The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research Announces Second Class of W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute Fellows

Cambridge, MA (April 15) — Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the newly launched Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, has welcomed twenty-three first-rate Fellows for the 2014-2015 academic year.

“We are delighted to welcome one of our most distinguished and diverse class of Fellows of the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute, housed in the Hutchins Center,” said Gates. A memoir of Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver; biographies of legendary trumpeter- composer Woody Shaw, Nelson Mandela, and Toussaint Louverture; DNA studies to re-consider the racial history of Cuba; hiphop in Senegal; the circulation of the black body in the global art economy; African American folktales; and the dramatic outcome of the Mau Mau torture trial in the British High Court are among the exciting projects which Fellows will be pursuing. “The Hutchins Center, with this class, has quickly secured its place as the preeminent locus for cutting edge thinking and research in African and African American Studies, “ commented Lawrence D. Bobo, the W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences and Chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. “’Creative’ is the most appropriate word to describe these fellows,” said William Julius Wilson, the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard and Chair of the Du Bois Research Fellowship Selection Committee. The incoming class is strong in all fields and particularly in the fields of literature, music, art history, and the visual arts. Professor Marcyliena Morgan, Director of the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute, will be welcoming two Inaugural Nas Fellows. She says that the first “represents the innovations and creativity of hiphop at its best,” while the other’s work has been has been “in the tradition of Illmatic where neighborhoods, the city, contradictions, and the accompanying soundscape frame our lives.” Susan E. Cook, the Executive Director of the Committee on African Studies, points out that “continuing the Hutchins Center’s deep engagement with the liberation movement in South Africa and its legacies, two Mellon Mandela Fellows will join the group from the University of Cape Town,” thus furthering another important goal of the Hutchins Center: “the re-imagining and re-conceiving of contemporary world history through the inclusion of voices and experiences of people of African descent.”

Originally created in 1975 as the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute, the Du Bois Research Institute has annually appointed scholars who conduct individual research for a period of up to one academic year in a variety of fields within African and African American Studies. It is now at the heart of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. The Institute accepts established and emerging scholars from both the humanities and social sciences and occasionally from fields such as engineering and the medical sciences. Fellows conduct their research by using resources from Harvard’s extensive library system as well as from the Institute’s research projects, including the Black Potomac Valley Project, the Black Patriots Project, the Dictionary of African Biography, AfricaMap, the African Art Database, the Image of the Black in Western Art Research and Photo Archive, the Timbuktu Library Project, the African AIDS Initiative International, and the Working Group on Environmental Justice. Du Bois Research Institute Fellows are participants in a range of activities of the Institute including colloquia, public conferences, lectures, readings, and workshops.

The 2014-2015 W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute Fellows and their research projects are as follows:

Franco Barchiesi is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of African American and African studies at Ohio State University. His recent book is Precarious Liberation: Workers, the State, and Contested Social Citizenship in Postapartheid South Africa (State University of New York Press and University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2011). The book is the winner of the 2012 CLR James Award of the Working Class Studies Association for best Published Book for Academic or General Audiences in working-class studies.  In residence as an Andrews Fellow for the 2014-2015 academic year, he will advance his project Liberal Whiteness and Labor Regimes.

Devyn Benson is Assistant Professor of History at Louisiana State University where she specializes in the histories of  Latin America and the Caribbean. In residence as a Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow for Spring 2015, Dr. Benson will be at work on her book-length project Race and Revolution in Cuba.

• David Bindman is Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at University College London.  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). Over the course of his eminent career, Professor Bindman’s interest turned to the representation of non-Europeans in Western art, culminating in the book Ape to Apollo: Aesthetics and the Idea of Race in the Eighteenth Century (Cornell University Press, 2002). His recent book is Warm Flesh, Cold Marble (Yale University Press, 2014). In residence as a McMillan-Stewart Fellow for Fall 2014, he is preparing for publication Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume 5, Parts 1 & 2 (Harvard University Press).

