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News & Events




The Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies sponsors or co-sponsors several recurring events every year, including conferences, symposia, workshops, and speakers. Scholars - from a diversity of disciplines, from around the country, and from other areas of the diaspora - visit Indiana University to headline or attend these events. Whether a screenwriting workshop with actor/director Melvin Van Peebles or a lecture by Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, secretary general of the Pan-African Movement, such events enrich and enliven the educational experience of undergraduate and graduate students alike.


Dear Prospective Graduate Student: 


We are delighted that you are interested in the Department of African and African American Diaspora Studies   program at Indiana University.   

You are invited to apply!


  • An excellent faculty. 


  • A wonderfully enriching and stimulating intellectual environment.


  • A provocative and enlightening opportunity for conversations across disciplines.


  • An opportunity   to reflect on black historical, contemporary and cultural questions.


  • A supportive environment.


  • A chance to examine   linkages between principles and practice.



“The graduate program in the AAADS Department is a powerful, supportive space in which academic excellence, professionalism, creativity and community are of the utmost importance.”

                                                                        Monica Black, M. A. student


“You will benefit tremendously from the caring professors and well-structured courses.”

                                                                         Nana Abena Amoah, Ph.D. student




To explore more great reasons why you should flourish at IU, please tour our Web site fully, or contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, at


Malcolm X

Malcolm X: A Biography

Authors: A.B. Assensoh, Yvette Alex-Assensoh

Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, Aug 31, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 179 pages

"Malcolm X: A Biography" is a historical and political analysis of the black leader's life and times, offering a detailed treatment of its subject's multifaceted story. Laid out chronologically, the book treats MalcolM's life from his birth through his childhood, adult life, work as a Civil Rights activist, and assassination. Readers will learn about the torching of Malcolm's family's Lansing, MI, home when he was a young child and about the death of his father a few years later--both acts attributed to a white supremacist organization. They will learn of his participation in narcotics, prostitution, and gambling rings and of his arrest and prison term. And they will learn about his discovery of the teachings of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, his conversion to the Muslim faith, his break with NOI, and his eventual espousal of faith in integration. Finally, the book looks at Malcolm's assassination and at his legacy and importance today.


Dear colleagues, students, alumni, friends and supporters of the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies:

Please read below the announcement from Professor John McCluskey concerning the First dissertation defense and doctorate in African American and African Diaspora Studies (AAADS). AAADS initiated the Ph.D. degree program in fall 2009.

"Thursday morning (April 17, 2014) Maria Eliza Hamilton Abegunde's dissertation defense was unanimously voted a "pass with distinction" by her research committee. As the first student to complete the doctoral degree in AAADS, Abegunde is to be congratulated; this is truly a milestone for her and the department”-- (African American and African Diaspora Studies).

Abegunde will be graduating in May of 2014.

By the end of this semester, at least one student has successfully completed each of the five graduate programs in AAADS--the M.A.; joint degrees in Library and Information Science, Public Policy (SPEA), and Creative Writing; and now the PhD.

The Dissertation Committee:

  • John McCluskey, Jr., Chair, African American and African Diaspora Studies
  • Akin Adeson, Comparative Literature
  • LaMonda Horton-Stalling, Gender Studies
  • Susan Lepselter, Anthropology
  • Sylvester Johnson, Religious Studies, Northwestern University



The Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies is pleased to honor members of the department and of our intellectual and creative communities who have experienced success in recent endeavors. Their achievements are ours, because when one succeeds, WE succeed.

1. We offer a strong and heartfelt congratulations to Professor Iris Rosa. This past weekend, April 12th, was one of the most remarkable we have experienced in AAADS. We celebrated 40 years of Iris Rosa and the African American Dance Company. Tributes came in from around the world, including great remarks from IU's president, Michael McRobbie and IU alum, Tavis Smiley (who received a minor in Afro-American Studies). Both provided tremendous tributes. In addition, Iris was given four different proclamations declaring April 12th as Iris Rosa day. These were given by the Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, as well as by the mayors of Bloomington, Indianapolis, and East Chicago, Indiana. The luncheon was something to behold and it was attended by Dean Larry Singell and colleagues in English (Steve Watt) and Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance (Jonathan Michaels and Liz Shea), James Wimbush, Vice President of DEMA, and others. So many diaspora communities (representing Ghana, Jamaica, Nigeria, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean) performed at the three hour luncheon as well as the IU Soul Revue and Choral Ensemble. The 40th concert on Saturday night was outstanding, showcasing the students' collaborations and an original commissioned piece by Kenneth Ware called Death in Harlem. Congratulations Iris. Thank you Iris.

