Faculty & Staff

  • Monica Coleman
    Coordinator, AAPHI

    ​Monica A. Coleman is Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware, and is serving as the AAPHI Faculty Director (2020 – ). She is also an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She works at the intersection of faith, culture and social justice. She is the author or editor of six books, and several articles and book chapters that focus on the role of faith in addressing critical social and philosophical issues. Her book “Making a Way Out of No Way: a Womanist Theology” is required reading at colleges and universities around the United States. Her memoir “Bipolar Faith: a Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith” received the Silver Illumination Award in 2017. Coleman is active in academic guilds including the American Academy of Religion, the Society for the Study of Black Religion (SSBR) and the Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought (IARPT). Coleman has received funding from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation, the Association for Theological Schools, and the Forum for Theological Exploration (formerly, the Fund for Theological Education). Coleman speaks widely on religion and sexuality, religious pluralism, churches & social media, mental health, and sexual and domestic violence.

    In 2020, Professor Coleman was nominated and elected to the Program Committee of the American Academy of Religion (the world’s largest guild for the academic study of religion). She was also inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Collegium of Scholars. The American Academy of Religion Program Committee oversees the annual meeting program (over 10,000 attendees) – designing and reviewing the program structure, establishing categories and criteria for governing program units, and advising the Executive Director and the Director of Meetings on important programmatic aspects of the meeting. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Collegium of Scholars provides a creative learning environment where clergy and laity from diverse backgrounds, distinct faith traditions, and different generations come together as students of Dr. King’s philosophies to reflect on their personal calling, foster meaningful relationships with others who are answering their calling, and develop ideas and strategies for taking their calling to the world.

    Read More
  • Tracy Jentzsch
    Program Coordinator, IHRC, AAPHI, PRJI

    Working in tandem with the IHRC Director and Associate Director as well as the Faculty Director of the African American Public Humanities Initiative (AAPHI), Tracy serves as the Program Coordinator for the IHRC and provides support for AAPHI.   She serves as liaison to Faculty Commons, the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning, and the Library’s Multimedia Design Center and Digital Scholarship Center as well as to external organizations that provide training opportunities for graduate students and faculty in public humanities, digital scholarship and pedagogy.   Tracy teaches workshops on technology, branding, digital footprints and social activism, including DelPHI Summer Institute and the Mandela Washington Fellows. Tracy also maintains the program website and social media.  She holds an BA in Communications from Notre Dame of Maryland University,  a certificate in Marketing Strategy from New York University’s School of Continuing Ed, an MA in Liberal Studies and a Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Delaware, and is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with a focus on higher ed administration at the University of Delaware.

    Read More
  • Wunyabari Maloba
    Chair, Department of Africana Studies

    ​W.O. Maloba research covers African nationalism, revolutionary movements, women’s history and Africana studies. He received his B.A. (Hons), from the University of Nairobi (1975), and Ph.D. from Stanford University (1988). He is the author of Mau Mau and Kenya (Indiana University Press, 1993/1998), and African Women in Revolution (Africa World Press, 2007). His current projects include: writing a revised edition of Mau Mau and Kenya, and also working on a new book project on Mau Mau in popular imagination.

    Read More
  • Sandy Isenstadt
    Chair, Department of Art History

    Professor Sandy Isenstadt teaches the history of modern architecture, concentrating on developments in Europe and the United States, but including as well courses on the global spread of modernism. His writings span post-World War II reformulations of modernism by émigré architects such as Richard Neutra, Josep Lluis Sert, and Henry Klumb; visual polemics in the urban proposals of Leon Krier and Rem Koolhaas; and histories of American refrigerators, picture windows, landscape views, and real estate appraisal.

    Read More
  • Monica Dominguez-Torres
    Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Art History

    Professor Mónica Domínguez Torres specializes in the art of the early modern Iberian world, with particular interest in the cross-cultural exchanges that took place across Spain and the Americas during the period 1500-17​00. She received a B.A. in Art History from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, a Masters in Museum Studies and a Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of Toronto, Canada. Since 2005, she holds a joint appointment in Latin American and Iberian Studies.​

    With Professor Wendy Bellion, she co-edited Objects in Motion: Art and Material Culture across Colonial North America (2011), a special issue of the journal Winterthur Portfolio featuring papers presented at an international symposium they organized at the University of Delaware in 2008.  Her essay “Pearl Fishing in the Caribbean: Early Images of Slavery and Forced Migration in the Americas” appeared in the volume African Diaspora in the Cultures of Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States, edited by Persephone Braham (University of Delaware Press, 2015).

    Read More
  • John Ernst
    Chair, Department of English

    John Ernest, Professor and Chair of the Department of English, is the author or editor of twelve books and over forty journal articles and book chapters. His recent books include Liberation Historiography: African American Writers and the Challenge of History, 1794-1861 (2004), Chaotic Justice: Rethinking African American Literary History (2009), A Nation Within a Nation: Organizing African American Communities before the Civil War (2011), Douglass in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates (2014), and the Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative (2014). Recent editions include Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Written by Himself (2008), J. McHenry Jones’s Hearts of Gold (co-edited with Eric Gardner, 2010), and William Wells Brown’s My Southern Home; Or, The South and Its People (2011). His current book project is Reading While White: The Nineteenth-Century Roots of White Racism. He and Joycelyn K. Moody are general editors of Regenerations: African American Literature and Culture, a series published by West Virginia University Press and devoted to reprinting good editions of undervalued works by early African American writers.

