Message from the Department Head
The Department of Africana Studies at the University of Tennessee is almost 55 years-old. Our two-year commemoration of this history as one of the oldest units in the nation has brought forth interdisciplinary programming through scholarship, arts, music, and cultures of people from Africa and within the African diaspora. Our co-sponsored programming has featured the UT Humanities Center’s “Black Ecologies Week” (March 7-12, 2022), our faculty-initiated and community-oriented Black Maternal Health Week (April 2022 and 2023), and the closeout celebration of “Africana Studies Week” (September 26 – October 1, 2022), which engaged Africana studies in global perspective, with special, interdisciplinary attention to Black life through the incorporation of literature, history, cultural studies, the arts, and political analysis.
Our faculty members represent disciplinary training in Africana studies, education, English, history, political science, religious studies, and sociology, and we aim to hire more faculty across disciplines. Our faculty members also have developed 10 new courses, ranging from Black and Indigenous identities, to Black feminist theory, to Black American politics, to race and medicine.
We have mentored award-winning undergraduate student research through paired projects with our faculty members, promoted student leadership through our department’s social media ambassadors, and encouraged professionalism through journalistic practice. (One said student is our guest editor of our 2023 newsletter.) We have committed to and are steadfast in our mission to educate our students and the public through global engagement and experiential learning in Ghana and about Africa and the African diaspora.
Shayla C. Nunnally Violette
Professor and Department Head