2. Congratulation to Dr. Raymond Wise for a great African American Choral Ensemble concert on April 5th. Great singing and great diversity. Among the many new and exciting developments is the present of diversity in the choir. It was good for the campus to see how integrated the choir has become and also how fast African American spiritual and gospel music is growing among students from international communities in Asia and Africa. Among the many highlights was the premier of a Ghanaian folksong which had been rearranged by Dr. Wise and which has been accepted for publication. It premiered two weeks ago at Carnegie Hall. Nana Amoah and the African American Choral Ensemble were given credit for helping to co-produce the new arrangement. Thank you Ray.

3. Congratulation to Maria Hamilton Abegunde for being chosen to participate in a NEH summer institute, "Black Aesthetics and African Centered Cultural Expressions: Sacred Systems in the Nexus Between Cultural Studies, Religion, and Philosophy," which will be held at Emory University. She also has been invited to have a publishable piece included in a forthcoming edited volume concerning the Doula. Thank you Abegunde.

4. Congratulation to Ciara Miller who was featured on the Toe Good Poetry website in March 2014. The feature included her poem, "War Stories." Ciara has been also accepted into the Callaloo's poetry workshop in Barbados in May 2014 and she will be participating later in the summer in a service and engagement project in Tanzania. Her work will be part of a larger program called GIVE, which provides the opportunity for her to receive academic credit. In Tanzania, Ciara will teach and also work on sustainable development projects geared toward providing safe water for citizens of the country. Thank you Ciara.

5. Congratulation to Nandi Comer and Ife-Chudeni Oputa, who will be the first two graduates of the dual M.A./MFA in African American and African Diaspora Studies and Creative Writing, will be presenting their MA/MFA Thesis Reading on April 22, 2014 in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, Bridgewater Lounge, 7 pm. Thank you Ife and Nandi.

6. Congratulation to Ciara Miller on her forthcoming Third Year Thesis Reading, scheduled for April 18, 2014, 7pm in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, Grand Hall. Ciara is one of three students in the MA/MFA in AAADS and Creative Writing. She is a member of the second co-hort. Thank you Ciara.

7. Congratulation to Dr. Tyron Cooper for workshops in which he and the students of the IU Soul Revue engaged in Memphis Tennessee. They performed at Stax Records and participated in workshops at some of the local schools. Thank you Tyron.

8. Congratulations to Professor John Stanfield for the invitations he received in march to present his work in Rio and Botswana.

9. Congratulations to Professor Jakobi Williams for the invitations he received to present his research at universities and community institutions in Alabama, Indiana, California, Illinois, and New York.


Save these Dates in 2014


African American and African Diaspora Studies Brown Bag Lunch Series

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 from Noon-1pm at Memorial Hall, room M39

Marsha N. Horsley (doctoral candidate) presents "Everybody knows, I'm A MuthaF@**in'Monster: Examining Multilated Female Bodies in Music Videos."

icon-pdfBrown Bag Lunch Series.pdf


WHEN THE BODY GIVES: Poetry from Tapping Out and Rummage

An MA/MFA Joint Degree Thesis Reading - April 22, 2014, 7pm at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, Bridgewaters Lounge

icon-pdfWhen the Body Gives: Poetry from Tapping Out and Rummage.pdf


Mediating Religion: Modes of Communication in Religious Contexts

Presented by The Department of Religious Studies and co-sponsored by AAADS. This interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference will be held April 18-19, 2014 at IU Bloomington. Keynote: Dr. Lerone Martin, Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.

icon-pdfMediating Religion: Modes of Communication in Religious Contexts Schedule.pdf

icon-pdfDr. Lerone A. Martin Keynote to the graduate student conference.pdf


IU Soul Revue

IU Soul Revue Spring Concert Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 8pm - Ruth N. Halls Theatre, Bloomington Indiana

IU Soul Revue


African American Dance Company 40th Celebration Spring Concert

Saturday, April 12, 2014 starting 8pm at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater 114 E. Kirkwood Ave.

Begin your 40th Concert Celebration Here! Friday, April 11-13, 2014


African American and African Diaspora Studies Brown Bag Lunch Series

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 from Noon-1pm at Memorial Hall, room M39

Dr. Tim Lovelace presents "Dr. Martin Luther King's Constitution: Remembering Brown at 60."

icon-pdfBrown Bag Lunch Series.pdf


'State of Hate and Extremism in the U.S.' workshop to tackle issues of poverty and hate crimes

Thesday April 8, in Room 223 in Hodge Hall of the Kelley School of Business at 6pm.

