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The faculty are dedicated to all of the important aspects of an Africana and Multicultural Studies initiative — to train leaders for tomorrow who will bring their knowledge to bear upon the pressing social, cultural and political needs of the United States and the world. In doing this, they also bring the best of their research and creativity into a conversation that is the foundation of all academic learning.

Najjar Abdul-Musawwir, Professor

Drawing, Painting, Core Curriculum

Najjar Abdul-Musawwir was born October 25th, 1958, in Chicago, Illinois. He is an internationally-acknowledged artist who has exhibited throughout the United States, Africa, Asia and Europe. He currently works as a Professor of studio arts and art history in both the School of Art and Design and Africana Studies program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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Najjar Abdul-Musawwir

Phone: 618-453-3019
Office: Allyn Building 5A

Getahun Benti, Professor

Getahun Benti is a Professor of History at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He received his Ph.D. in African history and urban studies from Michigan State University in 2000 and came to SIUC in the same year. He teaches a variety of courses in African and world history, including a comparative slavery course.

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Getahun Benti Office: 3329
Office Hours: T &R 10-1 virtual
Phone: 618-453-6847

Joseph A. Brown, SJ, Professor

Joseph A. Brown, S. J., Ph.D. a native of East St. Louis, Illinois, is a Catholic priest with an extensive academic and pastoral career. When he graduated from St. Louis University with the BA in Philosophy, he attended Johns Hopkins University, where he gained a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. After his ordination to the priesthood (1972) he taught Theater and Poetry at Creighton University for several years (eventually becoming artist-in-residence in 1978). Later, after receiving both the Master's degree in Afro-American Studies and the Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University, Fr. Brown taught at the University of Virginia and at Xavier University in New Orleans.

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Joseph A. Brown

Office: Faner 4024
Phone: (618) 453-7147
Fax: (618) 453-7131
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Frank Chipasula, Professor

Malawian poet, editor and fiction writer, born on 16 October 1949; B.A. (with Credit) University of Zambia, 1976; M.A. (Creative Writing) Brown University, 1980; M.A. (Afro-American Studies) Yale University, 1982 and Ph.D. (English Literature—Yeats) Brown University, 1987. Currently a Professor in the Black American Studies Program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, I have taught at Howard University, Tamkang University in Taipei, Taiwan, University of Nebraska at Omaha, St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, as well as Brown and Yale Universities. For a year I served as Education Attaché in the Malawi Embassy in Washington, D.C. I have also worked as English Editor for NECZAM Ltd., the former national publishers of Zambia in Lusaka (1976 – 1978) and, as an undergraduate student at the University of Malawi, I freelanced on the M.B.C. (Malawi Broadcasting Corporation) in Blantyre, Malawi (1971 – 73).

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Frank Chipasula

Office: Faner 4028
Phone: (618) 453-7147
Fax: (618) 453-7131


Ted Cohen, Associate Professor, Affiliate faculty

Ted Cohen (BA, Yale University; Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park) is a historian of Latin America and the African diaspora. He is interested in the racialization of culture, space, and knowledge in regions of the Americas not typically associated with Blackness in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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Ted Cohen Office: 4028A
Phone: 618-453-7147
Curriculum Vitae

Leonard Gadzekpo, Associate Professor, Judge Williams Holmes Cook Professor

Dr. Leonard Kodzo Gadzekpo was born in Cote d'Ivoire and grew up in Ghana. He got his first degree from the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, and taught in Ghana and Nigeria. He spent four years in Germany as an artist working on religious art pieces for the St. Stepanus Katholische Gemeinde in Oldenburg and studied at Universitaet Oldenburg and Salzburg Universitaet, Austria. From 1990 to 1997 he did graduate studies at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio and earned a M.A. in German, a M.F.A. in Painting and a Ph.D. in American Culture Studies. 

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Leonard Gadzekpo

Office: Faner 4022
Phone: (618) 453-7152
Fax: (618) 453-7131

Maria Johnson, Associate Professor


Maria Johnson is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology in the School of Music at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale where she regularly teaches two CORE Curriculum courses-- Music 203 - Diversity & Popular Music in American Culture and Music 303I - Women, Blues & Literature, offers topics courses in Ethnomusicology-- Women in Music and Music and Social Change, and supervises graduate and undergraduate independent studies in ethnomusicology.

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Maria Johnson Office: OBF 215
Phone: 618-453-2073

Segun Ojewuyi, Professor/Head of Directing, Interim Associate Dean College of Arts and Media

Ojewuyi's international career as a Theater director/Critic/Actor and Scholar has covered parts of Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, America and the Mediterranean. His directing credits include the major playwrights of world drama - Shakespeare, Soyinka, Becket, Wilson, Miller, Brecht, Grass, Chekov, Ibsen, Fugard to list a few. His productions have been on stage in some of the very top Theaters of the world - the Birmingham Rep, Liverpool Playhouse, Everyman Theater Liverpool, Yale Repertory Theater, Public Theater Pittsburgh, Balhaus Theater in Berlin, the Oregon Shakespeare, St. Louis Black Rep., Habima Theater in Tel Aviv and the National Theater in Lagos, Nigeria, directing the National Troupe of Nigeria, amongst many others, garnering strong international reviews.

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Segun Ojewuyi
Phone: 618-453-1893
Office: Comm 1033

Joseph Smith, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Philosophy

Dr. Joseph L. Smith has a joint appointment as an Assistant Professor in the School of Africana and Multicultural Studies, and the School of History and Philosophy. Smith received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2020), an LL.M. in International Economic Law from Xiamen University (2021), M.A. in Black Theology from Union Theological Seminary in NYC (2006), and a B.A. in Philosophy from Kutztown University (2001). Smith's teaching and research interests include Black Male Studies, Africana Philosophy, Foucault Studies, Prison Studies, and the emergence of the Breton-Woods Institute, WTO, Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements.

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Joseph Smith

Office: Faner 4032
 (618) 453-7145
Fax: (618) 453-7131