    Before arriving at the University of Delaware, he was the Eberly Family Distinguished Professor of American Literature at West Virginia University for seven years, and he taught for twelve years at the University of New Hampshire, where he served as Director of Undergraduate Composition, Co-Director of the Discovery Program, and Director of African American Studies. At UNH, he received the Outstanding Assistant Professor Award (1997), the UNH Diversity Support Coalition’s Positive Change Award (1998), the Jean Brierley Award for Excellence in Teaching (2003-2004), and the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Award for Higher Education (2004).

    Read More
  • Sean Zdenek
    Director of Graduate Studies, Department of English

    Sean Zdenek is associate professor of technical and professional writing at the University of Delaware, and serves as the department’s Director of Graduate Studies. His research interests include web accessibility, disability studies, sound studies, and rhetorical theory and criticism. Prior to joining the Department of English in 2017, Dr. Zdenek was a faculty member at Texas Tech University for fourteen years, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses on a range of subjects, including rhetorical criticism and theory, disability studies, web accessibility, sound studies, designing technical instructions, multimodal composition, technical communication theory, writing for publication, document design, professional report writing, and writing style. Dr. Zdenek’s book, Reading Sounds: Closed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture (University of Chicago Press), received the 2017 best book award in technical or scientific communication from the Conference on College Composition and Communication (4Cs).

    Read More
  • Alison Parker
    Chair, Department of History

    ​Alison M. Parker is the Chair and a Professor of History at the University of Delaware. She has research and teaching interests at the intersections of gender, race, disability, citizenship and the law in U.S. history. She majored in art history and history at the University of California, Berkeley and earned a PhD from the Johns Hopkins University. In 2017-2018, Parker was an Andrew W. Mellon Advanced Fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University, where she worked on her current book project, a biography of the civil rights activist and suffragist Mary Church Terrell. Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell is forthcoming with the University of North Carolina Press in its John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture. Parker is the author of two historical monographs, Articulating Rights: Nineteenth-Century American Women on Race, Reform, and the State (2010) and Purifying America: Women, Cultural Reform, and Pro-Censorship Activism, 1873-1933 (1997). She has also co-edited three anthologies and authored numerous articles and book chapters. While a faculty member at the State University of New York, College at Brockport, Parker was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity (2012). Her next book project is a study of the civil rights activist, Mary Hamilton, the first female field director for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Parker serves as the founding editor of the Gender and Race in American History book series for the University of Rochester Press. As Chair of the History Department at the University of Delaware, Parker is committed to building a coalition of students, faculty, and staff promoting a wide-ranging anti-racism agenda. She is trained to lead antiracism and racial justice workshops and community conversations and will work to recruit and retain a diverse community of faculty and students.

    Read More
  • David Suisman
    Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History

    David Suisman specializes in cultural history, the history of music, sound studies, and the history of capitalism. His scholarly interests also include media studies, the history of the senses, the history of emotions, the history of film and photography, intellectual property, and critical theory.

    Prof. Suisman received his B.A. from Yale University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University, where his dissertation won the Bancroft Dissertation Prize. His first book, Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music (Harvard UP, 2009), was named one of Choice’s “Outstanding Academic Titles for 2009” and received the Hagley Prize for the Best Book in Business History, the DeSantis Book Prize of the Society of Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and several other honors. He is also co-editor, with Susan Strasser, of Sound in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010).

    Prof. Suisman has been a Mellon Regional Faculty Fellow of the Penn Humanities Forum; a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley; an affiliate writer at the Headlands Center for the Arts; and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Since 2011, Prof. Suisman has also served as associate editor and book review editor of the Journal of Popular Music Studies. He serves as the Director of Graduate Programs for the Department of History.

    Read More


Affiliated Faculty

Julie McGee

How we discuss, historicize, display and curate Black artistic creativity and legacies are matters of public concern. The scholarship and teaching of critical race art history and museum studies are enriched, indeed strengthened, by their intersection with African American public humanities.

Jesse Erickson

I have the unique opportunity at the University of Delaware to teach and work in special collections. Much of my work involves finding ways to make the University’s African American rare book and archival collections come alive through course instruction, curating exhibitions, and engaging in community outreach. It is a true privilege to be able to teach and mentor students who are likewise interested in serving the public in this way.

Cheryl Hicks

African American Public Humanities makes our understanding of History richer in that it engages not just one methodological approach but a myriad of explorations into the lives of those Black people who did not leave a readily-accessible archive.

Laura Helton

The field of African American Studies has always had the imperatives of social justice and community engagement at its heart. AAPHI allows students to actively pursue those imperatives as part of their graduate work by providing training, resources, and support for public-facing research, internships, creative projects, and community partnerships.

Ikem Okoye

It is practically impossible to speak of any form of art and architecture that has not incorporated some form of evaded privilege (for instance patrons versus makers) and/or of race (for instance slavery mechanisms in Africa and its representation in African, European, and American art, or, by contrast, my work on the racist basis of European colonialism and its postcolonial aftermath as represented in both architecture and art).

Jennifer Van Horn

In my courses I aim for interdisciplinary collaboration, providing opportunities for students to engage in object-based and project-based learning and critical discussion of racial justice issues. A core aim of my seminars is to offer students hands-on experiences with historic artifacts, field-based learning opportunities, and public-facing assignments that contribute to area cultural institutions. My current book project, Portraits of Resistance: Activating Art During Slavery, interrogates how American portraits of the 18th and 19th centuries were participants in a battle over Black personhood that took place at the level of the individual and the nation. The book examines how portraiture was both a technology used to deny Black agency and aesthetic achievement and a means for enslaved African Americans to reaffirm their humanity and creativity.