African American Studies

July 14, 2014

@AASTCofC Twitter account hacked by current student, Hannah Craig!

On student orientation days our awesome AAST minor (possibly new major) Hannah Craig will be hacking the African American Studies twitter account to keep new and prospective students in the know about life at CofC, particularly as it relates to being a major or minor of African American Studies.

Meet Hannah here, first:

HannahCraig

My name is Hannah Craig. I am a rising senior majoring in Communication,  minoring in AA Studies (possibly soon to become a double major). I recently studied abroad in Barbados thought the AA Studies program and it was an amazing experience. I enjoy hanging with friends and family, listening to music,reading, fashion, journaling, and Youtubing (I’m actually obsessed with YouTube haha). My favorite food is chicken. My favorite color is purple and my favorite animal is a blue bird. If I could have any superpower I would fly and if my life could be the name of a current movie, it would be LOL because I love laughing and joking around. My dream job other than being a firefighter, detective or princess would be to travel the world and speak to young girls about self-worth.

June 2, 2014

Director Proud of Avery’s Role in Celebrating Black Life

Filed under: News @ 12:51 pm and

http://today.cofc.edu/2014/05/30/director-proud-averys-role-celebrating-black-life/

30 May 2014 | 10:29 am By:

Patricia Williams Lessane has served as executive director of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston since August 2010.

Patricia Williams Lessane

Before joining the College, Lessane was a faculty member at Roosevelt University and a consultant for The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. She holds a bachelor’s in English from Fisk University, a master’s in liberal studies from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D in Anthropology from University of Illinois at Chicago.

Q: As a cultural anthropologist, one of your research focuses is on Black life in popular culture. Can you talk about this topic in the context of what you have accomplished at Avery?

A: I think our public programs — specifically the conferences, film screenings, and public lectures — best reflect my interest in Black life in popular culture and the intersection of race, class, and gender in Black life. We’ve been able to bring some of the best minds to the College, including Drs. Harry and Michelle Elam (Stanford University), Dr. Joyce Ann Joyce (Temple University), Dr. Cathy Cohen (University of Chicago), filmmaker Julie Dash, and Dr. Johnetta Cole (Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art) to name a few.

Q: What are some of your current projects?

A: I teach every semester. It gives me the opportunity to connect with our students, and I enjoy talking to them and discussing the topics I am passionate about. I teach courses in African American Studies and Anthropology, including African American Society and Culture, Black Bodies in Television and Film, and The Peoples and Cultures of Africa. Next spring (2015), I will teach a First Year Seminar course on the Great Migration.

Patricia Williams Lessane with U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn.

I am co-editing with Dr. Conseula Francis, an anthology of essays on the work of filmmaker Julie Dash, and co-editing with Dr. Violet Johnson (University of Texas College Station) and Dr. Gundolf Graml (Agnes Scott College) a volume of essays, Deferred Dreams, Defiant Struggles: Critical Perspectives on Blackness, Belonging and Civil Rights (part of the FORECAAST Series by the Collegium of African American Research).

I am working on an essay about the 50th anniversary of Nothing But a Man, a film by Michael Roemer and Michael Young. And, I am so excited about our recent NEA award to develop a documentary about the remarkable life and work of Vertamae Smart-Grovesnor. So I will be making a film with Julie Dash!

I am equally thrilled that our 2014 symposium, “The Marrow of Tradition: The Black Film in the American Cinematic Tradition,” will screen and highlight the work of African American filmmakers and generate critical dialogue about the Black film tradition and the salient ways issues of race, class, gender, oppression, resistance, and liberation struggles have historically inculcated in the work of radical pioneers of race film and many that followed.

We take our name from Charles Chestnutt’s remarkable novel of the same title. A fearless commentator on racial violence and injustice, Chestnutt’s novel chronicles the events, which lead up to a fictional race riot in Wellington, North Carolina.

RELATED: Read a 2011 profile of Lessane in The Post and Courier.

