E. Howard Ashford
Assistant Professor, Chair
271 Fitzelle Hall
Richard Siegfried Junior Faculty Prize for Academic Excellence 2020
Hello, my name is Evan Howard Ashford. I was raised in Kosciusko, Mississippi. I attended Kosciusko High School and graduated as class valedictorian. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Master’s degree in Public Policy & Administration from Mississippi State University. I earned my Master’s degree in History from Jackson State University and my Master’s degree in Afro-American Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I recently completed my PhD in Afro-American Studies from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. My dissertation, The Privilege of Blackness: Black Empowerment and the Fight for Liberation in Attala County, Mississippi 1865-1915 examined how African Americans utilized education, land, interracial interactions, and voting to shape Mississippi’s complex social, economic, and political landscape during the fifty years following their emancipation. My areas of current and prospective teaching include the Slavery and Resistance, Race, Class, Gender, and Culture, Afro-American Political Science, Reconstruction through Black Power, History of The Civil Rights Movement, History of Crimes and Prisons, LGBTQ Communities of Color, Afro-American Film, and Afro-American Literature and Culture. I self published, The Unshackled Past, a series containing 34 volumes of Afro-American genealogical history. Beyond the academic world, I enjoy Old Hollywood movies, listening to Motown and 70s soul, playing tennis, singing, writing, and photography.
Dr. Robert Compton (Ph.D., SUNY Binghamton), works on issues of political development and political economy focusing on Southern Africa and East Asia. He participated in the Ghana program, developed a South Africa short-term study program and provided consultancy for democracy and institution building in Zimbabwe and Uganda working with civil society, students, and parliamentary staff. He has taught at the University of Zimbabwe (2008) as a Fulbright Scholar and made invited presentations on academic unionism at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) throughout Southern Africa. Born in Japan, he speaks Japanese fluently and has a bi-cultural/bi-racial background. Professor Compton is one of the ‘go to’ resources regarding career planning in the department. He is the chair of the Department of Africana and Latino Studies.
Dr. Compton teaches African Politics; Politics of Developing Nations; China, Japan, and Korean Politics; Race, Gender, Class and Culture; and International Political Economy regularly. Compton created the Social Justice minor, the first of its kind, in the SUNY system as part of the ALS offerings. He is currently the Vice President for Academics, United University Professions, Oneonta Chapter, a union for faculty and professionals.
Comparative Regional Integration in SADC and ASEAN: Democracy and Governance Issues in Historical and Socio-Economic Context,” in Regions and Cohesion, vol. 3, #1, Spring, 2013: 5-31.
“Gendering the Impact of Zimbabwe’s 2008 Economic Collapse: Tales of Reality on the Ground,” forthcoming in Praxis: Journal of Gender and Cultural Critique.
“Globalization and Changing State Legitimacy in South Africa and Japan,” in Imagining Globalization, eds. Leung, Ho Hon, Mathew Hendley, Robert Compton, and Brian Haley, (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009).
Imagining Globalization, eds. Leung, Ho Hon, Matthew Hendley, Robert Compton, and Brian Haley, (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009).
“Dynamics of HIV/AIDS in China and India: Assessing Governmental Response,” in HIV/AIDS and the Threat to National and International Security, ed. Robert Ostergard, (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2007), pp. 223-40.
266 Fitzelle Hall
Maria Chaves Daza
265 Fitzelle Hall
Bio: Maria Paula Chaves Daza is a Latinx feminist scholar, holds a Master in Philosophy from the Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture program, and has a Doctorate in English from the Department of English, General Literature, and Rhetoric at SUNY-Binghamton University. Born in Colombia, they had the privilege to live in large immigrant cities like Miami and Chicago. These immigrant communities and the matriarchs of their family have given them the perspective and exposure to quotidian feminist practices which inspire their scholarly and community work. Their scholarship is invested in listening to the many ways women of color tell stories and work towards social justice. Their areas of specialization are 20th Century Chicanx/Latinx Literature, Women of Color Feminist Literature/Theory, Transnationalism, Testimonio, Post-colonial/De-colonial Theory.
