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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

New professors focus on African diaspora

Published: September 5, 2014
Section: News

Brandeis recently hired two new professors to enrich its African and Afro-American Studies Department (AAAS) as well as its History (HIST) and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGS) Departments. The new professors, Jasmine Johnson and Greg Childs, will work across departments to encourage and strengthen the study of the African Diaspora at Brandeis. These new hires embody Brandeis’ commitment to connecting disciplines and giving both students and staff multiple perspectives from which to approach topics.

Childs will be joining the university as an assistant professor of history. He will teach Latin American History, 1870 to the Present and Resistance and Revolution in Latin America and the Caribbean. Childs received his Ph.D. from New York University.

Childs comes to Brandeis from George Washington University, where he was also an assistant professor of history, specializing in the study of the African Diaspora in Colonial Latin America. Childs could not be reached for comment before press time.

Assistant Professor Jasmine Johnson, originally from San Francisco, will teach for AAAS and the WGS. She joins the Brandeis faculty after being a post-doctorate fellow of African American Studies at Northwestern University. Johnson received a Ph.D. in African Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a professional dancer and sees the “importance of movement” in the study of “travel, migration and gentrification,” and their impacts on different elements of African diaspora.

Johnson is very accomplished in her field, having received several awards and honors including the Andrew and Mary Thompson ROCCA Pre-Dissertation Fellowship for Ph.D. students at the University in California, Berkeley. She is currently working on a manuscript that explores West African Dance. Her work has been published by the Center for Black Studies Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara and in Gawker magazine.

Johnson is excited to be teaching at Brandeis, “in two disciplines, which is pretty incredible,” she said, acknowledging that the opportunity is rare. She is especially excited to get Brandeis students involved in her classes and to get people “from different departments in the same room … into a shared conversation.” Johnson reports that the transition to Brandeis and the Boston area has been smooth so far.

Having a professor like Johnson involved in both AAAS and WGS will be of great value to Brandeis students and faculty as race relations and the inequality of treatment between men and women become increasingly visible topics.

The two additions to the Brandeis faculty will strengthen the university’s efforts to offer a variety of interdisciplinary courses taught by well-qualified and diverse professors.