Q: What object, story, or person associated with Avery has had a strong impact on you and why?

A: I have spent a good deal of time on the papers of Dr. Millicent E. Brown, so I’ve gotten to know a great deal about her life and work in civil rights and as a Black pedagogue. While I haven’t done any research on the Septima P. Clark collection, I am just so proud to be able to say that we have it. She is such an important figure in African American history, the Civil Rights Movement, and Black Charleston.

Most recently, I used the Joseph Towles Collection for my Anthropology 322 course — The Peoples and Cultures of Africa. It’s such a rich collection. As an anthropologist, having the work of anthropological luminary Colin Turnbull -a brilliant but unsung African American anthropologist — at my fingertips is truly an added bonus of working here. My dream is to develop a mixed media traveling exhibit about Towles.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share about Avery?

A: Three of our Avery staff members are headed to the Ivy Leagues this summer! I am headed to the Harvard Institute of Higher Education Management Development Program, and Mary Battle and Shelia Harrell-Roye will both be at Yale for the Yale Public History Institute.

 RELATED: Watch a 2011 video interview with Lessane.

May 9, 2014

Graduate Goes Out of Her Way to Create a Welcoming Campus Culture

Filed under: News @ 8:15 am and
8 May 2014 | 9:34 am By:
Contact: Melissa Whetzel, senior director of communications, 843.953.7752

Arvaughnna (Vaughn) Postema has earned dozens of awards during her four years at the College of Charleston, but it’s the impact she’s made on the campus culture that she’ll be most remembered for.

Vaughn Postema '13, communication major

Vaughn Postema ’13, communication major

Postema is a mentor, a change agent, a community builder.

“Vaughn is definitely one of the individuals I look up to most in life,” says Joye Nettles, a computer science major. “She has helped me to become a strong, confident woman who is not afraid to take on any obstacle that may come my way.”

Students and professors are quick to credit Postema with helping African-American students feel at home at the College, and enabling them to succeed in and out of the classroom.

“I have personally witnessed Ms. Postema informally mentoring students in class, at the library, and elsewhere on campus,” remarks Robert Westerfelhaus, a communication professor. “I hope she has inspired other students to do the same – that building an inclusive, supportive community at the College is her legacy.”

RELATED: Read a Cistern Yard News Q&A with Postema.

A Born Leader

Postema has literally held dozens of leadership positions at the College of Charleston – from several roles in the Black Student Union to president of the National Panhellenic Council (NPHC). She was inducted into the College of Charleston Hall of Leaders in 2012 and 2013, and is the 2014 recipient of the Cistern Award.

RELATED: Postema talks about her favorite sorority memory.

Postema stepping during Georgestock

Postema stepping during Georgestock

She’s made an incredible impact on multicultural students through her work with SPECTRA (Speedy Consolidation and Transition Program). She served as an intern, counselor, associate head counselor, and most recently as head leader/head counselor.

“Vaughn helped me in SPECTRA, with my financial aid, and overall she helped me get adjusted to college,” says freshman Julian Harrell. “I like seeing that she has a goal and she’s doing everything in her power to achieve that goal.”

SPECTRA is designed to help with the transition to college for multicultural and first-generation high school graduates. Incoming freshmen spend the summer on campus taking classes free of charge and getting to know professors and staff.

“I met Vaughn during SPECTRA in the summer of 2011. She wasn’t my counselor but I always made a point to listen when she talked,” Nettles says. “Reflecting on my experiences in shared circles with Vaughn, she is always the heartbeat that keeps us going. People like Vaughn are leaders. They inspire people in our community to want to do better and be better.”

Bringing the Community Together

Postema is part of the 2014 Homecoming court

Postema is part of the 2014 Homecoming court

“She made everyone feel accepted,” says Kalene Parker, a freshman exercise science major. “She never let obstacles stop her, she’s a pusher and that’s what the community needs. Someone that won’t stop and will make moves.”