266 Fitzelle Hall
He earned a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A. in Political Science from Northeastern Illinois University. His dissertation, titled Migrating Identities: A Study of Afro-Mexican Racial Identification Within and Across National Borders examined how legal status, phenotype and political context shape the multiple meanings of Blackness, racial identity and the political demands associated with race that Afro-Mexicans from the Costa Chica region construct as they migrate within Mexico and to the United States. Employing a multi-sited qualitative methods research design,
Betty Wambui, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Africana and Latinx Studies Department at the State University of New York - Oneonta. A UUP/SUNY Drescher Awardee (2014/15), she received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Binghamton University (SUNY), USA; and her M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Her areas of specialization within Social and Political Philosophy include African Philosophies, Feminist Philosophies, Critical Race Theories and Critical Legal Studies. She has a particular interest in social contract theory, discrimination, and morality. A member of the Women's Caucus of the African Studies Association and former co-convenor; she also served as President of the New York Africana Studies Association. Executive Editor of Praxis: Journal of Gender and Cultural Studies; her most recent publications include - "Buffeted: Women, knowledge and the environment – Developing an Afro Feminist Response to Environmental Questions" in African Philosophy and The Epistemic Marginalization of Women, (Jonathon Chimakonam, Thaddeus Metz and Louise du Toit, eds.) Routledge, 2018 and “Arrow of God: An Exploration of Psycho-Social and Political Health” in Illuminations on Chinua Achebe: The Art of Resistance (Micere Githae Mugo and Herbert G. Ruffin II) Africa Press, 2017.
Dr. Julie Licata, Associate Professor of Music, teaches ensembles and private lessons that span a wide range of percussion instruments and styles, including West African drumming, Indonesian Gamelan, Brazilian Samba, solo marimba, concert percussion and drum set. She teaches the World Percussion Ensemble, Classical Percussion Ensemble, and SUNY Oneonta Drum Line (a.k.a The Drag’n Rolls) among other classes as well as Music Cultures of the World, and Music for Listeners. She holds a Masters in Percussion Performance from the University of South Carolina and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance with a secondary emphasis in Ethnomusicology from the University of North Texas.
Julie’s research areas in ethnomusicology are the Volta Region of Ghana (Ewe drum and dance) and West Sumatra and Bali, Indonesia (Minangkabau). An active performer and advocate of new music, premiering and commissioning works by composers such as Thomas Licata, Greg Dixon, Michael Gatonska, Chapman Welch, Scott Comanzo, Jude Vaclavik, and Brett Masteller. Her recent accomplishments include solo performances at the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS), the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), New Music Focus Week at SUNY Oneonta, New Genre Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the NOW Music Festival at Capital University. Julie is also the percussionist for several regional orchestras and theater companies.
Dr. Miguel Leon (Ph.D., Columbia University) received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1999. His research interest focuses on early Colonial Latin American issues which include the study of the social and economic organization of Spanish-American and Andean populations before and after the Spanish conquest. This research interest has led him to analyze issues such as the encomienda system, the impact of the process of Christianization among the native populations, and the organization of the Church structure in the Viceroyalty of Peru. His historical analysis has emphasized an interdisciplinary approach to the past, especially in a dialogue with anthropological theory, which has been fruitful in the study of the Andean region.
His research on early colonial Peru has been focused on an area of Peru called Huanuco, located in Northeastern Peru. He has conducted extensive research in Spanish and Peruvian archives. His current research focuses on a region called Conchucos, which is located in the northern highlands of Peru. He is writing a longue durée history – XVI-XX centuries – of this region, emphasizing its economic and political transformations. This project is both an immense challenge and, at the same time, a fascinating experience due to the scope of the research and its significance for the region. Dr. Leon’s research will be used as a base to write textbooks on the history of the region that will disseminate his findings among students and the general population.
Dr. Brian Haley is a cultural anthropologist who completed his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He joined our department in the Fall 2000 semester and is currently a Full Professor. Before joining our department, Dr. Haley was Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside, and Post-doctoral Research Anthropologist at the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States.
Dr. Haley's teaching and research addresses how ethnic, racial, and national identities form and change; the social and cultural consequences of capitalist agriculture, Mexican immigration, globalization, and tourism; and the application of anthropology to practical issues such as immigration, heritage management, and ethnic relations. He has conducted ethnographic research in rural communities in California recently made multiethnic by Mexican farm worker immigration, ethnohistorical research on the original Spanish colonists of California and their descendants, and ethnohistorical and archaeological research on Navajo and Chumash Native American communities in Arizona and California. Recently, he has also been documenting the varied ways in which anthropology, over the course of its history, has mirrored, sustained, and also undermined the popular distinction between so-called civilized and primitive societies.