Damon Burchell-Sajnani is a doctoral student in African American Studies at Northwestern University. In residence as an Inaugural Nasir Jones Fellow for the 2014-2015 academic year, he will be working on his dissertation project Deepening Democracy Galsen Style: HipHop and Civil Society in Senegal which is an interdisciplinary ethnography examining politics, identity and activism among one of Africa’s foundational hiphop scenes.

Kerry Chance is currently the American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University. A social anthropologist, Dr. Chance is in residence as a Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow for the 2014-2015 academic year. She will advance her book-length project Living Politics: Practices & Protests of 'the Poor' in Democratic South Africa.        

• Kathleen Cleaver is a lawyer and a scholar of African American History with appointments at both Yale University and Emory University. In residence as a Caperton Fellow for the 2014-2014 academic year, she will be completing her project Memories of Love and War, a political and personal biography of Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver.

Caroline Elkins is Professor of History and African and African American Studies as well as Chair of the Committee on African Studies at Harvard University. Her book Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya (Henry Holt, 2005) received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. In residence as a Hutchins Fellow for the 2014-2015 academic year, she will be at work on her book-length project, Empire on Trial: Mau Mau and the High Court of Justice.

Murray Forman is Associate Professor of Media & Screen Studies at Northeastern University.  He is the author of One Night on TV is Worth Weeks at the Paramount: Popular Music on Early Television (Duke, 2012) and co-author with alumnus fellow Mark Anthony Neal of That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (Routledge, 2011). In residence in Spring 2015 as an Inaugural Nas Fellow, Dr. Forman will be working on his book Old in the Game: Age and Aging in Hip-Hop.         

Philippe Girard is Professor of History and Department Head at McNeese State University. He is the author of The Slaves Who Defeated Napoléon: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian War of Independence, 1801-1804 (University of Alabama Press, 2011) which won the Michael Thomason Book Award. In residence for Fall 2014 as a Sheila Biddle Ford Fellow, Dr. Girard will be working on his book Toussaint Louverture: A Biography.

Gregg Hecimovich is Professor and Chair of the English Department at Winthrop University. In 2001, Henry Louis Gates Jr. purchased a manuscript at auction titled "The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts a Fugitive Slave Recently Escaped from North Carolina." Dr. Gates authenticated it, and then published it in 2002 to great fanfare. The work became an instant New York Times bestseller. While Dr. Gates identified the slave author’s probable master as John Hill Wheeler, he did not locate the mixed-race, fugitive slave named Hannah Crafts. In residence for the 2014-2015 academic year as a Sheila Biddle Ford Fellow, Dr. Hecimovich will work on the book The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of The Bondwoman's Narrative which identifies the first, black female novelist as Hannah Bond “Crafts” and tells the story of her life and the search for her identity.          

Carrie Lambert-Beatty is Professor of Art History at Harvard University. She is the author of Being Watched: Yvonne Rainer and the 1960s (MIT Press, 2008) which won the de la Torre Bueno Prize (awarded to one book annually that advances the field of dance history) from the Society of Dance History Scholars. In residence for Fall 2014 as a McMillan-Stewart Fellow, she will be working on her book Beyond Skepticism: artists and everyday epistemology since 1992.       

• Kate Le Roux is Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics & Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town, Johannesburg. Her research focuses on the recontextualization of quantitative practices into pedagogic practices in higher education and on students’ transition from school practices to the higher education space. In residence for Fall 2014 as a Mellon Mandela Fellow, she will be working on her book An equity perspective on the transition from school mathematics to the mathematical practices of higher education.

Sarah Lewis is a doctoral candidate in Art History at Yale University. She is the author of The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery (Simon & Schuster, 2014).  In residence for the 2014-2015 academic year as a Dorothy Porter & Charles Harris Wesley Fellow, she will be completing the book Black Sea, Black Atlantic: Douglass, the Circassian Beauties, & American Racial Formation in the Wake of the Civil War which is under contract with Harvard University Press.        

