We’re excited to announce this year’s new contributors to Black Perspectives. This diverse group of talented scholars will explore a range of topics including Black Atlantic History, Race and Popular Culture, and the carceral state. We have also added contributors who will curate our two upcoming interview series: featuring new films on black history and culture (curated by Michael Barry Jr.), and another featuring black trailblazers in Hip Hop (curated by Darryl Robertson). These new writers will help to further enhance Black Perspectives and aid in our efforts to expand the boundaries of black intellectual history. They will join our already stellar line-up of scholars who write for us on a monthly basis. Please join us in welcoming these new writers to the team!
Westenley Alcenat is a scholar, teacher, and academic consultant. His primary focus is the African American protest tradition, political and intellectual thought in the nineteenth century, and the Haitian Revolution’s legacy and influence on Black American radicalism. He teaches United States, Atlantic, and Afro-Caribbean history at Fordham University in the Bronx. He was previously a Visiting Scholar at MIT’s School of the Humanities Arts and Social Sciences (SHASS) and a visiting PhD student at the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History (WIGH) at Harvard University. He was born in Haiti and grew up in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in Minnesota. Read more about Wes here.
Michael T. Barry Jr. is a doctoral student in history at the University of Florida. He studies modern Muslim and African American history, specifically intellectual history, Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam, and popular culture. Michael has worked on multiple documentary film and videography projects, and has directed and produced two of his own documentary films: “Sincerity: From X to El-Shabazz” (2014) and “The Universal Soldier: Vietnam” (2016). He won numerous awards including the Carter G. Woodson Award (2014) and the Best Feature Award at the 2016 Nyack Film Festival. Follow him on Twitter @MTBarryJR. Read more about Michael here.
Dan Berger is an interdisciplinary historian specializing in 20th century American social movements and the carceral state. He is Assistant Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington Bothell and Adjunct Assistant Professor of History at the University of Washington Seattle. Berger is the author or editor of several books, including The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism (Rutgers University Press, 2010) and the forthcoming Rethinking the American Prison Movement (coauthored with Toussaint Losier). His award-winning book Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era showed the central role prisoners played in the modern Black freedom struggle. Follow him on Twitter @dnbrgr. Read more about Dan here.
Joshua Clark Davis is an assistant professor of history at the University of Baltimore. He teaches and researches broadly in twentieth-century United States history, with a particular interest in capitalism, social movements, and African American history. His forthcoming book, From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs (Columbia University Press, 2017) examines how a range of small businesses–including natural foods stores, head shops, feminist businesses, and African American booksellers–emerged out of social movements and countercultures in the 1960s and ’70s. Follow him on Twitter @
Tiffany Florvil is a historian of the modern and late modern period in Europe, especially social movements, gender and sexuality, emotions, and the African diaspora. She is currently revising her manuscript tentatively entitled, Making a Movement: A History of Black Germans, Gender, and Belonging. The book examines the writings, institutions, relationships, and gendered complexities that emerged as Afro-German intellectuals and activists formed a movement to gain and retain recognition in German society. She is also working with a colleague on a volume entitled New Perspectives of Black German Studies under contract with Peter Lang Press that reexamines the field of Black German Studies. Follow her on Twitter @
Justin Gomer is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at California State University, Long Beach. He holds a Ph.D. in African Diaspora Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He also completed a B.A. and M.A. in African American Studies at UC Berkeley. A trained cultural historian, Justin’s research focuses on race and popular culture in the post-civil rights era. He is currently writing a book entitled, Colorblindness, A Life: The Political and Cultural Biography of an Ideology, which offers an interdisciplinary biography of the racial ideology of colorblindness. Follow him on Twitter @ProfessorGomer. Read more about Justin here.
Ameer Hasan Loggins is a 2007 graduate of UC Berkeley, with a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies. Ameer also holds a Masters in African American Studies from UC Berkeley and is currently working towards earning his doctorate in African Diaspora Studies. His research explores Reality Television as a social phenomena, and how its effects on the perception of African Americans outside of a televisual space. Ameer has conducted research for Harvard University’s Du Bois Institute for African and African American research (The Hip-Hop Archive) and currently works with Harvard University’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice on a series of summer forums. Follow him on Twitter @
Trimiko Melancon is an associate professor of English, African American Studies, and Women’s Studies, and is co-director of the Women’s Studies Program, at Loyola University in New Orleans. She is the award-winning author of Unbought and Unbossed: Transgressive Black Women, Sexuality, and Representation and co-editor of Black Female Sexualities. Her research interests include African American and American literary and cultural studies; critical race, gender, and sexuality studies; African American and Black German studies; and race, media, and cultural production. She was an inaugural fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University and the Anna Julia Cooper Project at Tulane University. Follow her on Twitter @trimikomelancon. Read more about Trimiko here.
James Padilioni, Jr. is a Ph.D Candidate and Teaching Fellow in American Studies (Africana-affiliated) at the College of William and Mary. His research interests include the religious and aesthetic practices of the African Diaspora, with a focus on Black musics and performance, folk/syncretized Catholic practices in Afro-Latinx and African-American contexts, as well as questions related to ritual knowledge and the phenomenology, kinesthetics, and ontology of race. His dissertation focuses on the circulation of iconography and ritual performances relating to St. Martin de Porres – the first Catholic saint of African descent from the Americas – through case studies located from across the Diaspora in the Caribbean, South America, and the United States. Follow him on Twitter @ApontesGhost. Read more about James here.
Sandy Placido is a PhD candidate in American Studies at Harvard University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar interested in women’s history, social movements, and the history and culture of Latinas/os/xs, the Caribbean, and the African diaspora. Her dissertation, “A Global Vision: Dr. Ana Livia Cordero and the Puerto Rican Liberation Struggle, 1931-1992,” is the first, in-depth study of Ana Livia Cordero, a Puerto Rican female physician and anti-imperialist activist. During the 2016-2017 academic year, she is a Provost’s Predoctoral Fellow for Excellence through Diversity at the University of Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter @
J.T. Roane received his doctorate in history in 2016 from Columbia University. He is also a 2008 alumnus of the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia. He is primarily interested in questions of place in relation to black histories. J.T. is currently at work on a manuscript titled “Sovereignty in the City: Black Infrastructures and the Politics of Place in 20-Century Philadelphia.” He is also at work on a second book project about changing land usage, environmental destruction and black social activism in rural Tidewater, Virginia. Follow him on Twitter @
Darryl Robertson is an undergraduate student at Queens College, majoring in History and Media Studies. Robertson is a McNair Scholar who is passionate about hip-hop and African-American history. He is especially interested in understanding how the Black Panther Party serviced black communities during the late-1960s. Robertson’s most recent research examined how the Free Breakfast for Children’s Program sustained the Black Panther Party organization. Robertson is currently a music writer at Vibe magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @darry_robertson. Read more about Darryl here.
Jaimee A. Swift is a PhD student at Howard University, studying the intersections of black women’s political mobilization, transnational activism, and Africana Womanist thought within the Afro-Brazilian Women’s Movement. Holding a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Master of Arts in Political Science from Temple University and Howard University, respectively, Jaimee is passionate about racial and social justice, gender and health equity. She is also Editor-at-Large for The Hilltop newspaper, “the student voice of Howard University since 1924,” which was started by Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston. Follow her on Twitter @ Read more about Jaimee here.