Ollie A. Johnson, Department Chair & Associate Professor

Ollie Johnson is an Associate Professor and undergraduate advisor in AFS and department chair.  Recently, Professor Johnson has conducted extensive research on Afro-Brazilian, African American, and Afro-Latin American politics.  He published one book chapter “Afro-Brazilian Politics: White Supremacy, Black Struggle, and Affirmative Action,” in Democratic Brazil Revisited (2008), and one journal article “Creating A Transnational Network of Black Representation in the Americas,” in the National Political Science Review (2009), as well as one book review in The Black Scholar.

From 2008 to 2011, Professor Johnson gave 14 invited lectures and paper presentations in the United States and abroad.  He lectured twice on President Obama at prestigious universities such as the Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA) and the Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ) in Brazil.  In 2009, he lectured at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Notre Dame.  In 2008, using SKYPE, he gave a lecture on the American presidential election to a Brazilian university audience at the Centro Universitario Estadual da Zona Oeste (UEZO) in Rio de Janeiro, from his desk here at Wayne State University.

Johnson is currently preparing two journal articles for publication: “Racial Representation and Black Struggle in the Brazilian Congress,” and “Promoting Afro-Brazilian Culture and History: An Analysis of the Fundação Cultural Palmares.”  His two book chapters “Black Activism in Ecuador,” in Afro-Latin America and “Race, Politics, and Afro-Latin Americans” in The Handbook of Latin American Politics, are forthcoming.


Melba Joyce Boyd, Distinguished Professor

Prof. Boyd is a Distinguished University Professor at WSU. She co-produced with Ron Primeau, Professor of English at Central Michigan University, the recently released, “Star by Star: the Poetry and Publishing of Naomi Long Madgett.”  They received a grant from the Michigan Council of the Humanities for this documentary film project. 

Two essays, has been accepted for publication: “Celebrating the Legacy of Frances E. W. Harper,” Amistad, Howard University; and “The Legacy of Darwin T. Turner and the Struggle for African American Studies.”Another essay, authored by Boyd, “German ‘68ers and African American Culture,” appeared in From Black to Swartz, a collection of essays on the intercultural exchanges and experiences between Germans and African Americans, Michigan State University Press.

During Black History Month 2011, she presented lectures on Frances E. W. Harper at the Pennsylvania Historical Society and at the Philadelphia Public Schools Building as part of the city’s Centennial Celebration of Frances Harper.  She also read some of her own poetry as a part of the program at the Moonstone Cultural Center in Philadelphia.

In April 2011, she presented a paper on “Black Detroit: Before and After the Economic Tsunami,” at the Collegium for African American Research International Conference at the University of Paris VII. 

In November 2010, she was the opening speaker for the 40th Anniversary of the Department of African American Studies at the University of Massachusetts—Amherst.  Her lecture was on “Dudley Randall and the Black Arts Movement in Detroit.”  She also showed a new version of the documentary film, “The Black Unicorn,” which focuses on Randall’s poetry and publishing efforts.

Boyd continues to write and publish poetry.  Two poems appeared in Working Words (Coffee House Press, edited by M. L. Liebler), and four other poems were published in periodicals: “Rearranging Your Father’s Table,” Souls: Journal of African American Research, Columbia University Press; “Why I Observe the Sabbath at Home in the D,” in by Ishmael Reed’s Konch, an online journal; “crystallizing the moon,” in the Wayne Review; and “Bloodhounds on My Trail: Ode to Kathryn,” in Amistad, Howard University Press. 

Prof. Boyd also gave poetry readings at University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, Central Michigan University, Wayne State University’s Humanities Center, the Virgil Carr Center in Detroit, and the University of Michigan, Detroit Center.

Lisa Alexander, Associate Professor

Professor Alexander is an assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies.  She most recently had chapters published in two anthologies: “Are We There Yet?: Major League Baseball and Sexual Orientation” was published in Ron Briley's book The Politics of Baseball: Essays on the Pastime and Power at Home and Abroad and released in April 2010 and “Barry Bonds: Of Passion and Hostility” was published in Fame to Infamy: Race, Sport, and the Fall from Grace: Essays That Reveal the Public Slide into Disrepute of Once-Cherished Male Sport edited by David C. Ogden and Joel Nathan Rosen which was released in October of 2010.  Professor Alexander presented a paper at the 2010 North American Society for the Sociology of Sport entitled “Sheryl Swoopes and the Intersection of Race, Gender, and Sexuality.”  That presentation led to an invitation to present at the Performing Ethnicities Through Sport Conference held at the University of Iowa April 1-3, 2011.  

She is currently editing her first book When Baseball Wasn’t White, Straight, and Male: the Media and Difference in the National Pastime as well as working on several articles exploring various aspects of popular culture..

Todd Duncan, Senior Lecturer

During 2010-2011, Senior Lecturer Todd Duncan taught Introduction to African American Literature and continued two Detroit-centered courses: “Stories of Oldtimers,” an oral history course that connects students and longtime Detroit residents; and “Detroit Poetry,” which explores poetry and the culture of poetry in Detroit.  A student paper from the poetry course was presented at the WSU Honors College research day for undergraduates. 

Working with WSU librarian, Diane Sybeldon, he also helped facilitate a digitizing poetry project and the poetry section of an arts installation project commemorating the decades long Cass Corridor arts movement. (Cass Corridor is adjacent to the Wayne campus; the installation is housed in the Undergraduate Library.)

