Venise Berry, Ph D.
  • Race and the media
  • Weight and wellness
  • Novel writing
  • Success in the 21st century
Email: venise-berry at
Venise Berry is an associate professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and African American Studies. She is the author of three national bestselling novels, So Good, An African American Love Story (Dutton 1996), All of Me, A Voluptuous Tale (Dutton 2000) and Colored Sugar Water (Dutton 2002). Her fourth novel, Pockets of Sanity is expected in 2011. Venise is also published widely in academic circles with numerous articles on media, youth and popular culture. She has co-authored two non-fiction resource books, The Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema (Scarecrow Press, 2007) and The 50 Most Influential Black Films (Citadel 2001). Mediated Messages and African-American Culture: Contemporary Issues (Sage, 1996), a co-edited project, won the Meyers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America in 1997.
Timothy Havens, Ph D.
  • Race and the media
  • Globalization and race
  • Media globalization
  • Working in the media industries
Email: timothy-havens at
Timothy Havens is an associate professor of in the Department of Communication Studies and the Program in African American Studies. His research explores how racial and ethnic differences shape global cultural flows. He is the author of Black Television Travels: Media Globalization and Contemporary Racial Discourse (NYU Press, forthcoming) and Global Television Marketplace (BFI Publishing, 2006), as well as the co-author of Understanding Media Industries (Oxford University Press, 2011). His research has also appeared in numerous scholarly journals and anthologies on media and race, globalization, and television studies.
Lena Hill, Ph D.
  • 20th C Af Am lit
  • Am lit & drama
  • Am visual culture
Email: lena-hill at
Lena Hill is an assistant professor of English and African American Studies. She is particularly interested in the ways writers engage visual culture to characterize the complexity of American identity. Her current book project examines the role of visual art aesthetics in African-American literature from 1900 to 1952. Other publications, including Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man: A Reference Guide (Greenwood, 2008), reflect this focus on visual art aesthetics in literature.
Michael Hill, Ph D.
  • Post WWII Af Am Lit
  • Contemporary Black Culture
  • Prize-winning Af Am Novels
Email: michael-hill at
Michael Hill is an assistant professor of Anglish and African American Studies. Along with Lena Hill, he has co-written Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man": A Reference Guide (2008). His research interests include African American fiction and contemporary black culture. Currently, he is working on a book about prize-winning African American novels.
Sydné Mahone, M.T.A.
  • Playwriting
  • Dramatic Literature
  • Af Am Playwrights
  • Af Am Women in Theatre
Email: sydne-mahone at
Sydné Mahone is associate professor of Theatre Arts and African American Studies. She is the editor of Moon Marked and Touched By Sun: Plays By African American Women (TCG, 1994); and With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together (William Morrow, 1998). Recent affiliations include the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in Utah and Going to the River, a festival of black women writers at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York. She was the director of play development at Crossroads Theatre Company from 1985-1997 where she served as production dramaturg for many new plays including works by Rita Dove, August Wilson, Ntozake Shange, George C. Wolfe, Leslie Lee, Aishah Rahman, Don Evans, Pearl Cleage, Richard Wesley, and Dominic Taylor.
Deborah E Whaley, Ph D.
  • Transnationalism and Am Stds
  • Race, gender, and pop culture
  • Sequential Art
  • Af Am Greek-letter orgs
Email: deborah-whaley at
Deborah Whaley is associate professor of American Studies and African American Studies. Her teaching and research fields include the institutional history, theory, and methods of American Studies, 19th & 20th century American Cultural History, Comparative Ethnic Studies, Black Cultural Studies, Popular Culture, the Visual & Expressive Arts, Feminist & Gender Studies, and Critical Theory. Her first book project, Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities (SUNY 2010), is an interdisciplinary examination of a historically Black sorority. She is currently working on her second book project, titled Sequential Subjects: Black Women in Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime, which concerns women of African descent as consumers, producers, and as subjects in comic strips, graphic novels, comic books, film, and anime. Whaley is co-curator, with Kembrew McLeod, of the 2010 University of Iowa Art Museum Exhibition Two Turntables and a Microphone: Hip-hop Contexts Featuring Harry Allen's Part of the Permanent Record; Photos From the Previous Century.
