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Degree Programs / Graduate Program / Africana History

Africana History

We cannot understand where humanity has been and where we are going without Black Studies.

The Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies (CIBS) and the Department of History at the University of Kentucky invite applicants to our MA and PhD track in Africana History beginning in the Fall 2022 semester.

Students who enroll in the program will join a dynamic and growing community of scholars whose research and teaching encompass Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the United States. Our faculty are committed to mentoring students in a wide range of research areas that illuminate the history of Black lives, including Black women’s history, race and sports, the Black diaspora in the Atlantic World, slavery and emancipation, global Black freedom struggles, and migration and borderlands.

Students in the Africana History track participate in all aspects of the History graduate program and receive opportunities for interdisciplinary study through CIBS. The Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies offers the largest Africana research institute in the Southeast, with over fifty scholars across disciplines. CIBS provides funding for individual and collaborative research projects, cutting-edge programming, and student research support.

Students admitted to the program will be awarded 5-year CIBS Africana History Fellowships that cover full tuition and health care insurance and provide a $25,500 living stipend per year.

For more information, contact Dr. Hilary Jones at

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Africana History Faculty

Anastasia C. Curwood, PhDAnastasia C. Curwood
Anastasia Curwood, Director of the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies, joined the UK Department of History and African American and Africana Studies in 2014. Her work has been recognized with fellowships from the Ford Foundation, The Institute for Citizens & Scholars, and the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University. She is the author of Stormy Weather: Middle-class African American Marriages between the Two World Wars (2010).  Aim High: Shirley Chisholm and Black Feminist Power Politics is forthcoming in 2022.
 Devyn Benson Associate Professor of History and AAAS
Latin American and Caribbean History, esp. Cuba (19th/20th century); Africana Studies; Afro-Latin America; Cuban Studies; Afro-Latinx Studies; Transnational Black Feminisms
 Nikki Brown Associate Professor of History and AAAS
African American history; African American women; Film and visual studies; Photography
 J.M.H. Clark Assistant Professor of History and affiliate faculty, AAAS, and Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies.
African Diaspora; Black Atlantic; Latin America; Caribbean; Mexico; Afro-Latin America; Slavery; Race.
 Steve Davis Associate Professor of History and affiliate faculty, AAAS and Social Theory.
South African history/microhistory/public history; Digital Humanities; Graphic history; New military history.
 Vanessa Holden Associate Professor of History and AAAS and Director of the Central Kentucky Slavery Initiative
Gender; Slavery; Race; Resistance; Black Women; Sexuality
 Hilary Jones Associate Professor of History and AAAS
African History; West Africa; French Empire; Slavery and the Slave Trade; Francophone African Diaspora
 Francis Musoni Associate Professor of History and faculty affiliate of AAAS and International Studies.
Modern African history; Migration; Refugees; Border studies; Informal economies; African liberation movements.
 Gerald L. Smith Professor of History and faculty affiliate, AAAS.
African American history; Race and sports; Black freedom struggle; African American education; Kentucky African American history.
 Melissa N. Stein Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and faculty affiliate of AAAS, Health, Society, and Populations, History, and Diversity and Inclusion.
Critical race studies; Gender studies; Feminist science studies; The body, Racial thought; Sexuality and Queer history; US cultural and intellectual history; African American history; Women’s and gender history; History of science and medicine.
 Amy Murrell Taylor Professor of History, Theodore A. Hallam Professorship (2019-2021), Affiliate faculty of Gender and Women’s Studies and AAAS.
19th Century U.S. history; U.S. South; Emancipation; Civil War and Reconstruction; Race and gender; History of women; Slavery in public memory; Public history.
 Daniel Vivian Associate Professor, College of Design and secondary appointment in History, and faculty affiliate in AAAS
19th and 20th century US history, public history, historical memory, and historic preservation
 Derrick White Associate Professor of History and AAAS; Associate Director of AAAS
Black history; Sports history; Intellectual history.
 George C. Wright Professor of History and faculty affiliate of AAAS
Kentucky history; Black history; Global Black freedom struggle