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Now is the Time Album Release Party Creature Comforts October 2022

IAAS Congrats & Celebrations | Fall 2022

Layla Greenwood and Chera Jo Watts promote AFAM courses and programs outside of the UGA Bookstore

Gathered by: Chera Jo Watts

The Institute for African American Studies has much to celebrate this fall semester! To begin, we welcome three new joint-appointed faculty to our ranks: Dr. David Diamond (joint-appointment with the Department of English), Dr. Khalid Long (joint-appointment with the Department of Theatre & Film Studies), and Dr. Tracey Johnson (joint-appointment with the Department of History). Students interested in the new courses and expertise they bring to the department should consider their courses: AFAM 2000, Intro to African American Studies (Dr. Long), AFAM/HIST/WMST 3103, African American Women’s History or AFAM/HIST 4032/6032, Black Skin, White Walls: African Americans and the Museum (Dr. Johnson), and AFAM/ENGL 4470, Eighteenth Century Literature and the Black Atlanta (Dr. Diamond).

Next, we extend congratulations to several faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students or graduates on their amazing recent accomplishments. For instance, Dr. Carolyn Jones Medine recently participated in the Interfaith Coalition Conference for Global Citizens virtual conference as part of a Peace Dialogue entitled, “End Racism: Building Peace.” This panel drew international attention, and it was viewed by over 400 viewers on Facebook during the event!

Additionally, we celebrate Dr. Ed Pavlic on his recently published feature essay in the James Baldwin Review his new book of poetry, Call It In the Air, published by Milkweed Editions, and the NOW IS THE TIME album release, which wrapped up the last part of his Andrew W. Mellon Grant funded DJ Summits in the Global South project. Those interested in music should remember to check out performances or classes by our new Jazz Pianists with joint-appointments in the School of Music, including Professor James Weidman and Dr. Greg Sattherthwaite! For instance, Weidman recently participated in the collaborative Athens Hip Hop Harmonic at the UGA Performing Arts Center.

Further, we congratulate one of our newest faculty members, Dr. Khalid Long, on his competitive August Wilson Archive Grant. This grant allows Long the opportunity to both expand August Wilson Studies as well as provide greater context for his forthcoming edited anthology, August Wilson in Context, a collection of essays on August Wilson for Cambridge University Press' "Literature in Context" series, co-edited with Dr. Isaiah M. Wooden (Swarthmore College). Scheduled to be published in 2024, the book aims to explicate further the conditions and circumstances that informed and enhanced the making of Wilson’s artistic output. In addition to co-editing the anthology, Dr. Long will have two chapters featured in the collection: “Redefining American Theatre: August Wilson and David Henry Hwang” and “Wilson, Bessie Smith, and the Blues.”

If that isn’t already enough, our amazing graduate students should be celebrated as well! Ms. Sha’Mira Covington, PhD candidate in Textiles, Merchandising, & Interiors and African American Studies recently presented “The Revolution will be Embodied: An Archival Meditation on the Corporeal Narratives of Grace Jones in Radical Joy and Pleasure” as part of the UGA Institute for Women’s Studies Fall 2022 Friday Speaker Series. Ultimately, this case study becomes part of her dissertation work which examines the ways in which embodied practices such as dress and movement are rituals and sacraments in liberation leading to radical joy and pleasure.

Further, we celebrate Covington’s recent publication as part of the MDPI Literature Special Issue on “Spirituality, Identity, and Resistance in African American Literature,” edited by Dr. Carolyn Jones Medine. Her piece focuses on the narrative bodies of James Baldwin. Similarly, we celebrate Ms. Chera Jo Watts, PhD student in Religion and African American Studies, for her piece in the same special issue. In it, Watts challenges the dominant Christian-centered narrative concerning Black religious life by exploring Womanist and Black Buddhist voices alongside early writings by East Asian Buddhist nuns.

Finally, we would be remiss if we did not celebrate and acknowledge a recent Spring 2022 graduate of the AB African American Studies undergraduate program, Ms. Danielle Obiri, on her matriculation into medical school at the Medical College of Georgia this fall. For Ms. Obiri’s reflections on her experience with our program, scroll down on our Recent Graduates page. We are so excited to see what the future holds for her!

Also, we want to extend thanks to our amazing student worker, Ms. Layla Greenwood, for all of the growth and help she has instigated in the Institute. She is typically available in the AFAM Student Lounge & Library, room 314 Park Hall, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 1-5 PM. Also, Ms. Greenwood works with our Graduate Teaching Assistant to create course posters and connect with prospective students, such as through their recent tabling events outside of the UGA Bookstore and Tate Student Center (pictured). Thank you so much, Ms. Greenwood!

Congratulations, again, to all of these amazing folks for the work they are doing. If you are interested in the undergraduate major or minor, graduate certificate program, courses, or programs in the Institute for African American Studies, please reach out via Let us know how we can support you.


Director, Institute for African American Studies, All Shall Be Well Professor of Religion
Distinguished Research Professor of English, African American Studies, and Creative Writing
Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies
Assistant Professor, English and African American Studies
Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano and African American Studies

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Study within African American cultural history provides a basis for understanding political, social, and economic relations throughout human history.