During the academic year, Duncan also directed a graduate independent study on Indo-Caribbean literature, directed an M.A. essay (“Orientalism and Subaltern Voices”) and served as a committee member for a PhD dissertation completed in the history department (“Detroit’s Blues Queens”).  From April to June, he taught 6 seminars at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute: “Heart and Mind: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on African-American Literature”.   Duncan also serves on the university’s ADA Advisory Committee, which is devoted to expanding campus access for students with disabilities.

David Goldberg, Assistant Professor

In 2011, Dr. Goldberg published a co-edited volume with Trevor Griffey, Black Power at Work: Community Control, Affirmative Action and the Construction Industry (Cornell University Press).  Black Power at Work chronicles the history of direct action campaigns to open up the construction industry to black workers in the 1960s and 1970s. The book's case studies of local movements in Brooklyn, Newark, the Bay Area, Detroit, Chicago, and Seattle show how struggles against racism in the construction industry shaped the emergence of Black Power politics outside the U.S. South. In the process, "community control" of the construction industry—especially government War on Poverty, and post-rebellion urban reconstruction projects— became central to community organizing for black economic self-determination and political autonomy.

Dr. Goldberg also recently completed a chapter on Detroit’s tenants’ rights movement that will be published in The Business of Black Power, University of Rochester Press, 2012.  He has also completed two book reviews for the Journal of American Studies and the Journal of African American History, respectively.

In addition to these publications, Dr. Goldberg presented papers at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s International Conference and at the Working-Class Studies Association’s annual conference in Chicago. Prof. Goldberg is continuing work on the Detroit Civil Rights, Community Activism and Labor History Project, a multi-media website that will include digitized primary source materials, oral histories, student and faculty produced research reports, and lesson plans for middle school and high school teachers. He was also recently awarded a Schomburg Center for Research and Culture Residential Fellowship for 2012, where he will continue working on his forthcoming monograph on the history of African American firefighters.


Daphne W. Ntiri, Professor

Associate Professor Daphne Ntiri’s recent publications include: 1) with Merry Stewart. Recruitment challenges:  “Lessons learned from elderly African American living with diabetes in an urban literacy program,” Educational Gerontolog; and “Framing the literacy issue: Correcting Educational Misrepresentation in U.S. society,”Western Journal of Black Studies.  She currently has under review the following: “Transformative Learning and Adult Literacy Education: An autoethnographic Perspective.  Journal of Transformative Education and a chapter, “Literacy as a social divide:  Roadblocks to a shared understanding of the white/black gap and adult literacy implications.” In Lifting while climbing:  Talmadge C. Guy and Lisa Merriweather Hunn (Eds.) University Press of America. She published a book review of K. Merseth’s Inside urban charter schools:  Promising practices and strategies in five high-performing schools (Harvard University Press, Cambridge: MA) in Western Journal of Black Studies.

In 2011, Dr. Ntiri presented her paper,Transformative Learning and Adult Literacy Education: An Autoethnographic Perspective,”at a the University of Athens and the Pan Hellenic Adult Education, Athens, Greece, May 27 -30, 2011.  She also presented at the Adult Education Research conference, Transformative Learning Intervention:  Effect on functional health literacy and diabetes knowledge in older African Americans. Sacramento, California June 2-4, 2010. Later that year, she presented a new research focus entitled, Transformative Learning and Adult Literacy Education:  an autoethnographic perspective. Clearwater Beach, Florida, October 26-28, 2010.  In 2010, her attendance was marked at other local conferences namely 1) Literacy convergence at MAACE in Lansing, March; 2)  American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, Literacy Round table discussion, November 1-6. 3) Humanities Center Fall symposium, November 6, Representation of health and disease in the city, WSU. Transformative Learning Intervention:  Effect on functional health literacy and diabetes knowledge in older African Americans. 5) Black history month celebration. Transformative Learning Intervention:  Effect on functional health literacy and diabetes knowledge in older African Americans.

Her scholarship includes Principal Investigator of a state funded grant under WIA Title II for $100,000 for 2009/10 and a continuation grant for 2010/2011 of $90,000 to raise the level of academic schooling for those with less than high school and prepare them for transitioning into post secondary and the world of work.

She served as undergraduate thesis advisor for Women’s Studies’ student, Alanna Woolley (spring 2011) and graduate thesis advisor for two Interdisciplinary Masters students: 1) Hayward Moon (spring 2011) on: African American / African Immigrant same ancestry but conflicting cultures and 2) Dorothy Dardy (W 2009) on: The Justification for allowing women clergy.  She served as a doctoral committee member for Lanissa Freeman, (Spring 2011) College of Education on: Effective Language Arts Teachers of Urban African American Middle School Students.

She is very active in the local community and recently served as consultant to the Detroit Institute for the Arts, “Through African Eyes” (2010) first African exhibition presented by the museum over several decades.  Dr. Ntiri is quoted on the Marcus Belgrave Kresge Eminent Artist monograph in the section titled, “Belgrave as Educator” at www.kresge.org.  She prepared the winning grant application to Kresge for $50,000.  She is also quoted in the Heidelberg annual review monograph (2011) for her service as Board Member to this emerging artistic institution in Detroit.

Lisa Ze Winters, Associate Professor

During the 2010-11 academic year, Assistant Professor Ze Winters continued revisions to her book manuscript, Sleeping with the Enemy: The Mulatta Concubine in the Black Transatlantic, a comparative cultural history of visual and written representations of mulatta subjects across the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century transatlantic. Dr. Winters draws from a variety of archival sources, including eighteenth- and nineteenth-century letters, petitions and travelers’ narratives, nineteenth-century newspaper accounts and African American literature, and twentieth-century oral histories, guidebooks and ethnographies, in order to examine how representations of the mulatta turn on the terror and sexualized violence central to the historical subjection of African diasporic communities.


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