Fall Institute Fellows Selected

Harvard’s W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research announced the selection of fourteen new Institute Fellows for the fall of 2010 last Wednesday.

The Fellows, including both established and emerging scholars who hail from four different countries, will be in residence at Harvard for either the fall semester or the entire academic year to conduct individual research projects.

Their research, to be presented as part of a weekly colloquium at the Barker Center, covers a wide range of topics in the study of the African-American experience, including the movement for racial equality in the 1940s and 50s, the relationship between blacks and Asians, and African-American theatre and literature.

“The Fellows program is the jewel in the crown of the Du Bois Institute, and this fall’s fellows will be key contributors both to the field of Africa and African American Studies in general and to the Harvard community in particular,” Institute Director Henry Louis Gates, Jr. said in a statement.

Omar Wasow, a current sixth-year doctoral candidate at Harvard, described the opportunity to do research at Harvard as an “incredible gift,” citing the “deep pool” of resources and mentorships available and the rich community of scholars.

Wasow, who helped launch the social-networking site BlackPlanet.com and co-founded a K-8 charter school in Brooklyn, will focus his research on the increase in incarceration rates in the United States since 1970.

This year’s Fellows program introduces several innovations. The 2010-2011 school year will feature Theodore Miller as the first Hiphop Archive Fellow since the founding of the Du Bois Institute in 1975.

Miller, a graduate of the Harvard Law School, described hip hop as being a pivotal force in the experience of urban youth, including in his own childhood. In addition to managing the Hiphop Archive, he will conduct his own research on wealth inequality and the urban black experience.

Also for the first time, two of the Du Bois Fellows are teaching courses in the Department of African and African American studies open to both Harvard undergraduate and graduate students. Grey Gundaker, a professor at the College of William and Mary, is teaching “African Americans and the Politics of Home Ground” this fall and will teach another course in the spring. University of Maryland curator Adrienne L. Childs is teaching “Imaging Blacks and Blackness in Western Art from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century” this fall.

The other fellows include David Bindman, Todd Carmody, Meagan Healey, Jonathan Munby, Sophie Oldfield, Ronald K. Richardson, Mark Solomon, Nirvana Tanoukhi, Lisa Thompson, and Louis Wilson.

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