UofSC faculty experts list on Black History month

February is Black History month. To help journalists with stories this month, the University of South Carolina has compiled a list of faculty experts on African-American history, culture, health and other issues. To arrange an interview, contact the staff member listed with the entry. 

Overcoming health disparities in African-Americans

Nursing professor Tisha Felder has conducted research in the areas of health disparities, cancer prevention and breast health with the long-term goal of closing the gap between the races when it comes to health outcomes. Felder also works with African-American women, stressing the importance of breastfeeding.

News contact: John Brunelli,brunelli@mailbox.sc.edu; 803-777-3697

Criminal justice issues

Deena Isom-Scott is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and African American Studies. Her areas of research are criminological theory of race and gender, juvenile delinquency in law and justice and methods and statistics violence. She can offer insight on the Black Lives Matter movement.

News contact: Mary-Kathryn Craftcraftm@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-576-6195.

Civil rights history

History professor Patricia A. Sullivan specializes in African-American history, race relations and the history of the civil rights movement. Her book “Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement,” is the first history of the formative decades of the nation's oldest civil rights organization. She directs the University of South Carolina’s History Center, which has sponsored a series of public events marking the 150th anniversary of Reconstruction. This series culminates in April 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina, with a public symposium on the contemporary significance of the 14th Amendment, which was the cornerstone of Reconstruction and became the foundation of the civil rights movement.

Sullivan co-directs the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at Harvard University’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute on teaching history of the civil rights movement. She is currently working on a book about Robert Kennedy’s public leadership in the civil rights movement and racial turmoil of the 1960s. 

News contact: Mary-Kathryn Craftcraftm@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-576-6195.

Music, pop culture and mass media

Ethnomusicologist Birgitta Johnson holds a joint appointment in the School of Music and College of Arts and Sciences’ African American Studies program. Her research interests include world music, African-American and African music, music and worship in African-American churches and megachurches, musical change and identity in black popular music, sacred music in the African diaspora, and community archiving. She is currently writing a book manuscript project, “Worship Waves, Navigating Identities: Music in the Black Church at the Turn of the 21st Century,” that seeks to highlight the impact of post-civil rights era cultural movements and socio-political changes on the state of music performance and worship traditions in African-American churches today.

News contact: Mary-Kathryn Craftcraftm@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-576-6195.

Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff, associate professor of history, studies how race and ethnicity shape American cultural institutions. Her articles on race relations and popular culture have been published in scholarly journals and national media outlets. Sklaroff’s first book “Black Culture and the New Deal: The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era,” describes the employment of state-sponsored cultural programs as a form of racial policy during the 1930s and 1940s. Her upcoming book "Red Hot Mama: The Life of Sophie Tucker," is the first extensive biography of Tucker, who was an important advocate for African American musicians and entertainers. During her lifetime, Tucker donated millions of dollars to the Negro Actors Guild and was a friend to many famous black performers such as Bill Robinson, Josephine Baker and Noble Sissle.

Sklaroff was an assistant curator for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and for exhibits related to black history at the National Museum of American History. She can offer insight on the institutionalization of racial and ethnic identities through cultural outlets including music, film, Broadway, athletics, and television.

News contact: Mary-Kathryn Craftcraftm@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-576-6195.

Literature and film

Qiana Whitted is an associate professor of English and African American Studies. She specializes in 20th-Century African-American literature and culture, American comics and graphic novels and Southern literature. White can offer commentary on the upcoming film “Black Panther," the solo debut on the big screen for Marvel’s first black comic superhero. 

News contact: Mary-Kathryn Craftcraftm@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-576-6195.

Seulghee Lee is an assistant professor of English and African American Studies. His research and teaching interests include critical method surrounding race, gender and anti-blackness, pop culture, Asian-American and African-American poetry and critical theory. He can offer commentary on the upcoming film “Black Panther” as well as representations of race in literature and pop culture. 

News contact: Mary-Kathryn Craftcraftm@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-576-6195.

Education professor Gloria Boutte has spent her career researching how to achieve equity in teaching for African-American students. She created the Center for the Education and Equity of African-American Students (CEEAAS) at USC. Through partnerships with public schools across the state and through numerous outreach programs, the center aims to improve instruction for black students, advocate for educational policies that could improve equity and serve as a forum for community engagement. She is also an expert in culturally relevant teaching strategies. 

News contact: Kathryn McPhail, mcphailk@mailbox.sc.edu803-777-8841. 

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