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Graduate Student Accomplishments

June 14, 2019


Jasmine Blanks

Publications: “Flipping the Panopticon: Liberian Youth Break the Fourth Wall in the Ebola Crisis,”  in Anatoli Rapoport, Competing Frameworks: Global and National in Citizenship Education.  Information Age Publishing, 2018.

“Staging and Streaming: Murder in the Cassava Patch Performed in its 50th Year.”  Liberian Studies Journal Arts Issue.  Under review.

Presented at the Liberian Studies Association. “Civic Education Inside and Outside of School: Weaving Connections among Contradictions,” Laura Quaynor, Ph.D., Lewis University, and Jasmine L. Blanks Jones, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Pennsylvania

Received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholars Dissertation Grant $10,000,  Sachs Program for Arts Innovation New Course Grant $9,000, and the Center for Experimental Ethnography Summer Research Grant $400 + full equipment rental.


Ezgi Cakmak

Attended the Black Internationalism and New York City Conference organized by The Center for the Study of Africa and African Diaspora at NYU. May 2-3,2019. “Remembering a Silenced History: A Discussion on the Diasporic Identity of African Descent Community in Turkey.”

Panel: International Alliances and Overlooked Communities.


Destiny Crockett

Presented a paper at the Crooked Room Conference (for both academics and activists) in St. Louis, Mo., on June 8, 2019. The paper was on the novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017) and the short story titled “The Hammer Man” by Toni Cade Bambara (1972) and discussed how both texts use Black girl figures to make critiques of policing--the former through a police reformist framework, and the latter through a police abolition framework. 


Brian Jackson

Brian has a chapter in an edited volume on Sounding the Indian Ocean.


Larissa Johnson

Larissa was awarded the South African National Research Foundation Doctoral Scholarship (2017-2021) and the Fulbright Scholarship (2017-2019).


Gillian Maris Jones

Publications: Jones, G. Maris. ‘“They Don’t Care About Us’: An Examination of Cultural Citizenship and Political Activism among Afro-Brazilian Youth in Salvador, Bahia.” Transnational Trills in the Africana World, edited by Cheryl Sterling, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Forthcoming 2019, pp 108-130.  Jones, Gillian Maris. “Black Lives Abroad: Encounters of Diasporic Solidarity in Brazil.” Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Vol. 41, no. 4, 2018, pp 831-855.

Received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.


Amrey Mathurin

Defended dissertation proposal, January 2019 titled “The Aesthetics of Sovereignty in the USVI.” 


Rasul Miller

Presentations: ASALH 2018 Annual Meeting and Conference; October, 2018, titled. Publications: “When the Divine Flood Reached New York: The Tijani Sufi Order Among Black American Muslims in New York City” (in press at SUNY Press).

Rasul was awarded the Racialization of Islam Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University’s Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration.

Rasul defended his dissertation, “The Global Character of New York City’s

Black Muslim Movements, 1936-1990”on June 13, 2019.


Eziaku Nwokocha

Defended her dissertation, “Vodou En Vogue: Fashion and Spiritual Innovation in Haitian Vodou”, on April 18, 2019 with distinction.


Graduate Certificates:

Gender, Sexuality and Women Studies

Latin American and Latino Studies

CTL Certificate in Teaching


Presentations: “Aesthetically African: Head Wrapping in a Vodou ceremony,” Caribbean Studies Association (CSA). Santa Marta, Colombia. June 3-7, 2019.  

“‘Make me look African!’: Headwraps and Race in Haitian,” American Studies Association. Atlanta, Georgia. November 8-11, 2018.


Awards: Graduate Student Award for Best Dissertation in Africana Studies


Samiha Rahman

Presentations: Presented at the American Anthropological Association; African Studies Association; Ethnography in Education Research Forum; American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group Biennial Conference.  

Publications: Gadsden, V. L., Rahman, S., Johnson, W. F., & (2019). “Civic Knowledge, Engagement, and Participation Narratives of Youth of Color in Urban Schools.” Peabody Journal of Education, 94(1), 78-96.

Samiha was awarded a 2019 National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship.



Natalie Shibley


Invited Presentations and Talks

2019 “Homosexuality and African American Military History,” Free To Be Anywhere in the Universe: An International Conference on New Directions in the Study of the African Diaspora, Columbia University, April 25.

2019 Panelist, “How Do We Participate in Democracy? Part 1: The Power of Activism,” Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest, Villanova University, March 19.

2019 "Peanut Panacea: The Medical Ideas of George Washington Carver," PRSS Lecture Series, University of Pennsylvania, February 28. This talk was also given as a guest lecture for Introduction to Africana Studies class, University of Pennsylvania.


Conference Presentations

2019 “HIV Criminalization in the U.S. Military,” Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, April 6.


Online Publications

“Black Women in the Army during World War II” (review of Glory in Their Spirit: How Four Black Women Took On the Army During World War II by Sandra M. Bolzenius), Black Perspectives, October 17, 2018.


Academic Service

Co-Organizer, “Penn and Slavery” Symposium, 2018-2019.