In 2013, the remains for 36 likely African and African-descendant individuals were found during renovations at the Gaillard Center. These burials date to the 1760s-1800. Dr. Ade Ofunniyin (African American Studies) and Joanna Gilmore (Sociology and Anthropology), adjuncts at the College of Charleston and Gullah Society staff, are now working with Prof. Theodore Schurr and Raquel Fleskes, molecular anthropologists at the University of Pennsylvania, to explore the ancestry of the Anson Street individuals, prior to their reburial and the construction of a monument.
The Gullah Society is supported by the City of Charleston in this project and, with our colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, has applied for a grant from the National Geographic Society, to conduct ancient DNA research to learn more about the individuals buried at Anson Street and to take DNA samples from 36 living individuals to try to find any ancestral ties between those buried at the site and those living in Charleston today. The Gullah Society is currently researching 18th century property owners for the land at George and Anson Street to try to identify and offer DNA tests to living descendants of the deceased.
This summer, a student from the College of Charleston, Adeyemi Oduwole, will complete a four-week internship with Dr. Theodore Schurr & Raquel Fleskes at the Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology, at the University of Pennsylvania. Adeyemi is a junior, majoring in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry – Pre-medicine. During his time in Pennsylvania, Adeyemi will learn how to characterize the mitochondrial DNA diversity of 36 contemporary individuals from Charleston.
The African American Studies Program will be offering a new course in the Fall 2018 semester, “The Life and Writings of James Baldwin.” This is a pilot course for a variable topics seminar, “The Africana Intellectual Tradition,” which will be added to the curriculum in the next couple years.
AAST 300: “The Life and Writings of James Baldwin”
The literary and cultural icon James Baldwin was a prophetic and radical voice for racial justice at the height of the Civil Rights Movement and in its aftermath. This seminar examines Baldwin primarily as a writer through his essays, novels, and plays, but also analyzes his role as a ‘witness’ to the Black freedom struggle in the US and abroad. Major themes in the course include race and sexuality, diasporic connections, history and memory, impiety (religious and otherwise), and the role of the artist in public life. Reading assignments from his body of work will be paired with critical texts and films by his contemporaries and scholars from Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Ralph Ellison to David Leeming, Raoul Peck, and Douglas Field. Discussions and essay assignments will provide students with an opportunity to closely analyze Baldwin’s work while offering a lens to understand and confront issues of power and justice in our times.
Please contact the professor for this course, Mari N. Crabtree, with any questions at email@example.com.
The white supremacist and white nationalist violence that erupted in Charlottesville last weekend made visible, with terrifying clarity, a truth at the heart of US history: white power, when confronted with threats, real or imagined, reacts with violence and death. As scholars who study the history and culture of African Americans, we recognize that black life is far richer and far more beautiful than a litany of abuses. We choose to frame black life beyond the reach of what Toni Morrison called “the white gaze,” but the fury of a white mob in 2017, wielding torches, brandishing pipes and assault rifles, spewing hate-filled rhetoric, and ramming a car into a peaceful anti-racist march threatens to impinge upon life beyond the white gaze. With images of that furious mob flooding our televisions and news feeds, we could not help but see in those faces a hatred tinged with arrogance reminiscent of the smiling white faces gazing out of lynching photographs from the Jim Crow era. This family resemblance reminds us that what happened in Charlottesville is as American as that small college town’s favorite son, Thomas Jefferson, which is to say, what happened in Charlottesville is as American as enslavement and lynching and convict leasing and debt peonage and mass incarceration.
The African American Studies Program condemns the white supremacist, neo-Confederate, and neo-Nazi ideologies harbored by the mob in Charlottesville as well as the violence these ideologies breed. We mourn the dead, and we wish healing to those anti-racist protesters who have suffered injuries of all stripes. We also recognize that what happened in Charlottesville was not exceptional or unique, after all, we remember all too well the massacre that happened just blocks from our offices two summers ago. Our students have already begun to return to campus in advance of the fall semester, and as much as recent events have shaken and disgusted us, we are deeply concerned for our students who are grappling with these acts of violence and their political aftershocks. In moments like these, the value of African American Studies as a discipline cannot be overstated. We, as educators, remain steadfast in our responsibility to provide the analytical tools, conceptual frameworks, and historical contexts to make our contemporary moment legible, if not comprehensible. We also remain committed to supporting our students, most especially those students of color for whom the violence in Charlottesville is no mere abstraction but a threat to their very existence. This violence may be a harbinger of even more terrifying things to come, but the tradition of radical protest that undergirds so much of African American history and culture keeps us pushing back and pressing forward.