Horace Porter, Ph D.
  • 19th & 20th C Af Am Fiction
  • Autobiography & Nonfiction
  • Jazz
  • Civil Rights
Email: horace-porter at
Horace Porter is F. Wendell Miller Professor of English, American Studies, and American Studies and Professor of African American Studies. His areas of interest include nineteenth and twentieth centuy African American fiction, theories of autobiography and nonfiction, jazz and American culture and the Civil Rights Movement.
Katrina Sanders, Ph D.
  • Am Race Relations
  • Hist of Catholic/Parochial Ed in America
  • Hist of Ethnic/Minority Edu
  • 20th C Ed Mvmnts
Email: katrina-sanders at
Katrina Sanders is associate professor in the College of Education and the Program in African American Studies. Her research and teaching interests include American Race Relations, the history of Afircan American education, Catholic and parochial education, and the movement for equal opportunity in education.
Damani Phillips, Ph D.
  • Jazz and racial climate
  • History of Bebop
  • Hip Hop lyric analysis

Damani Phillips is an assistant professor of Jazz and African American Studies. In addition to being an accomplished recording artist, his scholarly research delves into the circumstances surrounding the relationship between jazz music and the racial climate of the United States in the 20th century. His research interests include the social, cultural and economic factors leading to the emergence of bebop, the role of jazz in the civil rights movement and the literary substance of hip-hop lyrics. He is currently working on developing a method of notation that allows musicians and literary analysts to collaboratively examine and analyze hip hop music.

Bridget Harris Tsemo, Ph D.
  • 20th C Af Am Lit
  • Race & Citizenship
  • Midwest Af Am Cult
Email: bridget-tsemo at
Bridget Harris Tsemo is an assistant professor of Rhetoric and African American Studies. Her research reflects an intense scrutiny of the rhetoric that African American writers use in their literature to respond to an American construction of "citizenship" that marginalizes people based on their racial, class, gender, and/or sexual identity. Her book-in-progress, Our "Unwashed Democracy": African American Literature at the Turn of the Twentieth, is the first book to argue that middle-class African-American writers Paul Laurence Dunbar, Pauline Hopkins, and Charles Chesnutt challenge the pervasive "racial uplift" ideology. Bridget has also co-edited a collection with her colleague Vershawn Ashanti Young titled From Bourgeois to Boo-jie: Black Middle-Class Performances (Wayne State U P, 2011).
Miriam Thaggert, Ph D.
  • Af Am Literature
  • Modernism
  • Visual Culture
  • Critical Race Theory
Email: miriam-thaggert at
Mirian Thaggert is an associate professor of English and African American Studies. Her research focuses on 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century African-American literature, American modernism, and American visual culture. Her first book, Images of Black Modernism (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2010) examines Harlem Renaissance aesthetic theories, fiction, and photography and the formation of early-twentieth-century African-American modernism. She is currently working on a second book project on 19th-century forms of technology and the perception and categorization of national and racial identities. Her research interests also include critical race theory, film and popular culture, and photography.
Richard Brent Turner, Ph D.
  • Islam in the United States
  • Af Am Religious His
  • African Diaspora Religions
Email: richard-turner at
Richard Brent Turner is professor of Religious Studies, International Studies, and African American Studies. His research program focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary African-American religious history and African diaspora religions in the Black Atlantic world. He is especially interested in the following areas: Islam in the United States; religion and music in New Orleans, before and after Hurricane Katrina; Vodou in the United States and Haiti; interactions between African-American religion and popular music - jazz, soul, and hip hop; black nationalism and religion; African-American religion and human rights; ethnography; urban religious experience; and globalization and transnationalism. He is currently working on a book project on African-American religion and music in the 1960s.