People

Faculty

Lucas Wilson

Chair and Associate Professor of Africana Studies; Associate Professor of Economics

Lucas Wilson focuses much of his work on the philosophy and methodology of economics, Marxism, the political economy of race, and exploring the various economic and noneconomic conditions that restrict opportunities and inhibit social progress for African-Americans.

Lucas Wilson

Patricia A. Banks

Associate Professor of Sociology

Patricia A. Banks studies cultural patronage and cultural markets with a focus on the African Diaspora. In her book Represent: Art and Identity Among the Black Upper-Middle Class (Routledge 2010), she traverses the New York and Atlanta art worlds to uncover how black identities are cultivated through art collecting. She is currently working on a monograph on philanthropy at African American musuems as well as research on the market for contemporary African art and e-commerce in the art market.

Ashley Brown

Visiting Lecturer in Africana Studies and Five College Women's Studies Research Center Associate

Ashley Brown is a twentieth-century United States historian whose research and teaching focus on African American history, women’s history, and the history of sport. In 2015, her article, “Swinging for the State Department: American Women Tennis Players in Diplomatic Goodwill Tours, 1941-1959,” was honored by the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) and published in the Journal of Sport History. Her book manuscript is a critical biography of Althea Gibson, the first African American to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Brown teaches “The Culture of Civil Rights” and “African Americans and Sports.”

Ashley Brown

Kimberly Juanita Brown

Assistant Professor of English

Kimberly Juanita Brown's research engages the site of the visual as a way to negotiate the parameters of race, gender, and belonging.  Her book, The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary (Duke University Press) examines slavery’s profound ocular construction and the presence and absence of seeing in relation to the plantation space and the women who exist there. She is currently at work on her second book, tentatively titled “Their Dead Among Us: Photography, Melancholy, and the Politics of the Visual.”  This project examines images of the dead in The New York Times in 1994 from four geographies: South Africa, Rwanda, Sudan, and Haiti. 

Kim Yi Dionne (leave spring)

Five College Assistant Professor of Government

Amber Douglas

Associate Professor of Psychology and Education; Director of Student Success Initiatives

Amber Douglas is a licensed clinical psychologist. She teaches courses related to psychological distress, mental health, trauma, resilience and research methods. Her work lies at the intersection of social psychology and clinical psychology, specifically the interactions between social contexts and individual differences. She examines the impact of traumatic stress on cognitive processes, interpersonal health, and mental health in her work. In addition, Douglas investigates how race and other aspects of identity intersect with one’s appraisal and experience of stress, trauma and psychological well-being. Most recently, her work examines the role of psychological distress and resilience in academic contexts.

Amber Douglas

Bernard Forjwuor

Mount Holyoke College Fellow and Visiting Lecturer of Politics

Samba Gadjigo

Professor of French

Samba Gadjigo's research focuses on French-speaking Africa, particularly the work of filmmaker Ousmane Sembene. In 2001, Gadjigo was instrumental in bringing the Senegalese filmmaker to MHC for screenings and discussions of his work.

Image of Samba Gadjigo

Holly Hanson

Co-Chair of the Development Studies Nexus, Professor of History and Africana Studies

Holly Hanson is a social historian of Africa whose research and publications focus on Uganda. Her interests include the history of democracy and political accountability in East Africa over the last five hundred years, land tenure, the role of farming in building prosperous communities, and economic history. Many of her classes incorporate community-based learning opportunities with recently resettled African immigrant in the area and "Education and Capacity in African History includes a collaboration with the Springfield Renaissance School.

Holly Hanson

Lynda Morgan

Professor of History, Member of the Africana Studies Program

Lynda Morgan's research interests center around 19th century African-American history, including slavery, the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction. As a social historian, she places the experiences of groups of people at center stage, linked to political and economic history. Recently Morgan became interested in the reparations movement and its history, which has taken her into the 20th and 21st centuries. She is also interested in the free African-American population in the antebellum North, the history of segregation, the role of violence against African-Americans, and the abolition movement.

Lynda Morgan

Dorothy E. Mosby

Associate Dean of Faculty, Professor of Spanish, Latina/o, and Latin American Studies

Dorothy E. Mosby is the author of Place, Language, and Identity in Afro-Costa Rican Literature (University of Missouri Press, 2003), which explores contemporary black writing from Costa Rica. Mosby has taught Afra-Hispanic Literature: Black Women's Writing from the Spanish-Speaking World (a January Term intensive, taught in English); Introduction to Latin American Literature I; and Colonial and Nineteenth-Century Latin American Literature.

Dorothy Mosby, Associate Dean of Faculty

Olabode Festus Omojola

Five College Professor of Music - Ethnomusicology, African Music

Olabode Omojola teaches ethnomusicology, with special interests in the music of African and African Diaspora communities. As an ethnomusicologist, Omojola’s research employs ethnographic fieldwork methods in the process of understanding how music is conceptualized, practiced and interpreted within their cultural contexts; the relationships between music and social life; the roles of individual musicians and groups as culture producers; and how musical traditions reflect and respond to changes within a society, including those occasioned by global forces.

Olabode Festus Omojola in front of a tree in spring

Preston H. Smith II

Professor of Politics

Preston H. Smith II regularly teaches courses on Urban Policy, Black Migrations, Black Metropolis, and American Politics. He received a Whiting fellowship to study race and social housing in the Netherlands. His research interests include class and African-American politics, neoliberalism, and urban policy, and affordable housing policy. He is the author of Racial Democracy and the Black Metropolis: Housing Policy in Postwar Chicago as well as numerous articles and book chapters.

Donald Weber

Lucia, Ruth and Elizabeth MacGregor Professor of English

Donald Weber’s teaching and research interests include American literature, Multi-ethnic literature, South African literature and culture, and, most recently, the imaginative landscape of contemporary multicultural London. He is currently working on two large projects: a book mapping contemporary Jewish American literature and popular culture; and a book, titled The Anxiety of Belonging, about the fraught relation between “identity” and citizenship in contemporary British and Western European literature and film. He has just returned from a sabbatical as a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Modern Languages Research at the University of London.

Donald Weber

Staff

Holly J. Sharac

Academic Department Coordinator

Holly Sharac is the Academic Department Coordinator for the History Department and the Program in Africana Studies. She is in charge of daily operations on the third floor of Skinner and organizes the annual Lax Memorial Lecture, puts together course schedules, prepares on-line catalog copy, as well as, the student award applications, and thesis submissions.

Holly J. Sharac