Postema is invested in every student at the College of Charleston, and friends say she treats everyone the same – whether she just met them, or has known them for years.

In the greater Charleston community, she has worked with the step team at Fort Johnson Middle School, hosted the YWCA’s poetry slam, worked with the NAACP Goose Creek Chapter, and many more.

Professor Westerfelhaus says, “Our college and community have benefitted immensely from Ms. Postema’s skill in initiating, inspiring, organizing, supervising, and executing.”

The Future

Not surprisingly, Postema says she has a very strategic plan for her future that encompasses several aspects of media. Her immediate post-graduation plans include cultivating her radio career and eventually pursuing a Master’s in Entertainment Business.

“She is one of those people that we, as a campus, will really feel a loss when she leaves,” says Merissa Ferrara, communication professor.

Posted in: COFC Homepage Headlines, Email Posts, Featured Articles, Humanities and Social Sciences

April 18, 2014

Avery Receives National Endowment for the Arts grant! Julie Dash to direct the film

Filed under: News @ 7:53 am and

We are very pleased to announce that the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston has received a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for theArts to produce a film about the life and works of VertaMae Grovesnor.

Grosvenor is a poet, actress, culinary anthropologist, writer, and a National Public Radiocorrespondent.

A native of Hampton County, South Carolina, Grosvenor has been involved in making several documentary films including Slave Voices: Things Past Telling; and Daufuskie: Never Enough Too Soon.

She is also the author of the autobiographical cookbook Vibration Cooking, also known as The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl, and of the book Thursdays and Every Other Sunday Off: A Domestic Rap.

The film will be directed by American filmmaker Julie Dash. Dash is best known for her critically acclaimed 1991 independent film Daughters of the Dust.

“I am so thrilled that we have been awarded this prestigious grant,” says Patricia Lessane, Executive Director of the Avery Research Center. “It’s my honor to work with Julie Dash to bring well-deserved attention to VertaMae’s life story and contributions to American culture—her elevation of Gullah culture through her culinary acumen and literary works, but also her role in the Beat and the Black Arts Movements, and her work in American journalism.”

NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, “The NEA is pleased to announce that the Avery Research Center is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation’s artists asthey contribute to our cultural landscape.”

April 14, 2014

Upcoming at Avery Research Center: “The Souls of Black Comix” | April 18, 2014 at 6:00pm

Filed under: Events @ 7:40 am and

SoulsBlackComix

Mark your calendars! Avery Research Center, April 18, 6:00 pm, McKinley Washington Auditorium 

“The Souls of Black Comix,” John Jennings, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York 

In the last decade, a new generation of black scholars, publishers, creators, archivists, documentarians, and curators have come forth with a re-imagined vision of what it means to depict the African American experience via the comics medium. An underground movement has been operating unseen, flowing in tandem to the mainstream but showing very different levels of the American experience. The Black Age of Comics is an attempt to shift the paradigm of how black images and stories are portrayed in the medium of comics. In this presentation, Dr. John Jennings discusses the history of Black images in the comics medium, and presents his own recent work, including his upcoming graphic novelization of Octavia Butler’s KINDRED (with collaborator Damian Duffy).

 

April 10, 2014

Education Reform Expert to Speak in Charleston

Filed under: News @ 8:55 am and

Education Reform Expert to Speak in Charleston.

Posted on 20 March 2014 | 12:08 pm

On April 17, 2014, the College of Charleston will host Roslyn Mickelson, an expert in school reform. She will speak at 4:30 p.m. in room 235 of the Robert Scott Small Building (175 Calhoun St.). The event is free and open to the public.

Roslyn Mickelson

Roslyn Mickelson

Her studies have concluded that children of any race who attend diverse schools are more likely to succeed, in areas like graduating, avoiding crime and attending college. She’ll talk about this in her presentation, entitled “Majors, Leavers, and Avoiders: The Interactive Influences of Gender, Race, Social Class, and Institutional Forces along the Pathway to STEM Degrees in North Carolina.”


