Rhodes College Africana Studies Program

The Africana Studies Program at Rhodes College brings together disciplines such as sociology, history and religion.


Rhodes College
Africana Studies Program

Associate Professor and Chair of Africana Studies

The Africana Studies Program at Rhodes College seeks to hire a Chair of Africana Studies at the rank of Associate Professor beginning August 2022. This position is part of a cluster hire, and the successful candidate will be among three new faculty members contributing to the Africana Studies program. The successful candidate will offer courses in the Africana Studies Program, including Introduction to Africana Studies, Africana Theory and courses based in their area of (inter)disciplinary expertise. The Director will take a lead role in actively building the Africana Studies Program and will have an opportunity to create courses based on their research areas that can form/shape the curriculum of the program. The Director will coordinate and develop the curriculum, oversee programming, and will have the opportunity to interface with a vibrant intellectual community, one which includes a host of programs, such as the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies and The Lynne and Henry Turley Memphis Center. Teaching load is 3/2. Our Program welcomes public scholarship and community-engaged teaching and research. Applicants should demonstrate a commitment to teaching and conducting research in a liberal arts environment. Rhodes College believes that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as an institution, and we seek to recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool. Furthermore, Rhodes College is committed to supporting the work-life alignment of its faculty.

Qualifications: Ph.D. in African American/Black/Africana Studies, or related field, a clear evidence of teaching excellence, and a strong record of and potential for continued publication, and clear evidence of effective academic program leadership.

Rhodes is a nationally ranked residential college committed to the liberal arts and sciences. Our highest priorities are intellectual engagement, service to others, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and honor among ourselves. Our students live and learn on one of the country’s most beautiful campuses, located in the heart of Memphis, an economic, medical, and culturally diverse center, making Rhodes one of a handful of prominent liberal arts colleges in a major metropolitan area. https://www.rhodes.edu/admission-aid/why-rhodes/liberal-arts-city

Rhodes College prides itself on being a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment. We are an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and anti-discrimination. (https://handbook.rhodes.edu/employee-handbook/employment-policies/anti-discrimination-and-harassment-policy)

Please apply online at jobs.rhodes.edu. A complete application will include 1) a cover letter that addresses the strengths the candidate will bring as a program director to a liberal arts college environment; 2) a curriculum vitae; 3) the names and contact information for three references; 4) a two page teaching statement; 5) a two page research statement; 6) a statement that addresses how your experiences with teaching, scholarship, and/or service will contribute to a college community that includes a commitment to diversity and inclusion as one of its core values. Candidates are also invited to submit an optional statement explaining how COVID-19 has impacted their work. Review of completed applications will begin November, 1, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. Candidates from backgrounds typically underrepresented in higher education are strongly encouraged to apply. Background checks are required before candidates can be brought to campus for interviews. Rhodes College requires all employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 with exceptions for medical or religious reasons, which will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

For additional information contact:

Professor Charles McKinney, Chair
[email protected]


Department of Anthropology and Sociology and Africana Studies Program Statement Regarding Dr. Singer’s Invitation to campus:

September 24, 2021

"No one can be authentically human while he prevents others from being so."

- Paulo Freire
"Pedagogy of the Oppressed"

We, the faculty in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and the Africana Studies Program, wish to express our deepest dismay at the invitation of Professor Peter Singer to our campus. We believe that proceeding with this event as currently structured could further alienate students, faculty, and staff, particularly after the unresolved racist "incident" against African Americans that occurred in early September.

Professor Singer’s longstanding advancement of philosophical arguments that presume the inferiority of many disabled lives is dehumanizing and dangerous. The creation of a hierarchy of lives as a justification for the allocation or denial of limited resources (whether “pleasure,” medical care, insurance, etc.) is a logic that has a long and violent history. It is a logic that underlies eugenicist arguments marking various marginalized populations as unfit to be a part of the advancement of the human race. In the United States, such hierarchies were used to justify genocide of Native Americans who were viewed as incapable of self-governance, portray the enslavement of Africans as a civilizing act of benevolence, defend s*x assignments, pathologize homos*xuality and queerness, and moralize forced sterilizations and mass incarceration of impoverished populations and minorities, all of whom were deemed to be “burdens” on an otherwise “healthy” or “normal” society.

Disability scholars have critiqued Singer’s body of work across a range of themes, and we encourage anyone who reads Singer to also read this rich scholarship. Salient among these themes for the purposes of a panel on pandemic ethics is the denial of some disabled people’s full humanity and the premise that certain disabled people have lives that are less worth living than “normal” people (with whom they might be competing for medical resources). Given that COVID is one of the most profound disability rights issues of our lifetimes, it would seem that any panel on pandemic ethics would include disability scholars (especially given their significant challenges to Singer’s credibility in this area).

