It's Award Season!
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Spring into Celebration!

It is time! The days are finally getting longer and the sun is peeking out! It is also time to announce the winners of this year's Grace Holt Memorial Awards and Departmental Awards! This year we have SIX winners! Additionally, we are announcing the 2020 Marie Nesbitt Promise Prize Scholar. Keep reading for more. In this newsletter we will congratulate award recipients, highlight past and upcoming events, and share important information about our transition to the Department of Black Studies (BLST).

We have a lot of great programming this semester! Make sure to stay up to date on everything AAST (BLST soon), by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! Hope to see you soon, and like always, please reach out with any questions or comments! We love hearing from you!  


*Please note that the Grace Holt Lecture and guest speaker meet and greet with Dr. Laurence Ralph has been postponed. Please read on for details. 

Roundtable Highlights
(left to right) Raphael Nash, Darcel Rockett, Ralina L. Joseph, Kishonna Gray 
(left to right) Raphael Nash, Darcel Rockett, Ralina L. Joseph, Kishonna Gray 

In late Janurary, we hosted an engaging roundtable, Sisters on Screen, as a part of our Black Popular Culture Series. Moderated by one of our newest lecturers in the Department and filmmaker, Raphael Nash, this conversation was on black women in contemporary media exploring issues of visiblity, authorship, and gendered identites. Our panel was made up of three fantastic women in the field: Ralina L. Joseph, Professor of Communication at Univeristy of Washington, Darcel Rockett, Senior Journalist at Chicago Tribune's Life & Culture, and Kishonna Gray, Assistant Professor of Gender & Women's Studies and Communication at UIC. Thanks to everyone who attended!

 (left to right) Madhu Dubey, Duriel E. Harris, Lydia Diamond
 (left to right) Madhu Dubey, Duriel E. Harris, Lydia Diamond

February is a special month. Not only is it Black History Month, but also the birthday month of the legendary Toni Morrison. To celebrate, this year we co-coordinated Remembering Toni Morrison, a five-part series featuring documentary screenings, readings, and a roundtable discussion. On Tuesday, Februrary 18th we held our second roundtable of the year, Writer's Roundtable, an engaging conversation with Duriel E. Harris and Lydia Diamond on Toni Morrison's influence on their artistic, intellectual, and personal formations. This event was moderated by our very own Madhu Dubey. It was a great time for all! There's one event remaining in the series; check below for details!

A *very* special thank you to our co-sponsors: the Department of English, the Richard J. Daley Library Undergraduate Engagement Program, the Women's Leadership and Resource Center, and the African-American Cultural Center. 

And The Winners Are...



Grace Holt Memorial Award recipients:                     AAST Departmental Award recipients:

Deziree Brown                                                                     Jasmine Roberson

Yvonne Livingston                                                              Melissa Danikowski

Ogechi Oparah

Gabrielle Powell

From everyone at the Department, we are pleased to announce our winners of the Grace Holt Memorial Award and Departmental Award! These students have excelled in the academics and community engagement, contributing to the field of Black Studies! We want to thank the 20+ applications for submitting such strong applications this year. Keep up the great work!

Also, we want to remind everyone that these awards are available every academic year. Make sure to stay tuned for more information Fall 2020. 



The Marie Nesbitt Promise Prize was established by the family of Marie Nesbitt in honor of her memory and is supported by the Change Create Transform Foundation. Each year, the faculty of the African American Studies department nominates a student who most demonstrates academic excellence, leadership, excellent scholarship, and/or community engagement.

Grace Holt 2020 Celebration - UPDATES

Thank you to those of you that attended the Grace Holt Luncheon!

If you missed it, keep an eye out next Spring!


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Due to travel restrictions at Princeton University, our Grace Holt guest lecturer, Dr. Laurence Ralph is no longer available to visit Chicago. We have postponed the Meet & Greet AND the Grace Holt Lecture.

We will keep you updated with any changes surrounding these events.

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Summer 2020 Class Options
AAST Summer 2020 Class Option flyer 
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The Department of African American Studies is excited to off THREE courses during the first Summer Session this year! Each class will be held from May 18th until June 12th, 2020. Check them out below! 


AAST 110 (ENGL 118): Intro to African American Literature 1760-1910

Professor Clarke Ainsworth, 9-11:55am, MTRF

AAST 242 (HIST 242): History of Modern Africa

Professor Lynette Jackson, 1-3:55pm, MTRF

AAST 261 (GWS 261, ENGL 261): Reading Black Women Writing

Professor Cynthia Blair, 1-3:55pm, MTRF 


Upcoming Events
Flyer image for part five of Remembering Toni Morrison series - 
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Final Event in the Remembering Toni Morrison Series! 


Join us for the final African American Cultural Center Book Club discussion of Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Lunch provided! Discussion held in Addams Hall, room 207. 


Wednesday, March 18, 2020 from 12-1:30pm 

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We are celebrating Women's History Month with

UIC Women's Leadership and Resource Center!


Join us for two special events with poet and performer Staceyann Chin! 

Wednesday March 11, 2020 and Thursday March 12, 2020 

Click here for more info!

Note for 2020-21 AY

Starting 2020-21 academic the Department's name will officially change to the Department of Black Studies. We are extremely excited for this change and want to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible for everyone. That said, STUDENTS when you are registering for our Department classes in the Fall 2020 semester you will need to search for BLST rather than AAST. As registration opens up please reach out with any questions you may have, we are happy to help! 

*Please note that summer 2020 courses will remain under the rubric, AAST.