Fellows Program

2010-2011 Resident Fellows

The Fellows Program is at the heart of the activities of the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute. Started in 1975 as the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, the Institute has annually appointed scholars who conduct individual research for a period of one to two semesters in a wide variety of fields related to African and African American Studies. With a record of supporting more than 300 Fellows since its founding, the Institute has arguably done more in its short existence to ensure the scholarly development of African and African American Studies than any other pre-doctoral or post-doctoral program in the United States.


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Abongwe Bangeni

Bongi Bangeni is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Higher Education Development at the University of Cape Town where she works in the area of language development. She completed her PhD in Education at the University of Cape Town.

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David Bindman

David Bindman is Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at University College London. He was educated at Oxford, Harvard and the Courtauld Institute, University of London. Professor Bindman has taught and lectured extensively in the US, and has held fellowships at Yale, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Getty Institute, and the Du Bois Institute at Harvard. He is a scholar of eighteenth-century British art, and the author of books on Blake and Hogarth as well as the editor of The History of British Art (Yale University Press, 2008).

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Lauren Coyle

Lauren Coyle is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the University of Chicago and is currently a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency graduate research fellow. She is working on a dissertation titled Dual Sovereigns in the Golden Twilight: Law, Land, and Sacrificial Labor in Ghana. Her research interests include legal and political anthropology, historical ethnography, critical theory, and ritual and symbolic power.

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John Drabinski

John E. Drabinski is Professor of Black Studies at Amherst College in Amherst, MA. He specializes in francophone and anglophone Caribbean cultural theory and the history of African-American thought, with special emphasis on the philosophical strands in those traditions. His most recent book is Levinas and the Postcolonial: Race, Nation, Other, and he is completing both a book-length study of Édouard Glissant's poetics entitled Abyssal Beginnings and a translation with critical introduction of Bernabé, Chamoiseau, and Confiant's In Praise of Creoleness.

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Holly Ellis

I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology at the University of Birmingham. I am an Africanist by training, mainly working Ghanaian gender history. My thesis focuses on the networks between West African and African American women from 1930-1960. My research interests include the histories of gender and sexuality, trans-Atlantic exchange and trans-local communication.

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Christopher Emdin

Christopher Emdin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University; where he also serves as Associate Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education. Emdin is a social critic, public intellectual and science advocate whose commentary on issues of race, culture, inequality and education have appeared in dozens of influential periodicals including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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Shose Kessi

Shose Kessi is a lecturer in the Psychology Department at the University of Cape Town. The focus of her research is in the area of community-based empowerment and social change, particularly exploring how to address issues of identity, such as race and gender, that impact on people’s participation in transformation efforts.

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Erika M. Kitzmiller

Erika M. Kitzmiller is a historian of race, social inequality, and education who brings a deep understanding of social-science methods, urban politics, and government policy to her research and teaching. She earned a joint Ph.D. in History and Education and a M.P.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. in History and Italian from Wellesley College. In the 2012-2013 academic year, she served as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Education at Drexel University.

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Christopher Lee

Christopher J. Lee is a lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he has a joint appointment with the Department of International Relations and at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA). He previously taught in the United States and Canada at Stanford, Harvard, and Dalhousie Universities and at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He received his PhD in African history from Stanford University.

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Achille Mbembe

Achille Mbembe is a Research Professor in History and Politics at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Romance Studies Department and at The Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University as well as a Convenor of The Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism (JWTC). For a long time a Contributing Editor for Public Culture, he is now the Editor of the online cultural magazine The Johannesburg Salon.

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Diane McWhorter

Diane McWhorter, a journalist based in New York City, is the author of Carry Me Home (Simon & Schuster), a history of the civil rights revolution in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. It won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, among other awards. Her young-adult history of the civil rights movement, A Dream of Freedom (Scholastic) was one of The New York Times’s nine “Notable Children’s Books of 2004.

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Mark Anthony Neal

Mark Anthony Neal is Professor of African & African American Studies at Duke University where he was the 2010 Winner of the Robert B. Cox Teaching Award. The author of several books including the recently published Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities (NYU Press, 2013), Neal is also the co-editor of the acclaimed That’s the Joint: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (Routledge), now in its second edition. Neal is the host of the weekly webcast Left of Black, which is produced in conjunction with the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdiciplinary and International Studies at Duke.

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Bryan Sinche

Bryan Sinche is the Belle K. Ribicoff endowed professor and an associate professor of English at the University of Hartford. He has published journal articles and book chapters on nineteenth-century American and African American literature and is editing the third edition of the teachers' guide for The Norton Anthology of African American Literature.

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Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright, poet, essayist, and profile in courage. At 78, he still afflicts the political tyrannies in his path, as he has since he was a young man. In 1967, Nigerian authorities arrested Soyinka and placed him in solitary confinement for 22 months for attempting to broker peace during the Biafran War.

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Deborah Willis

Deborah Willis, Ph.D, is the Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has an affiliated appointment as a University Professor with the College of Arts and Sciences, Africana Studies. She was a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow and Fletcher Fellow, and a 2000 MacArthur Fellow, as well as the 1996 recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation award.

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George Wilson

George Wilson is Professor of Sociology at the University of Miami. His research interests focus on the institutional production of racial/ethnic inequality in the American workplace and the social structural determinants of race-specific attitudes about the American stratification system. Professor Wilson received his PHD from Johns Hopkins University.

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