People

Venise Berry

Venise Berry, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Department Chair
Associate Professor
Phone
Venise Berry received a B.A. (1977) in journalism and an M.A. (1979) in communication studies from The University of Iowa. Her Ph.D. was awarded in 1989 in radio, TV, and film at the University of Texas in Austin. Her professional media career began in radio news but has expanded into teaching, media research, and criticism, as well as fiction, script, and nonfiction writing.
Lindsay Vella

Lindsay Vella, M.F.A.

Title/Position
Departmental Administrator
Phone
Lindsay Vella is the departmental administrator for the Department of Classics, Medieval Studies Program, and African American Studies Program since August 2015. She is originally from Detroit and came to the University of Iowa in 2011 to attend the Writers' Workshop.
Simon Balto

Simon Balto, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Assistant Professor, History and African American Studies
Phone
Simon Balto teaches, researches, and writes about African American history in the United States. His first book, Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power (University of North Carolina Press, 2019), explores the development of a police system in Chicago’s Black neighborhoods that over the course of the mid-twentieth century became simultaneously brutally repressive and neglectful. His writing has also appeared in TIME magazine, The Washington Post, The Progressive, the Journal of African American History, Labor, and numerous other popular and scholarly outlets.
Steven Berry

Steven Berry, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Adjunct Associate Professor
Phone

Tara Bynum

Title/Position
Assistant Professor
Phone
Nicholas Creary

Nicholas Creary, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Assistant Director, Center for Diversity & Enrichment
Phone
Tim Havens

Tim Havens, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Professor
Phone
Timothy Havens is professor of Communication Studies, African American Studies, and International Studies at the University of Iowa. He is a former Senior Fulbright Scholar to Hungary, and his published research has appeared in numerous scholarly journals devoted to television studies, popular culture studies, race and media, and media globalization.
Ashley Howard

Ashley Howard, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Assistant Professor
Phone
Ashley Howard received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois. She joined the University of Iowa faculty in fall 2019 coming from Loyola University, New Orleans. Her research interests include African Americans in the Midwest; the intersection between race, class, and gender; and the global history of racial violence.

David W. Jackson III, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Dr. David W. Jackson III is visiting scholar at the University of Iowa in African American Studies. As a teaching scholar, he has taught: Black Perspectives on Bible History; Introduction to Africana Studies; Survey of African History; Introduction to African Studies: Up to the 16th Century; Introduction to African Studies: Since the 16th Century; The Black Community; African American History; Introduction to African American Culture; Diversity in America, and Online courses, too.
Alfred Martin

Alfred Martin, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Assistant Professor
Phone
Alfred L. Martin Jr.'s current book project, The Queer Politics of Black-Cast Sitcoms (Indiana University Press, forthcoming) argues that the black-cast sitcom is an explicit genre, and therefore its engagement with black gayness does not resemble any other contemporary genre. By examining audience reception, industrial production practices, and authorship, the project argues that representations of black gay characters are trapped into particular narrative tropes.
Damani Phillips

Damani Phillips, D.Mus.A

Title/Position
Associate Professor, Music & African American Studies
Phone
Dr. Damani Philips is a native of Pontiac, MI, where he began playing at the age of 10.  He currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies and Associate Professor of African-American Studies at the University of Iowa, where he teaches applied jazz saxophone, directs jazz combos and teaches courses in African-American music, African-American culture, jazz education and improvisation.

Horace Porter, Ph.D.

Title/Position
F. Wendell Miller Professor of English and American Studies
Horace Porter is the F. Wendell Miller Professor of English & American Studies. Professor Porter graduated from Amherst College (magna cum laude, 1972) and in 1981 received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. Before joining Iowa's faculty in 1999, he taught at Wayne State University, Dartmouth College, University College, London, and Stanford University.
Victor Ray

Victor Ray, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Assistant Professor
Victor Ray’s research applies critical race theory to classic sociological questions. In addition to this research, Victor is also an active public scholar, publishing commentary in outlets such as The Washington Post, Newsweek, and Boston Review. Victor’s work has been funded by the Ford Foundation, and the National Science Foundation, among others.
Louise Seamster

Louise Seamster, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Assistant Professor
Phone
Louise Seamster studies race and economic inequality, particularly in cities. She writes about racial politics and urban development, emergency financial management, debt, and the myth of racial progress. Her research centers on the interactive financial and symbolic factors reproducing racial inequality across multiple domains.
Janette Taylor

Janette Taylor, Ph.D., RN, WHCNP-BC, FAAN

Title/Position
Associate Professor
Janette Y. Taylor is an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa. She is a certified women’s health care nurse practitioner with specialization in obstetrics, gynecological, and neonatal nursing.

Richard B. Turner, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Professor, Religious Studies
Phone
Richard Brent Turner is professor of African-American religious history, with joint appointments in the Department of Religious Studies, the African American Studies Program, and International Programs at The University of Iowa. His education includes: Ph.D. and M.A., Religion (Princeton University); Summer Language Study (Harvard University); M.A., Afro-American Studies and B.A., Religion (Boston University); and High School Diploma (Boston Latin School).
Jessica Welburn Paige

Jessica Welburn Paige, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Director of Graduate Studies
Assistant Professor, Sociology & African American Studies
Phone
Professor Welburn’s research interests include race and ethnicity, social mobility, urban inequality, cultural sociology and qualitative research methods. Her work has focused on the experiences of African Americans in the post-Civil Rights era, including how they conceptualize their social mobility prospects and their strategies for navigating persistent racism and discrimination.
Deborah Whaley

Deborah Whaley, Ph.D.

Title/Position
Professor
Phone
Deborah Elizabeth Whaley is an artist, curator, and writer. She is currently Senior Scholar for Digital Arts and Humanities Research for the Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio (DSPS) and Professor of American and African American Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research and teaching fields include the institutional history, theories, and methods of American and Transnational American Studies, 19th Century to the Present Cultural History, Comparative Ethnic Studies, Black Cultural Studies, Popular Culture, the Visual Arts, Digital Humanities and Critical Theory.