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African American and Africana Studies Program Expands with New Faculty


by Sarah Geegan
The African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) program emerged in Fall 2011, uniting African American Studies & Research Program with Africana Studies, to create greater community presence, to provide international study opportunities in the focus area and to work toward creating an undergraduate major. In the Fall 2013, the area will expand even further, as two new distinguished faculty join the program.
DaMaris B. Hill, currently a visiting professor of African-American literature from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and Chamara Jewel Kwakye, from University of Illinois, will begin teaching in the fall.
DaMaris B. Hill is a writer and scholar who earned her doctorate in English-creative writing and women, gender and sexuality studies from the University of Kansas. Her story "On the Other Side of Heaven - 1957" won the 2003 Hurston/Wright Award for Short Fiction.
Chamara Jewel Kwakye is a scholar, storyteller and performer who earned her doctorate in educational policy studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Kwakye is currently writing a book that documents the life histories of black women in the academy.
AAAS Director Frank X Walker said the collaborative nature of the program will allow these two new faculty members to thrive. 
"The interdepartmental collaborative process we experienced inside A&S made the arduous process worth it," Walker said. "These two amazing hires mark a long awaited milestone in the evolution of Africana Studies at UK. I'm thrilled that we were able to attract such significant interest and even more excited about the two outstanding scholars we are now adding to our ranks. A&S has two new superstars."