The annual Excellence in Collegiate Education and Leadership (ExCEL) Awards program honors members of the College and community who promote excellence and contribute to the College’s core values of diversity and inclusion.
The 2017 Outstanding Faculty of the Year for the School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs was our very own Professor Mari Crabtree!
Another exciting ExCEL award is the Outstanding Students of the Year Lucille S. Whipper Award which was awarded to AAST major Aisha C. Gallion.
Award recipients were acknowledged on April 5, 2017 at the ExCel Awards Program held at the Sottile Theatre. The African American Studies program is very proud of all of our faulty and students and their accomplishments on and off of campus!
On June 17, 2015 Mother Emanuel AME Church was the site of an act of vicious, racist terror.
We, along with our families, friends, and neighbors, are grieving, and we speak the names of those we’ve lost:
Rev. Clementa Pinckney
Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton
Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor
Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr
As scholars of African American history, culture, and experiences, we remain committed to activist scholarship and we insist that #BlackLivesMatter. We believe that the wrongs of the past can be made right, but only if we are willing to confront those wrongs with courage and honesty. We stand with others in our community, including Governor Haley, in calling for the removal of the confederate flag from the statehouse grounds. We also, though, remind our community that this act alone will not dismantle the legacies of slavery Jim Crow that remain with us, including a segregated school system, significant income disparity, and police harassment and brutality.
We have been moved and encouraged by the show of support, sympathy, and unity in the days following the murders. We look forward to continued support and unity as we work for much needed change in this place we call home.
Please feel free to drop by the North Campus Wednesday May 6 at 9:30 AM, for the dedication of ourLittle Free Library. The Library was built and donated by Charleston resident Fred Herrmann, and School of Education, Health and Human Performance professor Tracey Hunter-Doniger helped Memminger Elementary 6thgrade students design and paint it in the style of artist Jonathan Green. The two lead student artists will attend the dedication.
Originally Posted by: wichmannkm | April 24, 2015
Political Science and African American Studies Double-Major Brandon Chapman will attend the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) at Duke University. This intensive five-week program is named in honor of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former American Political Science Association (APSA) President, Ralph J. Bunche. The competitive program introduces doctoral study to undergraduate students from under-represented racial and ethnic groups.
Dr. Hollis France encouraged Brandon to apply during his junior year. “Brandon struck me as a ‘go getter’ and I thought this kid is going to go places,” Professor France noted. She added, “Brandon’s acceptance places him in a very elite group of minority political science students from around the country. He will be in classes with a diverse student body. Students are drawn from small liberal arts schools, master’s level institutions like CofC, and doctoral granting universities. RBSI also brings in students from historically black colleges and universities and Ivy League institutions. This program works to increase the number of minority students attending Ph.D. programs and ultimately joining the ranks of academia.” Professor France speaks from experience as she also attended RBSI as an undergraduate student and credits the program for giving her the confidence to pursue a Ph.D.
Brandon is looking forward to making the most of this opportunity to develop the writing skills necessary for graduate school and meet top political science students around the country. Brandon said RBSI will encourage him “to do better, study harder, and buckle down.” He also hopes the institute will help him narrow his focus as he is also considering law school and community organizing. Brandon is especially interested in race implications on political institutions.
While he attributed his double major and spring internship with the Office for Institutional Diversity as factors in helping him stand out among other applicants, Brandon mainly emphasized the help he received from Professors John Creed and Hollis France on his personal statement. He noted that they were “very instrumental in securing this great opportunity” because they assisted him with revisions and met with him frequently throughout the application process.
For more information on the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute, please visit http://www.apsanet.org/rbsi.