Wahbie Long is Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Cape Town, Johannesburg. His research focus includes the history, theory and indigenization of psychology. In residence in Spring 2015 as a Mellon Mandela Fellow, he will be at work on his book-length project Towards an Afrocentric Psychology.

Kate Masur is Associate Professor of History at Northwestern University. She is the author of the award-winning An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C. (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). In residence for the 2014-2015 academic year as an Andrews Fellow, Dr. Masur will be working on her book Remaking American Liberty: Race and Due Process from Abolitionism to Civil War.           

Xolela Mangcu is Associate Professor of; Sociology at the University of Cape Town. He is author of the acclaimed Biko: A Biography (Tafelberg Press, 2012). In residence for Fall 2014 as an Oppenheimer Fellow, Dr. Mangcu will work on two book projects, Harold Washington's Leadership Legacy and the  Rise of Barack Obama as well as Nelson Mandela: Biography of A President.  

Beatriz Marcheco-Teruel is Professor of Genetics at the National Centre of Medical Genetics in Havana. In the last ten years, she has published forty peer-reviewed articles in the field of genetics. In residence for Fall 2014 as a Hutchins Fellow, she will be working on her project Reconstructing the history of admixture and the African Genealogy by DNA studies.               

Steven Nelson is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of the acclaimed From Cameroon to Paris: Mousgoum Architecture in and out of Africa (University of Chicago Press, 2007). In residence for the 2014-2015 academic year as a Cohen Fellow, he will be working on his book Mapping Blackness in African and Afro-Atlantic Art.

Elio Rodriguez is an Independent Visual Artist. In residence for Spring 2015 as a Cohen Fellow co-sponsored by the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at the Hutchins Center, he will be developing a new body of work dealing with blackness, diaspora and identity. This creative project, entitled Corridas y Venidas will draw on the Image of the Black in Western Art Archive housed in the Hutchins Center.

Maria Sanchez is Associate Professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She is the author of Reforming the World: Social Activism and the Problem of Fiction in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Iowa Press, 2009). In residence for the 2014-2015 academic year as a Hutchins Fellow, Dr. Sanchez will work on her book project The Imagination of Slavery.   

Woody Shaw III is an Independent Artist, a music producer, and a scholar of jazz studies. In residence for the 2014-2015 academic year as a Hutchins Fellow, he will work on the biography Trumpet of Fire: The Life and Music of Woody Shaw.

Maria Tatar is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures & Folklore and Mythology as well as Chair of the Program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University. She is the author of the acclaimed Annotated Brothers Grimm: Bicentennial Edition (W.W. Norton, 2012). In residence for the 2014-2015 academic year as a Hutchins Fellow, Dr. Tatar will be working on African-American Folktales, a volume co-authored with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.    


  • Marial Iglesias Utset was Professor of Philosophy and History at the University of Havana for 25 years. She earned her Ph.D. in Historical Sciences at the University of Havana and her M. Phil. and her B.A. at Moscow State University. Her research fields include Culture and Race in Cuba, Atlantic Slavery, and African Diaspora Studies. Her book Las metáforas del cambio en la vida cotidiana, a history of everyday life in Cuba during the US military occupation (1898-1902), has received several prizes, including the Clarence H. Haring Prize, which is a awarded by the American Historical Association to the Latin American author who has published the most outstanding book on Latin American history during the previous five years. The book has been recently translated into English and published by the University of North Carolina Press under the title A Cultural History of Cuba during the US Occupation, 1898-1902.

As a Visiting Scholar, she is at work on A Creole Family and Its Slaves in Saint-Domingue and Cuba: A Narrative of a Trans-Atlantic Experience which documenst the history of a family of French planters in Jérémie, in southern Saint-Domingue. The planters’ world  falls apart after the revolution in Haiti, and they are compelled to recreate the economy (material and moral) of the coffee plantation in Cuba.

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