Dr. Haley’s newest book, Reimagining the Immigrant: The Accommodation of Mexican Immigrants in Rural America (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009) examines the coexisting practices of established residents’ discrimination against and accommodation of Mexican immigrants in a small farm town in California, and the ways in which immigrants and established residents reimagine immigrant ethnic identity in a more positive light. He also co-edited and authored a chapter in Imagining Globalization: Language, Identities, and Boundaries (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009), which gives voice to the peoples and groups impacted by globalization as they seek to negotiate their identities, language use, and territorial boundaries within a larger global context. Dr. Haley’s other major publications address Chumash Traditionalism and neo-Chumash ethnogenesis (the emergence of a new ethnic group), and have sparked considerable debate and discussion on the nature of ethnicity and tradition, and ethics in applied anthropology.
(See, e.g., “Anthropology and the making of Chumash tradition,” Current Anthropology 38:761-794, 1997, and “How Spaniards became Chumash, and other tales of ethnogenesis,” American Anthropologist 107:432-445, 2005, both with Larry R. Wilcoxon).
Dr. Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang (Ph.D., York University, Canada), Emeritus Professor of Literature in the Department of English and Director of Graduate Studies, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, has taught language and literature in universities in Africa, Europe, North America, and Asia. One of his specialties is African oral literature, a subject he has offered at SUNY Oneonta in the past. He is a Fellow of the Korea Foundation and was twice a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence. He has been a regular visiting teacher to the Africana and Latino Studies Department at SUNY Oneonta since 2004 and was its Faculty-in-Residence, Spring 2012. In Fall 2011, he was a visiting professor in literature at the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Grand Valley State University. Before that, he was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar to the Black Studies Department, Portland State University. He has recently completed work on Highlife and Kind Hearts, the final installment in his Cape Coast Castle Trilogy. He is completing a novel and commencing a biography of Agya Koo Nimo (Dr. Daniel Amponsah) one of Ghana's internationally renowned musicians.
R. Neville Choonoo
Dr. R. Neville Choonoo, Emeritus Professor of ALS and English, specializes in African and African American literature and has been a member of the Africana and Latino Studies and English departments for forty years. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and is interested in autobiographical writing of African Americans and Black South Africans. South African by birth, he has traveled widely and has taught African literature at the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa. The recipient of two NEH grants, Dr. Choonoo has published many articles and reviews in Africana journals.
Kathleen O'Mara (Ph.D. in African History, Columbia University) retired in fall 2017 but remains an active researcher of urban history and the economic and cultural history of Islamic West and North Africa. She has studied at the Université de Tunis, taught at the Université d'Alger, Faculté des Arts et Sciences Humaines, and was a Fulbright Fellow in Egypt. She has published on Saharan Studies, particularly on the Sultanate of Ahir (Niger), African urban history, and sexuality and gender, especially on emergent lgbtiq social networks and communities in West Africa. In addition, she researches and publishes on the impact of neoliberal managerialism in higher education. For two decades she was editor of Praxis: Gender & Cultural Critiques (formerly Phoebe). She provides expert testimony (pro bono) in lgbtiq West African asylum applications in NY, NJ & CA, and has consulted on West African economic and community development, e.g., World Bank (Washington D.C.) and local NGOs in West Africa, e.g., BBUD, SSSJE, Abusua=ACIPP, QAYN. From 2005 – 2013 she conducted field courses in Ghana annually. Dr. O’Mara’s recent publications include:
*“The Architecture of Survival: Saso Women’s Networks in Ghana” In S. N. Nyeck, editor, A Handbook of African Sexualities. NY: Routledge, 2019.
*“Constructing Home and Family in Accra,” In Dynamics of Community Formation: Developing Identity and Notions of Home, In Eds. Robert Compton, Ho Hon Leung, Yaser Robles. (NY/London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
**Queering Paradigms III: Queer Impact and Practices. (Oxford & Bern: Peter Lang, 2013) co-edited with Liz Morrish.
*“Kodjo Besia, Supi, Yags & Eagles: Being Tacit Subjects in Contemporary Ghana,” Toyin Falola & Nana Akua Amponsah, eds. In Women, Gender and Sexualities in Africa (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic). ***“Making Community and Claiming Sexual Citizenship in Contemporary Ghana,” Sybille N. Nyeck & Marc Epprecht eds., in Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory, and Citizenship (McGill-Queens University Press, 2013).
***“Diversity, Queers and Minoritized Groups in the Neoliberal Academy: discourse matters,” co-authored with Liz Morrish, Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 58 (Summer, 2011).