'State of Hate and Extremism in the U.S.' workshop IU Bloomington Newsroom article


African American Choral Ensemble

African American Choral Ensemble Spring Concert, Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 8:00pm Location: Buskirk-Chumley Theater 114 East Kirkwood Ave. Tickets are available at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater box office or by phone at 812-323-3020.

icon-pdfAACE Spring Concert 2014.pdf


African American and African Diaspora Studies Brown Bag Lunch Series

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 from Noon-1pm at Memorial Hall, room M39

Dr. J. Stanfield and AAADS Faculty presents "Looking Back 40 Years From Undergrad School to Senior Professoriate Phases: Making an Enriching Academic Career Sustainable."

icon-pdfBrown Bag Lunch Series.pdf


The Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society presents

"The Original Rainbow Coalition: The Black Panter Party, Young Lords, & Young Patriots"

Friday, March 28, 2014 at 3:30pm at the Schuessler Institute for Social Research, Rm. 100, 1022 E. 3rd St. (corner of 3rd & Hawthorne)


The original Rainbow Coalition was established in 1968 by Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton and the Illinois Black Panther Party's (ILBPP) in their struggle in Chicago's political arena against the Daley Democratic Machine. The ILBPP forged an alliance with The Young Lords Organization, The Young Patriots, and later Rising Up Angry. The ILBPP's Rainbow Coalition documents the first time in Chicago history that poor ethnic groups led by (and for the first time including) African Americans organized as one entity to fight for political power that was denied to them all and to significantly reduce the rigid racial and ethnic tension between these groups which had persisted since the nineteenth century.

Hank "Poison" Gaddis (ILBPP), Lynn French (ILBPP), Jose "Cha Cha" Jimenez (Young Lords) and Hy Thurman (Young Patriots) will participate in a panel discussion led by Dr. Jakobi Williams. The activists will discuss the racial, social, and political conditions that existed in Chicago during the late 1960s to demonstrate the ways in which the Illinois Black Panther Party's community organizing methods and revolutionary self-defense ideology significantly influenced Chicago's machine politics, grassroots organizing, racial coalitions, and police behavior.

Co-sponsors: African and African American Diaspora Studies, Department of History, Department of Political Science, Department of Sociology, IU Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (DEMA), and LaCasa - IU Latino Cultural Indiana University - Career Development Center

icon-pdfThe Original Rainbow Coalition: The Black Panter Party, Young Lords, & Young Patriots.pdf


African American and African Diaspora Studies Brown Bag Lunch Series

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 from Noon-1pm at Memorial Hall, room M39

Dr. Valerie Grim and AAADS Faculty present "Securing an Academic and/or Professional Job with an Africana Studies Degree: Writing the Application and the Interview Process."

icon-pdfBrown Bag Lunch Series.pdf


IU Soul Revue working with youths in Memphis at invitation of Stax Music Academy

March 20 and 21, 2014 the IU Soul Revue director Tyron Cooper and member os the ensemble will conduct workshops with students from the Stax Music Academy in Memphis, Tenn.

Read the entire article at IU Bloomington Newsroom


African American and African Diaspora Studies Brown Bag Lunch Series

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 from Noon-1pm at Memorial Hall, room M39

Dr. Phoebe Wolfskill presnets "Whitness, Blackness, and the Classical Body in the Work of Emma Amos."

icon-pdfBrown Bag Lunch Series.pdf


Poynter Roundtables "From the Bullet to the Ballot: The Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and Racial Coalition Politics in Chicago" Where does Civil Rights end and Black Power begin?"

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 from 4:00-5:30pm at The Poynter Center, 618 E. Third St., Bloomington, IN 47405

Professor Jakobi Williams will lead a discussion on repression and discrimination in late 1960s Chicago, which sparked a resistance movement led by Illinois Black Panther Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton and the original Rainbow Coalition. Fred Hampton was the young, idealistic, charismatic leader of the Black Panther Party (BPP) in Chicago brutally murdered by police officers while he slept. His vision and activism helped to create, and unite, pockets of resistance found throughout local communities regardless of color and ethnicity. An examination of the Illinois BPP’s Rainbow Coalition in 1969demonstrates a direct link involving racial coalition politics in Chicago that stretches from Fred Hampton to President Barack Obama.

Prior to joining the History faculty at Indiana University, Jakobi Williams served as an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Kentucky, an adjunct professor at UCLA, and one year as a Chancellor Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research interests are centered on questions of resistance and the social justice revolutions found within the historic African American community. This discussion features his most recent book, From the Bullet to the Ballot: The Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and Racial Coalition Politics in Chicago, published by the University of North Carolina Press under its prestigious John Hope Franklin Series in 2013.

