Department News

AAAS Welcomes New Hires!

Brandeis University has recently hired two new professors as a part of the African Diaspora cluster initiative, Jasmine Johnson (AAAS and WGS) and Gregory Childs (HIST). We would also like to welcome Derron Wallace, Florence Levy Kay Fellow in Education and African and Afro-American Studies, to the Brandeis community as well. Congratulations and we look forward to working with each of you! Read more about our new hires in BrandeisNow.

Professor Chad Williams speaks at White House panel on African American veterans

From BrandeisNOW Chad Williams, chair of the African & Afro-American Studies Department, spoke at an event on Monday, Feb. 24 hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. The event, sponsored by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, featured a screening of the new documentary “Veterans of Color.” Williams participated in a post-film discussion about African American veterans. 

Professor Chad Williams to host 9th Annual Reverend Dr. Martin. Luther King Jr. Memorial

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality...I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word" - Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Professor Chad Williams, Chair of AAAS, will be hosting this year’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, entitled “For the Love of A Dream!”. The event will feature performances by Brandeis’ very own Erica Barnett ’17, Makalani Mack ‘16, Kaos Kids, and the return of the Emmy Award Winning Sean Fielder and the Boston Tap Company by popular demand. The keynote couplet for the evening will be the duo of freedom activists and musicians Mr. And Mrs. Hubert and Jane Sapp. Scholar-Motivator and Social Change Agent, Mr. Jermaine Hamilton, will his render his own delivery of Dr. King’s words to close out the event. Sponsored by MLK Scholars and Friends, Office of Dean of Students, and the AAAS Dept.

"Africans in America" article by Professor Chad Williams published in latest issue of Humanities 

Click here to read the article, entitled "Africans in America", that Professor Chad Williams wrote for the official magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities

New clutster hiring initiative in African diaspora studies featured in Brandeis NOW

“The field of African diaspora studies has allowed scholars to understand the connections as well as differences between dispersed peoples of African descent in exciting new ways — by grappling with issues related to race, ethnicity, culture, gender, language and religion in an interdisciplinary manner,” - Chad Williams, associate professor and chair of the department of African and Afro-American Studies. Read the full story on the new initiative here!

50th Anniversary of The March on Washington event featured in Brandeis NOW

Read the full story here!

AAAS Welcomes Emmanuel Asiedu-Acquah!

AAAS is pleased to welcome Emmanuel Asiedu-Acquah to Brandeis as a lecturer for the 2013-2014 academic year. Emmanuel holds degrees from the University of Ghana and is currently a doctoral student in the History Department at Harvard University. His teaching and research interests include early and modern Africa, 19th- and 20th-century West Africa, Atlantic slavery and the African Diaspora, 20th-century international politics, and Ghanaian history. His Ph.D. thesis examines youth culture and popular politics in 20th-century Ghana. In Fall 2013, Emmanuel will be teaching AAAS 115A: Introduction to African History, and in Spring 2014 he will be teaching AAAS 18B: Africa and the West.

You can now follow the AAAS Department on Twitter!

Be sure to follow us to keep up to date on the latest news and events from the department!


If you're still looking for classes to take or for more AAAS electives, be sure not to overlook these Spring 2013 courses!

- African American Military History, taught by AAAS Department Chair Professor Chad Williams. This is a NEW course so don't pass up the opportunity to be one of the first to partake in it!
- Politics of Southern Africa, taught by Professor Wellington Nyangoni. This class one of the department's gems that is only offered once every three years, so don't miss out!

Professor Faith Smith Awarded Research Leave Grant for Spring 2014!

Professor Smith was one of four faculty members to be awarded spring 2014 senior faculty research leaves for her research in Caribbean culture and modernity. Read more about the awards and Professor Smith's research here.

Professor Sundiata to be published in forthcoming book, Race, Color, Identity!

Professor Sundiata has written a chapter for the upcoming work Race, Color, Identity - Rethinking Discourses about Jews in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Efraim Sicher. The chapter is entitled "Reflections on BlacK/Jewish Relations in the Age of Obama". More information on the book can be found here and it is set to be released in April 2013.

AAAS UDR Jessye Kass' Article Featured in "Ethics Central Weekly"

Jessye Kass, '13, has been featured in the latest issue of "Ethics Central Weekly", a publication from Brandeis' International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life. The article, "Trauma and Healing Through Art: Revealing the Power of Solidarity", reflects upon Jessye's experience in Ghana as part of the Sorensen Fellowship. Feel free to read the article here and take part in Jessye's experience.

Professor Williams Featured on TV Show "History Detectives"

Professor Williams was featured on an episode of PBS’ television series “History Detectives”. From the collection of host Tufuku Zuberi’s African-American military posters, Our Colored Heroes depicts a raiding party of more than 20 Germans that attacked two African American doughboys on sentry duty during World War I. Amongst other experts, Zuberi calls upon Professor Williams for his expertise in African American military history to investigate the poster’s accuracy and reason behind its creation.  

Check out the episode (Professor Williams comes in at 8:37, but watching the entire episode is highly recommended)!

Professor Sundiata Invited to Conference Hosted by The Brenthurst Foundation and The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung at Lake Como

Professor Ibrahim Sundiata has been invited to participate in the conference "From Liberation Movement to Government: Past legacies and the challenges of transition in Africa," hosted jointly by the Brenthurst Foundation and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. The aim is to explore ways in which civil society can be strengthened, military units demilitarized and governmental transparency assured. The twenty-member invitation-only conference will be held at Villa la Collina on Lake Como from October 4 to 7th.

Ibrahim Sundiata Interviewed for The Root

Ibrahim Sundiata, the Samuel Augusta Spetor Professor of History and African and Afro-American Studies, was interviewed for the article "Slavery, Africa and What Obama Can Teach" on The Root.  In the interview, Professor Sundiata discussed the ideas behind his forthcoming book, Not Out of Dixie: Obama and the American Identity Crisis. He explained how the presidency of Barack Obama can potentially lead to more historically accurate understandings of slavery and de-romanticized ideas of Africa.

Chad Williams Appointed Department Chair

Associate Professor Chad Williams has been appointed as the new chair of the African and Afro-American Studies Department.  Professor Williams formerly taught at Hamilton College and specializes in African American history.  He will teach AAAS 5a: Introduction to African and Afro-American Studies, this fall.