Department of Black Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara
Vilna Bashi Treitler is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Black Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. In January 2017 she was named “Sociologist of the Month” by Current Sociology (the Journal of the International Sociological Association).
Professor Jeffrey C. Stewart won the College Art Association’s Alfred A. Barr Prize for 2017 from Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis, the University of California Press and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts catalogue for his essay, “Beyond Category: Before There Was Afrofuturism There Was Norman Lewis”.
Sherie M. Randolph is the 2015-2016 Ella Baker Visiting Professor of Black Studies at UCSB and Associate Professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She teaches courses on social movements, black feminist theory, gender, race and incarceration, Black Power, African American history, and women’s history.
Randolph’s book Florynce “Flo" Kennedy: The Life of a Black Feminist Radical, published by the University of North Carolina Press (October 2015), examines the connections between the Black Power, civil rights, New Left and feminist movements.
Praise for this book includes:
“Successfully recounts Kennedy’s dynamic life: bursting with stories of rebellion and triumph, with a backdrop of historical context and, always, a hint of mystery.”
"A valuable account of this lesser-known, entirely remarkable woman."
--Los Angeles Times
“[A] stirring biography. . . . This important book is the story, as Randolph handily tells it, of an extremely brave woman who used the courts as well as the media and worked with a multitude of groups to build and maintain coalitions and create lasting change.”
--Library Journal, starred review
“A fitting, overdue tribute to an unapologetic firebrand and tireless advocate that time almost forgot.”
--Kam Williams, syndicated critic
“Randolph . . . has done an important service for anyone who cares about fashioning a complete and complex record of post-World War II feminist activism”
--Women’s Review of Books
"Florynce Kennedy is one of the founders of modern feminism, yet too few people now know her spirit and words, her courageous and outrageous example. I was lucky to have her as a teacher and friend. You will be, too, once you meet her in the pages of Sherie M. Randolph's welcome and important biography."
Dr. Terence Keel, Assistant Professor in the Department of Black Studies at UCSB, was recently interviewed to provide insight on an upcoming event at UCSB surrounding the history of the Underground Railroad: "Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad".
“I think the significance of Foner’s talk is his trying to carve out an argument about how widespread the Underground Railroad was. But more than that, the Underground Railroad was a coalitional political project that involved African Americans who had run away, as well as white abolitionists and Quakers who were actively working together to create this network of support.”
“It’s a history of black agency and partnership with other people,” he said. “Yet often students assume that a course on African American history is about demarcating boundaries and defining who is and who isn’t a proper part of this history.”
“This is not one of those research sites where there’s a robust archive,” Keel went on. “But it so happens Foner did in fact stumble across the record book in which Sydney Howard Gay was cataloging the number of slaves who were making their way up north. It was a record of the names of the slaves and potentially where they were from. And now we can begin to put names to regions and frequencies and time periods in ways that historically haven’t been possible. And that’s ground-breaking.”
Here is a look at some of the Graduating Seniors from the class of 2017. Congratulations graduates and good luck on your future endeavors!
Name: Bridget Kyeremateng
Major: Black Studies and Feminist Studies
Extracurricular involvement: Orientation Programs, Coordinator; Women’s Ensemble Theater Troupe, Director; Gaucho Tour Association, Vice President; Women’s Center, Programmer; Resident Assistant
Most Influential Professor(s)/Faculty Member(s): "Dr. George Lipsitz in Black Studies 1 was the first course I took within the department. I’m sure Dr. Lipsitz has heard this many times, but his presence and passion in the work he does inspired me to be a Black Studies professor. I still lose myself a bit whenever he walks in my presence. I have to remember to breath. One of my favorite and most challenging courses with Dr. Ingrid Banks for Women, Body & Politics. You never walked into her class unprepared; you’d be a fool to step up in class empty handed. Thank you both and every professor who has pushed boundaries for this department and continue to do so. Rest In Peace Professor Madison. You are loved and missed."
Post-Graduation Plans: "I am planning to hopefully travel to Europe after 15 years of not being back to Italy since I was born there. After some weeks of traveling, my plan is to move to New York City to pursue opportunities that involve or intersect the arts, social justice and international work. I plan to go to Grad School in the near future :)"
Name: Janet Lopez
Major: Black Studies and Sociology
Extracurricular involvement: Santa Barbara Student Housing Cooperative; Sigma Omega Nu, Latina Interest Sorority Inc.; Cal-SOAP; USEU(Salvadoran Student Union)
Most Influential Professor(s)/Faculty Member(s): "I remember being a shy and confused freshman and stepping into my first Black Studies course with Professor Akudinobi and completely feeling a purpose. After taking Black Studies 3, I completely fell in love with the discipline and I wanted to learn more. Shortly after, I remember stepping into the office and meeting Joseph Tapiro and declaring myself a major. I haven't regretted ever since. I also want to honor Professor Madison who pushed me to think critically and question the world we live in today. His Black Studies 50 course really opened up my eyes to the continuous injustices the black community face in media and society in general. It is really hard to pick one or two courses when I absolutely love my whole black studies undergraduate trajectory. I would not have been here if it wasn't for this awesome department!"
Post-Graduation Plans: "Study Abroad in Barbados and eventually pursue a Masters in Education for School Counseling"
Name: Mi'Chael Wright
Major: Black Studies and Sociology
Extracurricular involvement: UCSB Division I Women’s Basketball; Team Captain, 2015-2017; Black Student Union; UCSB Gospel Choir
Most Influential Professor(s)/Faculty Member(s): "Dr. Jude Akudinobi always came to class with a positive attitude, positive smile and excited to teach us something new. I will never forget seeing him around campus and hearing him say “HOMEGIRL! GOOD TO SEE YOU!”. He was a reminder that even in spaces that you sometimes felt weren’t made with you in mind, being Black, proud and myself would always be the better option."
Post-Graduation Plans: "I will be attending Howard University Graduate School to continue my studies in the Sociology. My future research is focused on Blackness in America, primarily focusing on the disregard and insensitivity to the lives and care of Black Women."