An RSVP to is appreciated


Taifa Mziki and International Vocal Ensemble shared performance

Friday, March 7, 2014 at the Ford Hall, 5:00pm, the Jacobs School of Music lecture, about the role of music as an agent of social change

Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 7:00pm at the First Presbyterian Church

Indiana University and the College of Wooster will partner to host Taifa Mziki, a men’s a cappella choral group from Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya. The student-led 18-member Taifa Mziki is widely recognized for its performances of a diverse variety of music, from folk songs to African pop music to classical pieces arranged for male voices. Following a week at Wooster, Taifa Mziki will come to Bloomington for a week-long residency of performances, workshops, and public lectures, collaborating with the Department of Ethnomusicology and Folklore, the International Vocal Ensemble, the Jacobs School of Music, and local K-12 schools. Dr. Wilson Shitandi, the group’s faculty sponsor, will stay for an additional week to continue to work with ethnomusicology students and faculty in his specialties of traditional Kenyan choral music and drumming.

The groundwork for this project was laid in visits to Kenya in 2012 and 2013 by a team of IU faculty, alumni, and students, which included Dr. Jeff Gershman and Kimberly Carballo (Jacobs School of Music faculty), Dr. Lisa Wong (College of Wooster faculty), Dr. Diana Nixon (director of Mpingo Studios) and Elizabeth Nixon (IU undergraduate). As a core part of Tunaweza Kimuziki, a collaborative project of U.S. and Kenyan musicians who seek to promote music education in Kenya, this group presented a series of performances and workshops at primary schools, colleges, and S academies in Nairobi. Taifa Mziki participated in the Tunaweza Kimuziki project, and the team decided to invite the group to lead the cultural exchange stateside.

Beyond its artistic endeavors, Taifa Mziki also cultivates an active community engagement philosophy and mission, specifically focusing on inter-tribal harmony and conflict resolution. As part of their residency, Dr. Shitandi has been invited to present a lecture at the Jacobs School of Music on the role of music as an agent of social change. This lecture will be free and open to all members of the IU community.

Samples of Taifa Mziki performances can be found at:

Inpromptu performance for high schoolers

This work was partially funded by the IU Office of the Vice Provost of Research at Indiana University-Bloomington through the Collaborative Research and Creative Activity Funding Award; the IU Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs (OVPFAA) Horizons of Knowledge Lecture series; and the IU Jacobs School of Music lecture series. Further support comes from:

  • The College of Wooster
  • First Presbyterian Church of Bloomington
  • Go Express Shuttle Company
  • IU African American and African Diaspora Studies (AAADS)
  • IU African Studies
  • IU Center for the Study of Global Change
  • IU Office of the Vice President for International Affairs (OPVIA)
  • Kenyatta University Department of Music and Dance
  • Malone University
  • Martinsville Baptist Tabernacle
  • Mother Bear’s Pizza
  • Shower’s Inn
  • Tunaweza Kimuziki


"Death in Harlem:" A Collaboration of Artistic Expression of Langston Hughes's Timeless Poem

Free and Open to the Public!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 7:00pm at the Neal-Marshall Black Cultrue Center, Dance Studio room A217

icon-pdfAADC Death in Harlem Panel Flyer.pdf


African American and African Diaspora Studies Brown Bag Lunch Series

Wednesday, February 5, 2014, from Noon-1pm at Memorial Hall, room M39

Dr. Maisha Wester presents "The Racial Origins of the American Zombie"

In contemporary culture that revelation that zombies are a metaphor for the evils of capitalism is no real revelation at all. But what about American culture’s earliest treatment of the monster? This lecture will discuss the zombie as a metaphor for American Imperialist encounter with Haitian culture. It will explore how films such as White Zombie and The Serpent and the Rainbow, and texts such as Magic Island understood the zombie as a metaphor for both American-Haitian relations and, more specifically, as a metaphor for the racial oppression implicit in American Imperialist conquest.

icon-pdfBrown Bag Lunch Series.pdf


African American and African Diaspora Studies Brown Bag Lunch Series

Wednesday, February 19, 2014, from Noon-1pm at Memorial Hall, room M39

Maria E. Hamilton Abegunde (doctoral candidate) presents “ 'Mother I need your blackness now': Worshipping Iemanja/Yemanja in Itaparica, Bahia”

icon-pdfBrown Bag Lunch Series.pdf


African American Dance Company 16th Annual Dance Workshop

February 21-22, 2014 at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. For detailed information email Professor Iris Rosa:

icon-pdf"The annual African American Dance Company Workshop is part of this year's Black History Month celebration at IU Bloomington."

AADC 16th Annual Dance Workshop copy.pdf


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration 2014 "A Day On! Not a Day Off"

MLK Day 2014 "A Day On! Not A Day Off" Monday, January 21, 2014 Buskirk-Chumley Theatre at 7pm - Bloomington Indiana


African American Arts Institute Audition Information

African American Choral Ensemble No Audition Required! Class begins on Monday, January 13, 2014 from 2:30-4:00pm, at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, Room A201

African American Dance Company Auditions will be held Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:00pm at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, Room A217

IU Soul Revue Auditions will be held Thursday, January16, 2014 at 7:00pm at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, Grand Hall