Monthly Archives: May 2008

CHFA Convocation Honors Afro-Am Professors

Honoring Bob Wolff

In the new Studio Arts Building on the UMass Amherst campus, CHFA Dean Joel Martin congratulates Du Bois faculty member Robert Paul Wolff who retires in August 2008 after teaching the past 100 semesters. He has taught at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and the University of Massachusetts, where he has been a faculty member since 1971. In 1992, he was invited to join the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies to assist in the establishment of a doctoral program, which he has coordinated since it was established in 1996.

In 2005 Wolff published Autobiography of an Ex-White Man. Wolff will be Professor Emeritus in the upcoming fall semester. We will miss you Bob!



A Yemisi JimohThe Convocation was also an opportunity to look to the future of the HFA College. A Yemisi Jimoh, who teaches literature in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, headed the 2007-2008 Visioning Committee of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. At the CHFA Convocation she was recognized, along with the other Committee members, for their exemplary service to the College in selecting the recipients for the College’s first Vision Grants.

James Smethurst and Du Bois Chair Amilcar Shabazz were among those faculty who received Visioning Grants. Their proposal, “Visions of Empowerment: A Du Bois Classroom on Art & Freedom,” received one of the largest grants of those awarded this year. It was selected for the way that it expands the vision of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts as well as foster excellence through collaborative work and new initiatives. The grant will help the Du Bois Department organize a series of events that explore the intersection of the Black Arts and Black Power movements of the 1960s and 1970s and the enduring impact they have had on U.S.society and beyond.

Ernie Allen film debuts at Mass Multicultural Film Festival

Look Back and Wonder: The Rise of Black Studies at UMass Amherst

Ernie after film debut

It was a fabulous debut of a film on the genesis of the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst. Shown on Wednesday, April 30, at 7:30 pm, in 137 Isenberg School of Management. Catherine Portuges, UMass professor of Film Studies and Comparative Literature, gave the film a glowing introduction. The W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies co-sponsored the screening. Professor Ernest Allen, Jr., who wrote and directed the documentary film, was present for discussion.

Entertaining and insightful interviews and archival footage in the documentary bring to life the debates, achievements, and inner life of a department that has included such public intellectuals as Shirley Graham Du Bois, Chinua Achebe, and James Baldwin, and world-class musicians and cultural icons such as Archie Shepp and Max Roach.