a member of EMU’s Women’s Athletic Hall of Fame for her excellence in Track and Field. She was an early recipient of the Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 which opened up opportunities for women and prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity that is federally- funded. 

I am the proud father and stepfather of seven children, six of whom have achieved college degrees, with the youngest, Fred J. Daniels III, graduating with me in the spring of 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts from Wayne State University majoring in Psychology and a minor in Music.

I am proud to represent Eastern Michigan University and the Department of Africology and African American Studies as an example of a student who exemplifies benefits from the nurturing and empowering educational environment.



“An Exhibition of African American Poetry and the Music of Art Tatum”

Featuring the works of New Works Writers Series

When: Thursday, March 26, 2020, 5–7 p.m.

Where: Room 204 Pray Harrold

-Free Refreshments-

 -LBC Credit Approved-

For Questions, contact Fred Daniels, 734.487.3460.


2020 Honors Convocation 

Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 

Time: 5–6:30 p.m. 

***Free Refreshments*** 

Location: Carillon Room, Halle library

Eastern Michigan University 

For questions, contact Fred Daniels, 734.487.3460. 


“The History of Black Business in America”

A Black History Month Lecture by author and film-maker Anthony Brogdon.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 5–7 p.m., Room 204 Pray Harrold

LBC Credit Approved


Governor Gretchen Whitmer signs a State of Michigan Proclamation in Honor of Retired Professor Ronald Woods.


Assistant Professor of Africology & African American Studies

General Summary

The Department of Africology and African American Studies at Eastern Michigan
University invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Africology and African American Studies who focuses upon social/cultural and/or behavioral issues in the discipline. Salary depends on qualifications. The department recently launched a Master of Arts in Africology and African American Studies. It also houses a Bachelor of Arts in Africology and African American Studies, and two certificate programs.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • A demonstrated capacity for effective teaching of both undergraduate and graduate-level courses is essential.
  • Assign and submit grades in accordance with established University schedules.
  • Keep posted office hours during the week which are scheduled at times most beneficial to students.
  • Provide academic advising to students, if applicable.
  • Serve on search committees for hiring of new faculty members, departmental committees and other service committees across the university.
  • A demonstrated capacity for research, and/or programming activities, such as an ability to play a role in departmental extracurricular and student recruitment events.
  • Participate in activities such as student registration, orientation, convocations and commencements.
  • Attend and participate in scheduled departmental meetings and functions.
  • Provide other support service to the department, college and/or university, if applicable.
  • Engage in pursuits that enable them to remain current in their respective disciplines.
  • Engage in pursuits that help to further organize and contribute to growth of the body of knowledge in their respective disciplines, and/or to explore interdisciplinary implications.
  • Perform related Departmental duties as required.

Qualifications

A Ph.D. in Africology and African American Studies or a cognate discipline; ABDs in Africology and African American Studies or a cognate discipline are welcome to apply, but the successful applicant must have obtained his/her Ph.D. by the effective date of the appointment. This position begins August 24, 2020.

Supplemental Information

Applicants should submit online a letter of interest addressed to the Chair of the AAAS Faculty Search Committee, their academic transcripts and a writing sample.

Three reference letters will be requested of those candidates selected for the short-list.

December 1, 2019 is the deadline for the submission of applications.

Agency

Eastern Michigan University

Address

140 McKenny Hall
Ypsilanti, Michigan, 48197

Phone: 734.487.3430 or 734.487.0076

https://www.schooljobs.com/careers/emichedu 


 

 

A video of

"400 Years Later: 1619 and its Aftermath"

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

"400 Years Later: 1619 and its Aftermath"

An October 1, 2019 Panel Discussion

Presented by the Department of Africology and African American Studies

Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti, Michigan

Date: October 1, 2019

Time: 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Student Center, Rm. 310B

--LBC Credit Approved--

An explanatory backdrop

The year 1619 marked the first documented shipment of 20 Africans, whom history either describes as indentured laborers or as captives to the English-speaking colony of what was to become Virginia on a Dutch ship that ferried them from the West Coast of Africa. The shipment at stake occurred in August, 1619. This is why that year 1619 holds a special meaning in African American historiography.

For questions, call 734.487.3460.


Aubree's April 9 Dine to Donate to AAAS

Dear Friend of AAAS:
We would love for you to participate in an April 9, 2019 "Dine & Donate to AAAS" partnership that we have set up with Aubree 's Pizzeria & Grill, which is located in near-by Depot Town at 39 E. Cross Street, Ypsilanti, MI 48198, phone 734.483.1870. As agreed upon, 15% of your bill will be donated to the Development Fund of the Department of Africology and African American Studies. Open, print out Aubree's Dine to Donate to AAAS [PDF] and take it with you to Aubree's.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

From 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Halle Library - Carillon Room

The Department of Africology and African American Studies invites you to its 2019 Honors Convocation.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

What is Racism?

From noon to 2 p.m.
McKenny Hall - Alumni Room

What is Racism? is a Black History Month dialogue by an EMU panel of experts.

LBC Approved


Thursday, February 17, 2019

We strongly condemn the Black Doll Incident.
We in the Department of Africology and African American Studies condemn, in the strongest terms, the recent black doll incident that occurred inside one of EMU's student resident halls. We abhor any and all forms of expression of hate and intimidation, whether perpetrated overtly or covertly, and regardless of the skin color or gender of the perpetrator or the skin color or gender of the victim/s.

We must never attempt to cover-up, excuse, rationalize, defend, or protect hate in any shape or form. As the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us, "injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere." We must never condone injustice because the victim is not "one of us." We must never form alliances (temporary or permanent ones) or collaborate with overt and covert forces and instruments of hate or conspire with comrades-in-arms on hate to subvert justice or to victimize the vulnerable.

Each one of us is entitled to equal protection of the law. Each one of us is entitled to our God-given and inalienable dignity of our personhood. No human life is worth more or worth less than the other!

Let us also be careful not to either under-react or over-react, for, as history teaches, sometimes, when cornered, real and dangerous enemies of racial amity (such as merchants of conflict)–who, perhaps all along, have been malignantly operating under the shadows–deploy and float symbolic weapons of intimidation, mass confusion and mass discord–in order to instigate conflict (otherwise known as manufactured conflict) so as to divert attention from real problems and real acts of intentional bigotry. Be careful not to become an unwitting tool in the arsenal of such shadowy demons!

We urge the authorities to be sure to see to it that appropriate steps are taken to reassure our student community, particularly African American and other students of color, that our campus is safe and welcoming for all, and that all of our constitutional rights and all of our human rights are respected at all times. We, in Africology and African American studies, stand ready to support our student community as the university leadership proceeds with specific actions to resolve this matter. Our offices are open (8 a.m. to 5 p.m on weekdays) to any student who wishes to visit and talk about this undesirable situation. We also look forward to our scheduled Feb. 21, 2019 Black History Month expert panel dialogue on "What is Racism?"


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Hearty Congratulations to Dr. Toni Pressley-Sanon

Please, join us in extending hearty congratulations to Dr. Toni Pressley-Sanon, Assistant Professor of Africology and African American Studies on her latest journal publication: exploring the evolution of the vernacular in contemporary Haiti.

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