Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History
His interdisciplinary research and teaching focuses on the intersections between Africana radical traditions, U.S. ethnic studies, hip-hop culture, critical media studies, incarceration, community-based education, and race and sports. His writings have been published in The Black Scholar, The Journal of African American History, The Nation, and Radical Teacher. He currently resides in Holyoke, Massachusetts and has conducted workshops at various college campuses, high schools, and juvenile detention centers in the area, and serves as a youth mentor. Since 2006 he has hosted TRGGR Radio, a Hip-Hop-rooted social justice radio program.
His recently taught courses include Cultures of the African Diaspora, Black Radicalism in the U.S. and Beyond, 1960s and 1970s; and Framing Blackness: African Americans and Mass Media in the U.S. In addition to establishing an introductory African American Studies course, his new courses include: The Life and Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois; Warfare in the American Homeland: Policing, Imprisonment and the Politics of Control; and African Americans and the Politics of Reparations.
Singers, savants, and soothsayers meet muralists, musicians, and miracle workers at the Amen Corner exchanging blueprints for an uncertain future. This course historicizes U.S.-based and Afro-diasporic Black imaginaries for social change in the 20th century. From the radical journalism against lynching waged by Ida B. Wells, to the "We Charge Genocide" petition to the United Nations, and down to contemporary struggles against police brutality, gendered violence, and anti-Black carceral politics, people of African descent have long waged above- and underground struggles for political visibility, economic justice, and spatial democracy. This course, designed for students at the Division II stage, will pay close attention to Black peoples' visions for justice across a range of sociopolitical and cultural registers. Far from resigning to state violence, this course will explore definitions and strategies of possibility through the multifaceted social re-imaginings cast by African descendants.
The interdisciplinary study of African descendants has transformed United States history, expanding global history in the process. Sometimes known as Black Studies, Africana Studies or African diasporic studies, it has also been influential in shaping the role of African Americans in the academy and beyond. How has race, gender and sexuality, class, and capitalism impacted the evolution of African American Studies? And, what does African American Studies tell us about the current state of the world? These questions invite engagement with African American philosophies, identities and experiences. This course engages these questions through the lens of what historian Robin D.G. Kelley calls Freedom Dreams. Drawing on the knowledge and expertise of scholars from Hampshire's five schools, this course will utilize history, literature, music, visual art and other modes in its exploration. This course will introduce students interested in the serious pursuit of African diasporic studies to some of the important and diverse concepts, ideas, struggles and debates that comprise African American Studies.
W.E.B. Du Bois was one of the Twentieth Century's most important intellectual and political figures. His writings, which span from the turn of the century until the Civil Rights era, are still some of the most quoted, referenced, and anthologized. This course will examine the public and private life of Du Bois, through a critical evaluation of his contributions as an organizer, race theorist, cultural critic, political journalist, public intellectual, and family man. How did Du Bois impact the study of global black experiences? How might he fit within a Black Radical Tradition? What was/is the impact of his ideas on race and race leadership? To what degree can we consider him an American intellectual? And finally, how are Du Bois' ideas applicable to the contemporary political environment? This course will engage these and other critical questions through close readings of published and unpublished writings by and about Du Bois during his day and long after.
Racial reparations have been and continue to be one of the most explosive contemporary issues. Some argue that this country's history of enslavement renders some form of reparations necessary to the quest for social justice; that understanding reparations is central to honest conversations about race and racism. Others argue that reparations for past injustices such as slavery are unfair. Still others refuse to discuss the topic altogether. This course is concerned with the historic and contemporary reparations debate as it pertains to African Americans and other oppressed groups seeking repair for historic injustice. We will pay close attention to how historians, artists, legal scholars, political scientists, grassroots community activists and legislators have approached this issue, and gauge its relevance in our so-called "post-racial" moment.
Professor and activist Angela Davis recently asked "Are prisons obsolete?" And Grier and Cobb once noted "No imagination is required to see this scene as a direct remnant of slavery." Since the 1980s state and federal authorities have increasingly relied on the costly and unsuccessful use of jails and prisons as deterrents of crime. This upper division course will grapple with ideas of incarceration and policing methods that contribute to the consolidation of state power and how it functions as a form of domestic warfare. This course takes a close look at how race (especially), but also class, gender, age and background intersect in shaping attitudes and perceptions towards incarceration and often determine who is incarcerated and who is not. While a number of individuals and organizations continue to push for prison abolition, dependence on advance methods of incarceration persists. As such, we will analyze the historic and contemporary tensions between incarceration and ideals of democracy, citizenship, family, community and freedom. Topics will include: criminalization, racial profiling, surveillance, and police brutality. This course will also acquaint students with many of the active local and national reform and abolition initiatives. It is expected that students have taken an introductory African American Studies or a U.S. history course prior to enrolling in this course. This course may include a community engagement component, site visit, or field trips.