Rice University has named Sherwin K. Bryant F’21 the new director of the Center for African and African American Studies (CAAAS) and an associate professor in the Department of History, effective January 1, 2024.

Bryant is a a leading scholar of slavery, race and the early modern African diaspora. He was awarded a 2021 Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowship in partnership with the African American Heritage Foundation of Southeastern North Carolina to work on “Just Across the River: Black Histories of Brunswick County.” This place-based, community-engaged research project explores the history of slavery and the Black communal formation in Brunswick county, North Carolina. The work includes a series of oral histories that concern the history of Black sacred and social spaces such as churches, cemeteries, schools and juke joints to make visible regional Black geographies in the face of development and displacement.

Joining this dynamic community of scholars addressing Africa and the African diaspora across the Americas offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the field of Black studies, the humanities and the social sciences at a critical moment in history.

Sherwin K. Bryant F’21

Photo credit: Naiyah C. Bryant

Bryant is currently an associate professor of Black studies and history at Northwestern University. He is the former co-director of the Andean Cultures and Histories working group in the Weinberg College Center for International and Area Studies and a former director of Northwestern’s Center for African American History.

CAAAS is Rice’s primary location for curriculum and research related to Africa and to people of African descent in the Americas and beyond. The center is a hub for critical conversations on issues of national and international importance, instruction, teaching resources, cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and community outreach.

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