Ashley Howard wins the 2024 James N. Murray Faculty Award

Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Professor Ashley Howard is the recipient of the 2024 James N. Murray Faculty Award, which honors an untenured faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding rapport with students and who creates an exemplary classroom atmosphere.

Damani Phillips receives Collegiate Scholar Award through CLAS

Damani Phillips, who serves as head of jazz studies and jointly appointed in African American Studies, is an accomplished performer, scholar, teacher, and composer. The Collegiate Scholar Award was inaugurated in 2008 to recognize mid-career faculty for exceptional achievement. The award carries a financial award to support the recipient's teaching and research initiatives.

Howard to be a featured panelist for screening of I, Too

The League of Women Voters Johnson County will co-host a documentary screening of “I, Too” followed by a facilitated discussion as part of the Film Scene Community Collaboration Series on March 25, 2024, at 7 p.m. The LWVJC, LWVIA, and the Bertelsmann Foundation are partnering with Film Scene for this Midwest premier of I, Too. The screening will be followed by a facilitated discussion event exploring the impact of history and accountability in strengthening democracy.

Tara Bynum Releases New Book, Reading Pleasures: Everyday Black Living in Early America

Tara Bynum, Assistant Professor of African American Studies and English, has released a new book through the University of Illinois Press titled, Reading Pleasures: Everyday Black Living in Early America. "In the early United States, a Black person committed an act of resistance simply by reading and writing. Yet we overlook that these activities also brought pleasure. Tara A. Bynum tells the compelling stories of four early American writers who expressed feeling good despite living while enslaved or only nominally free. The poet Phillis Wheatley delights in writing letters to a friend. Ministers John Marrant and James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw memorialize their love for God. David Walker’s pamphlets ask Black Americans to claim their victory over slavery. Together, their writings reflect the joyous, if messy, humanity inside each of them. This proof of a thriving interior self in pursuit of good feeling forces us to reckon with the fact that Black lives do matter."

Victor Ray in The Nation: "Florida Man Calls the Thought Police"

Victor Ray wrote an article published in The Nation about Florida Governor Rick DeSantis's recent demand for information from college educators on “programs and initiatives” focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion or “critical race theory” at Florida’s 12 public universities.

Louise Seamster Files Amicus Brief in Biden v Nebraska Case on Student Debt Relief

An historic coalition of attorneys, advocates, labor unions, and experts filed a series of amicus curiae briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Biden Administration’s student debt relief program, including Assistant Professor of African American Studies, Dr. Louise Seamster.

T.J. Dedeaux-Norris One of Three Iowa City recipients of Grants from the Iowa Artist Fellowship Program

T.J. Dedeaux-Norris is one of three Iowa City recipients of $10,000 grants from the Iowa Artist Fellowship Program. Less than a decade ago, Dedeaux-Norris made a film about life after hurricane Katrina and their life navigating three worlds: academia, art and their roots as “a girl from Mississippi.”

Victor Ray Op-Ed in the New York Times: "School is for Making Citizens"

Victor Ray co-wrote an op-ed for the New York Times with Heather McGee: "Why do we have public schools? To make young people into educated, productive adults, of course. But public schools are also for making Americans. Thus, public education requires lessons about history — the American spirit and its civics — and also contact with and context about other Americans: who we are and what has made us."

Victor Ray in the News

Friday, August 12, 2022
With the launch of his new book, On Critical Race Theory: Why It Matters & Why You Should Care, Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies Victor Ray was interviewed on Meet the Press and on the Mehdi Hasan Show on MSNBC in August 2022.

Victor Ray in TIME: "Critical Race Theory’s Merchants of Doubt"

Protests over George Floyd’s 2020 murder were the largest civil rights demonstrations in American history. The brutal footage of officer Derek Chauvin’s suffocating knee on George Floyd’s neck led many white Americans to, at least briefly, acknowledge the reality of structural racism in policing. In response, corporations questioned their diversity policies, “defund the police” became an activist rallying cry, and books on anti-racism became unexpected bestsellers. A narrative arose that America experienced a “racial reckoning” that challenged white racism’s worst excesses.