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Presented By: Department for Afroamerican and African Studies

From Gloria Marshall to Yeye Olokun-Igbadero: Niara Sudarkasa - Activism, Anthropology, Africa and its Diaspora

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The Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, the Department of Anthropology and the African Studies Center are proud to honor ​Niara Sudarkasa​,​ one of the founding faculty of the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies and its first female Director​,​​​ ​for​ her many contributions to ​the fields of Africana Studies and Anthropology​, her deep commitment to upholding academic excellence and her unwavering support of students.
Pioneering cultural anthropologist Niara Sudarkasa traveled to twenty-seven African countries and conducted research in West Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States. Her research interests included West African trade and migration, anthropology and development, the roles of African women, African and Caribbean immigration to the United States, African and African American family organization, race and ethnicity, and diversity, equity, and excellence in higher education.​ ​She was the first African American woman to teach anthropology at the University of Michigan. In her twenty years at the University of Michigan, she was the first African American woman to earn tenure in the arts and sciences, become full professor, head an academic center, and become the associate vice president for academic affairs.

Born in 1938 as Gloria Marshall in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, she adopted the name Niara—an adaptation of a Swahili word meaning “woman of high purpose.” Over the course of her
career, she earned nearly twenty fellowships, grants, and awards, more than seventy-five civic and professional awards, and honorary degrees from a dozen colleges and universities.​ ​Sudarkasa has long been recognized for her many “firsts.”
​This​ virtual symposium ​ will consist ​of 4 panels (with a moderator and 3-4 speakers) exploring four areas of Dr. Sudarkasa's professional contributions around the themes of a) activism – starting with her role during the first Black Action Movement at U of M which led to solidification of the Center of Afroamerican and African Studies along with other DEI related units across campus, b) the field of anthropology – connecting African culture to the new world experiences, customs and familial structures found in Caribbean and African-American communities, c) the promotion of the study of African-American and African history, culture and contribution in academia, and d) academic excellence and leadership in higher education as a thought leader, mentor and later, a university President.

Livestream Information

October 8, 2021 (Friday) 9:30am
Meeting ID: 96881541210

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