As scholars in a department and program which advocate for historical and intersectional analysis and structural change, we believe that Dr. Singer’s ideas are not the result of a logic that merely targets and hurts individuals with disabilities. Once one assumes a hierarchy of life, once one feels entitled to decide who gets to live and who dies, this philosophy, framed as utility, will not remain limited to infants with certain disabilities, which is itself deeply troubling.

As the faculty of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and the Africana Studies Program, we affirm our dedication to disability justice and urge the college to withdraw the invitation. We stand next to our students who are working hard to fight for their ideals of equality, fairness, and diversity, not as lip service, but as the basis of reflection and action. We cherish and advocate for freedom of speech and expression as long as it does not deny others their humanity.

It is safe to say that every single faculty member at Rhodes believes in freedom of speech and the free intellectual exchange of ideas. The relevant issue is that these principles do not exist in a vacuum without context and consequences, and it is irresponsible to ignore power dynamics that amplify certain voices and ignore others. Rather, these principles must be tempered with a moral discernment about when speech perpetuates injustice, inequality, exclusion, and dehumanization. The question is not whether we can invite anyone. The question is whether we should. And, in this case, we should not.

Dr. Duane Loynes, Rhodes College Asst. Prof. of Urban Studies & Africana Studies, discusses Derek Chauvin verdict with Local 24 anchor Katina Rankin 04/30/2021

Dr. Duane Loynes, Rhodes College Asst. Prof. of Urban Studies & Africana Studies, discusses Derek Chauvin verdict with Local 24 anchor Katina Rankin

Africana Studies and Urban Studies Professor Duane Loynes provides provides insightful, powerful commentary in the wake of the Chauvin trial verdict.

Dr. Duane Loynes, Rhodes College Asst. Prof. of Urban Studies & Africana Studies, discusses Derek Chauvin verdict with Local 24 anchor Katina Rankin Former police officer Derek Chauvin found guilty in the death of George Floyd.


The Africana Studies Program is excited about the return of Dr. Regina Bradley to Rhodes!

Please join us on Thursday, April 15 at 6pm CST, for her lecture "Why the South STILL Got Something to Say: Hip Hop in the Contemporary American South."

Dr. Regina N. Bradley is an alumna Nasir Jones HipHop Fellow (Hutchins Center, Harvard University, Spring 2016), Assistant Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University, and co-host of the critically acclaimed southern hip hop podcast “Bottom of the Map” with music journalist Christina Lee. Dr. Bradley is the author of Chronicling Stankonia: the Rise of the Hip-Hop South. Her book explores how the Atlanta, GA hip hop duo OutKast influences the culture of the Black American South in the long shadow of the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.

Join us: https://rhodes.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JGwYBDvlTJuYlupEhz11qQ

Hip hop, grit, and academic success: Bettina Love at TEDxUGA 03/23/2021

Hip hop, grit, and academic success: Bettina Love at TEDxUGA

Hip hop, grit, and academic success: Bettina Love at TEDxUGA This impassioned talk explains how students who identify with Hip Hop culture have been ignored or deemed deficient in schools because of mainstream misconce...

Instagram Photos 02/24/2021

Join us later on today!


Join us today for what promises to be an amazing session.

Pandemics and the meaning of Black religion 02/11/2021

Pandemics and the meaning of Black religion

In her new article, Africana Religion scholar and Rhodes College Religious Studies Professor Kijan Bloomfield writes:

"Thinking “panoramically” or systemically helps us make sense of the weight of the pandemic on Black religious institutions against the long history of antiblack and racist practices that conspire to limit Black flourishing."

Pandemics and the meaning of Black religion On November 3, 1918, Frances Grimke delivered a sermon at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. Reflecting on the lessons of the flu pandemic, he posed the questions,...

news.rhodes.edu 10/19/2020

New Professor of Sociology Dr. Earl Wright Publishes Book Illuminating Scholarship of Early African American Sociologists | Rhodes News

The Africana Studies Program welcomes Dr. Earl Wright to Rhodes. Dr. Wright is Professor of Sociology and an authority on Black sociology and the origins of the field.

As one reviewer said of his latest book, "Jim Crow Sociology", “Earl Wright demonstrates that Tuskegee Institute, under the leadership of Booker T. Washington, established the first applied program of rural sociology. Fisk University, first under the guidance of George Edmund Haynes then Charles S. Johnson, developed one of the earliest and most impactful programs of applied urban sociology . . . . Jim Crow Sociology forces contemporary scholars to grapple with who are and who are not included in the disciplinary canon.”