[Related: Read about Mickelson’s research in a 2013 New York Times article.]


Mickelson’s research focuses on the political economy of schooling and school reform, particularly the relationships among race, ethnicity, gender, class, and educational organization, processes, and outcomes. She investigated school reform in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools from 1988 to 2008, focusing on the ways integration and resegregation influenced educational equity and academic achievement. Her coedited book, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: The Past, Present, and Future of (De)segregation in Charlotte will be published in 2014 by Harvard Education Press.

Roslyn Arlin Mickelson is professor of sociology and public policy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In 2011, Mickelson received the First Citizens Bank Scholar Award from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in recognition of her career as a distinguished scholar. She is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and the National Educational Policy Center.

For more information about this event, contact Lauren Saulino at saulinole@cofc.edu.

Events, Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs

 

Office of Media Relations

Mike Robertson
Senior Director of Media Relations
robertsonm@cofc.edu
843.953.5667

Melissa Whetzel
Director of Media Relations
whetzelm@cofc.edu
843.953.7752

April 8, 2014

The Status of Quality Education in SC: a forum (April 10 at 5:30)

Filed under: Events @ 1:56 pm and

A public forum with Bob Moses and Dave Dennis, legendary civil rights activists, Millicent Brown, the first student to desegregate Charleston County School District, and the Honorable Joseph P. Riley.

From Equality to Quality flyer

April 4, 2014

2014 Student Diversity Conference (April 11-12)

Filed under: Events,News @ 9:38 am and

Register for the Student Diversity Conference

2014 SDC

$25 per student for Non-CofC Students

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

EVENT SCHEDULE

2014 College of Charleston
STUDENT DIVERSITY CONFERENCE
Be the Movement. Be the Solution!

Schedule of Events

Friday, April 11th

10:00 am
Morning Teach-In with Bob Moses
Burke High School

***

5:00-6:00 pm
SDC Kick Off Reception
Women’s & Gender Studies Garden
7 College Way

***

6:00-6:15
Student Diversity Conference
Welcome & Opening Remarks

6:15-7:00
Racial Taboo Screening

7:00-7:45
Panel Response to the Documentary
Physicians Auditorium
72 George Street

***

8:00-10:00
Gay Straight Alliance 2nd Chance Prom
Stern Ballroom
71 George Street

***

Saturday, April 12th

8:30-9:30
Registration and Breakfast

9:30-9:50
Welcome & Opening Poets
Robert Scott Small Lobby

Morning Workshops – Concurrent Sessions

10:00-11:30
 Women’s Sexuality: A Double Bind

Are Prisons Protecting Us?

Diversity Leadership: From the Freshman Year Forward (Freshman Only)

In Denial? The Persistence of Racial Stereotyping & Profiling

Building Campus Movements

~~Cistern Yard Lunch Break~~

11:45-12:45
BOX LUNCH –Distributed in Physicians Promenade

***

1:00-2:00
Keynote Address by Cecilia Fire Thunder
Physicians Auditorium

***

Afternoon Workshops – Concurrent Sessions

2:00-3:30
Just Jokes or Just Plain Wrong? The Role of Race and Gender in Comedy

The Art of Social Change

From the Language of Oppression to the Terms of Resistance

LGBTQ Organizing beyond Marriage Equality: What do Race and Class have to do with it?

Visibility of Disability: How student lives are affected by public awareness of diverse abilities
***

3:30 – 3:45
~~ Afternoon Break with Refreshements ~~

***

4:00-5:30
Be the Movement Student Showcase
Introduction of Evaluation Panelists
Three 25 min presentations

5:30-6:00
Closing Remarks & Closing Ritual

April 3, 2014

“Pestilence in Paradise: Dr. William Hillary’s Epidemiology in Colonial Barbados.”

Fraserflyer

April 1, 2014

Harlem Renaissance Rent Party on April 12

Filed under: Events @ 10:27 am and

Harlem Flyer pdf

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