Dear AAAS Minors,
Welcome to the new Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) at Michigan State University! We are Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown, the Inaugural Chair, and Dr. Tamura Lomax, Founding Associate Professor. Together we make up the two 100% appointed faculty in the new AAAS Department. On the first day of classes, it is our pleasure to officially welcome you to an exciting upcoming academic year!
We bring with us densely rich research programs, creative public engagement projects including Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT) and The Feminist Wire (TFW), and our commitments to realizing a visionary department on the vanguard of Black Studies and Feminisms, Genders, and Sexualities Studies. Without a doubt, we are ready to answer the AAAS Transition Team’s call for visionary leadership at the intersection of Black Studies and Black feminisms through our distinctive approaches to Black feminist praxis and knowledge production. Our desires for the new build are abundantly life affirming and radically inclusive as we take care to extend the legacies of excellence we’ve inherited from our greatest and best teachers, the communities that raised us, our colleagues who built and sustained the AAAS Program, and the AAAS Transition Team. As we affirm Blackness, engage Black Study, and shift conditions of Black life toward greater justice, we understand the inventiveness of AAAS lies in mutual reciprocity, boldness, and serious attention to radically re-imagining the worlds we want so we can collectively make them so.
Our time is now and we are here.
The present with which we currently contend is marked by the constant threat of state sanctioned Black death at the hands of state and vigilante actors; brute antiblackness; COVID-19 and its attendant racial disparities; continued violence from white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy, imperialism, and militarism; along with persisting economic uncertainties and fraught social and political landscapes. These are, indeed, trying times. We are also aware of the ancient traditions and innovative ways people are working together to do what is needed to survive and thrive. We feel a profound sense of responsibility in the present moment and acknowledge that you too may have re-arrived at MSU in AAAS with greater clarity and determination to positively contribute to the communities that sustain your biggest dreams.
This is our time.
We are especially eager to learn more about who you are, why you decided to minor in AAAS, and your wishes for the new AAAS Department. Please keep a look out for future communications and departmental events, the first of which, will be a meet and greet via zoom specifically for AAAS minors and graduate students. Also, we invite Marilyn Duke and several continuing members of the 2019-2020 AAAS Transition team, Dr. April Baker-Bell, Dr. Joy Coates, and Dr. Kristie Dotson, to join us.
Thank you for minoring in AAAS. We wish you a great start to a new semester. Please continue to take good care.
Together we will.
Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown
Inaugural Chairperson of African American and African Studies
Dr. Tamura Lomax
Foundational Associate Professor of African American and African Studies