He is also a Memphis native who's glad to be back home.

news.rhodes.edu Dr. Earl Wright II, who joined Rhodes’ Department of Anthropology and Sociology this year as professor of sociology, has published a new book titled Jim Crow Sociology: The Black and Southern Roots of American Sociology. The eye-opening book features the activities and contributions of early Afric...


What Do You Have To Lose-Trailer

Congratulations to Trimiko Melancon, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and English, on her new movie - "What Do You Have to Lose?" - being selected for the Indie Memphis Film Festival!

This is "What Do You Have To Lose-Trailer" by Trimiko Melancon on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

youtube.com 10/12/2020

The History and Philosophy of Black Lives Matter

"The History and Philosophy of Black Lives Matter."

This was a conversation between Charles McKinney (Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of History, Rhodes) and Anika Simpson (Associate Professor of Philosophy; Coordinator of Women and Gender Studies Program, Morgan State) along with Remy Debes; Q&A Moderator Ladrica Menson-Furr (African American Studies, Memphis).

Organized with and cosponsored by the Department of Philosophy

youtube.com A conversation with Anika Simpson (Morgan State) and Charles McKinney (Rhodes College) about the Black Lives Matter movement.


"Never the Damsel in Distress": Michelle Cusseaux and the Killing of Black Women in Crisis

Michelle Cusseaux was a 50-year-old Black woman who was killed by Phoenix police in her own home on this day, August 14th, in 2014. Police were called to her home on a mental health pick up order, but when she declined their help, an officer forced entry and killed her during a brief encounter. Following her death, her mother Fran Garrett’s decision to march Michelle's casket to Phoenix City Hall gained national attention and inspired our #SayHerName Campaign. Fran’s march broke the silence around her daughter’s death; and the #SayHerName Campaign was launched to break the national silence around the killing of Black women by the police.

Michelle is one of many Black women who lived with the intersectional marginalization of having a mental health diagnosis while being Black and female. Like Kayla Moore, Deborah Danner, and Pearlie Golden, Michelle was a Black woman with a mental health diagnosis killed by police in her own home. Like Tanisha Anderson and Shereese Francis, Michelle was killed in her moment of most dire need, when help was requested but killers arrived. Like Natasha McKenna and Tyisha Miller, Michelle’s distress became cause for policing to turn lethal. Our #SayHerName Campaign calls for the end of police response to mental health and domestic disturbance calls.

On Michelle Cusseaux's "Angel Day," the anniversary of her death, we at AAPF have produced a video titled, "'Never The Damsel in Distress:' Michelle Cusseaux and the Killing of Black Women in Crisis" (link). Watch it, share it, sit in its impact, and honor Michelle by saying her name, supporting the #SayHerName Campaign, and continuing the fight for justice...

Having a mental health crisis is not a capital crime, yet Black women continue to die from it. This is why we can’t wait. It’s been exactly six years since M...

higheredworks.salsalabs.org 07/09/2020

2020-07-00 HEW Newsletter

Dr. James Johnson with a good word on the current moment:

"Several of my White friends and colleagues have asked me recently what changes are required to address systemic racism in higher education institutions. After reflecting on personal experiences as an African-American professor for four decades in two predominantly White institutions, I will highlight activities that have given me race fatigue over the years – things I no longer would have to do or experience if systemic racism did not exist."

higheredworks.salsalabs.org By James H. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D. CHAPEL HILL – Several of my White friends and colleagues have asked me recently what changes are required to address systemic racism in higher education institutions.  After reflecting on personal experiences as an African-American professor for four decades in two...


Join us for what promises to be a lively conversation!

dailymemphian.com 06/03/2020

Why protest: Recent killings resonate powerfully with black Memphians

Program Director Charles McKinney and Professor Aram Goudsouzian of the University of Memphis co-authored an op-ed piece on the rebellions, Memphis, and the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

dailymemphian.com "The protesters in Memphis bore witness to the lives lost, and they shined a light on a justice system that devalues black life."

dropbox.com 05/28/2020

Riot - Keywords in African American Studies.pdf

Program Director Charles McKinney penned an essay on riots for the volume "Keywords for African American Studies."

"A century ago, Ida B. Wells-Barnett crafted a brilliant analysis of the East St. Louis riot. She concluded that a foundational racial animus buttressed an unequal legal system, undermined effective law enforcement, cemented economic inequality, sanctified segregation, facilitated racial violence and debased every aspect of civil society. These observations reverberate through the ages down to now. Her report is both timely and timeless in that the core of her analysis – penned one hundred years ago – could have been written in the wake of events in Ferguson, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and the next American city where a riot (or rebellion) will regrettably occur."






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