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October 1, 2021

Dear old and new friends of the AAAD Studies Center,


As the semester rises into full swing, we have some important changes to review in AAAD staffing!


Dr. Besi Muhonja has left her position as co-director to take on a new role as the inaugural Associate Vice Provost for Scholarship, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in JMU’s Office of Research & Scholarship. Congratulations, Besi!


Dr. Mollie Godfrey will continue to serve as Director of the AAAD Studies Center.


Mollie is now joined in the office by our new Administrative Assistant, Megan Medeiros. Welcome, Megan!

Meet the rest of our leadership team and new graduate assistants here, our growing advisory board here, and our full list of faculty here.



We also recently celebrated the renaming of several buildings on campus, including one named in honor of AAAD faculty member Dr. Joanne Gabbin. Other honorees included Dr. Alexander Gabbin, Doris Harper Allen, Robert Walker Lee, and Dr. Sheary Darcus Johnson.


AAAD Conference: Call for Proposals

It’s time to submit your proposals to participate in the 12th Annual AAAD Studies Interdisciplinary Conference! The Conference will be held virtually from Wednesday, February 16th to Saturday, February 19th, 2022. The theme this year is “Voices of Race, Modes of Advocacy”, and will include a keynote talk from Dr. Dorothy Roberts. Please submit individual paper proposals or panel proposals to by October 15, 2021!



Virtual Fellows

We have three virtual fellows with us this semester. These are experts in their fields from the Global South, helping the AAAD Studies Center’s mission to advance decolonial knowledge about people of African descent. Here is a glimpse into their expertise and research.


Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Agyemang is a lecturer in English at the University of Ghana and the Academic Director of its School for International Training. His primary scholarly interests are the analyses of digital forms in African literature. He has also guest-edited special editions of Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds and Postcolonial Text.



Dr. Mshai Mwangola holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University (USA). Her thesis on Kenya’s Uhuru Generation, titled “Performing Our Stories, Performing OurSelves,” approaches the idea of a generational historical mission through the re-creation, invocation and facilitation of performance as a site of individual and communal reflection.



Dr. Jane Mutheu Mutune holds a Doctoral Degree (PhD) in Environmental Governance and Management from the University of Nairobi. Dr. Mutune is an expert in Environmental Governance and Management with a specialization in forest governance and rural livelihoods. She advocates that waste is not waste but a resource.


AAAD Critical Perspectives and Pedagogy Institute

The incredible AAAD Institute is back for the second year running. It consists of eight sessions, held from September to December, focused on undoing systemic racism as it is embedded in research, teaching, and institutional practices across the disciplines. Participants explore and draw on methodologies, pedagogies, and more related to the field of AAAD Studies.

Institute Facilitators, from left to right, top to bottom: Dr. Melissa Alemán, Dr. BJ Bryson, Dr. Taimi Castle, Dr. Kara Kavanagh, Dr. Amy Lewis, and Dr. Tolu Odumosu.


October Events

Look out for these exciting events through the beginning of Fall!

  • Friday, October 1 from 9:00 AM-3:30 PM: Sisters in Session Conference and Workshop. Register here! This is free for JMU graduate students!
  • Friday, October 1 at 2:00 PM: Furious Flower poetry reading, hosted on their Facebook page.
  • Wednesday, October 13th at 7:00 PM: The Institute of Creative Inquiry is screening SNCC. There will be a Q&A session with the filmmaker Danny Lyon.
  • Friday, October 15: Furious Flower poetry reading, hosted on their Facebook page.
  • Monday, October 25 at 4:00 PM: Warming the Campus Climate. A discussion about the retention of BIPOC students and faculty, hosted on Zoom. Register here!
  • Tuesday, October 26: The Slocum Massacre and the Radical Politics of Black Landownership in the Jim Crow South. A Presentation by Dr. Steven Reich. Look out for the Zoom invite in your email a week before the discussion.
  • Friday, October 29 at 2:00 PM: Furious Flower poetry reading, hosted on their Facebook page.

Social Media

Don’t forget to follow, tag, and promote our social media platforms in order to garner support for our center. Follow us here:


As always, thank you for your support of the AAAD Studies Center.


In solidarity and ubuntu,

Mollie (Center Director)

On behalf of AAAD Studies Center faculty, students, and partners

The AAAD Studies Center sends out regular newsletters each semester to keep those involved up to date with the center. Below, you can find the PDF files of our past newsletters.

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