Africana Studies Program


Russwurm Lecture and Book Discussion with Craig Steven Wilder March 31-April 1

Craig Steven Wilder, professor of history at MIT and a leading historian of race in America, will deliver the annual John Brown Russwurm Lecture at 6:30 p.m., March 31, 2015, in Main Lounge, Moulton Union. A book discussion follows April 1 at 7 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium.

During his visit to Bowdoin, Dr. King visited the Bowdoin College Museum of Art to view the groundbreaking exhibition The Portrayal of the Negro in American Painting. He is pictured here with Curator Marvin Sadik.

Honoring the Legacy: Martin Luther King Jr. Speaks at Bowdoin in 1964

It was 50 years ago this year that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Bowdoin College to speak about the civil rights movement and the importance of ending segregation and discrimination in America.


A Bowdoin Reading List

Somehow, in the midst of all of their teaching and research, professors at Bowdoin also find time to write books. Check out these recent and upcoming titles by faculty members.

Civil War cluster students Michael Smith, Alexxa Leone, and Katie Randall (photo credit: Tess Chakkalakal)

Studying the Many-Sided Civil War

In one sense, there were only two sides in the Civil War – but there are many sides to the story of this pivotal era in American history. Bowdoin’s Civil War course cluster is bringing together a whole array of disciplines, including the historical, the literary, the visual, and the digital.

Judith Casselberry presents "Harvesting Souls for Christ: Black Pentecostal Women's Labor at the Altar"

Sabbatical Seminars: Casselberry on Black Pentecostal Women

This week’s faculty seminar series featured Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Judith Casselberry, who gave a presentation called “Harvesting Souls for Christ: Black Pentecostal Women’s Labor at the Altar.”


Mellon Mays Undergraduates Present Wide-Ranging Research

This year’s ten Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) researchers recently presented five weeks worth of research to professors, faculty advisors and fellow students at Bowdoin’s 2014 Mellon Mays Undergraduate Summer Research Colloquium.


A Thimble, and a Tale of Two Phebes

Within every object, no matter how unassuming, is a story. The Object Show at the Bowdoin Museum of Art draws from the diverse collections of the College to bring many such stories to light.

Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Judith Casselberry and Symone Howard ’15

Students Bring Discussion of ‘Black Art’ to Bowdoin

After being inspired by Yale University’s recent 19th-Annual Black Solidarity Conference, “Rooted: An Odyssey of Black Art,” student members of Bowdoin’s African-American Society decided to bring a taste of the convention back to campus.


The Storied Life of an Escaped Slave

Clemson University English Professor Susannah Ashton explored the life of an escaped slave whom Harriet Beecher Stowe sheltered in her Brunswick home in 1850, two years before writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Watson Fellow Teona Williams ’12 Returns Home from World Travels

In one year, Teona Williams ’12 got lost in a slum in New Delhi, visited a fake corporate city in Thailand, celebrated Christmas in Cape Town, lived with a big, friendly family in Brazil, hiked 20 miles to a secluded cove in Trinidad, and watched the sunrise from a mountaintop in Jamaica.


Five Faculty Members Earn Tenure in 2014

Five Bowdoin faculty members have been promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure.


New Library Show Examines Racist Afterlife of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’

The images presented in the current Hawthorne-Longfellow Library exhibit, “Visualizing Uncle Tom,” are so disturbing that a university in Great Britain decided they were too risky to present to the public.

Stowe House (Illustration credit: Abby McBride)

Chakkalakal Talks ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ on BBC

BBC Radio 4 recently came to Brunswick to visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe house and interview Tess Chakkalakal about the impact of Stowe’s novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

Prof. Tess Chakkalakal's first-year seminar, Fictions of Freedom, in Massachusetts Hall

A Bridge to Knowledge: Bowdoin’s First-Year Seminars

While many colleges offer similar first-year programs, Bowdoin’s program is somewhat unique because it teaches the skills of critical reading and persuasive writing through the lens of different disciplines.

Civil War photography with Michael Kolster and Dana Byrd

The Civil War Through a Camera Lens

Associate Professor of Art Michael Kolster and Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History Dana Byrd recently teamed up to give Alumni College attendees an immersion experience in the photography of the Civil War.

Jim Purnell Video: Fighting Jim Crow

Video: Bowdoin’s Purnell on ‘Fighting Jim Crow’

Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Brian Purnell discusses his latest book, “Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings: The Congress of Racial Equality in Brooklyn,” with Associate Professor of History Patrick Rael.

Dr. King at Bowdoin College May 6, 1964.

Two Upcoming Events Honor MLK’s Enduring Message

By a quirk of the calendar, Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year falls on the first day of second-semester classes. So Bowdoin has a rare chance to celebrate King’s life and legacy with an evening of readings and musical performances by students and talks by Bowdoin staff and faculty.


Video: Bowdoin’s Chakkalakal Shares Stories of Harriet Beecher Stowe with ‘Book TV’ (C-SPAN)

Drawing on her deep expertise in the area of Harriet Beecher Stowe and her landmark novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and English Tess Chakkalakal was herself in the role of storyteller as she shared insight into the author and the famous text with C-SPAN2’s “Book TV.”


Bowdoin Featured in Special C-SPAN Coverage Oct. 6-7

Bowdoin and its ties to this country’s rich history will be highlighted throughout this weekend during special programming on the networks of C-SPAN.

Teona Williams '12

A Global Roamer Blogs for Maine Newspaper

If armchair travelers want to track Teona Williams’ adventures, they can follow the Watson fellow and recently graduated senior on a travel blog she is writing for the Bangor Daily News , called The Places We Go, named after Dr. Suess’ children’s book.