Martin Brückner is Professor in the English Department and serves as the Director of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture (WPAMC). He is the former Co-Director of the Center for Material Culture Studies (CMCS) and the Delaware Public Humanities Institute (DELPHI). He earned his M.A. in American Literature and Cultural Geography from the Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz in his native Germany, and his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University in the United States. His teaching and research interests include: American material culture; history of cartography; early American literature (C17 to C19); literary geography of the Atlantic World; print culture and the visual arts; and digital humanities.
I am a public historian and scholar whose work ranges from books and articles about the intersection of popular and political culture to museum exhibitions and programs about oystering, the ivory trade, and the legacies of the Mayflower landing. The theme that ties it all together is an emphasis on how the past shapes the present. As Director of Museum Studies and Public History, I help students learn the professional skills required to apply their growing expertise to non-scholarly audiences, for whom a personal or contemporary connection often heightens understanding and impact. I come to this position after having spent more than twenty years working for institutions big and small, from the Smithsonian and the National Park Service to historic houses and local museums. I also graduated from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture and completed my dissertation at UD in 2008.
Dr. Jesse Ryan Erickson is a bibliographer and researcher in the study of special collections, print culture, and book history. He received his certification in descriptive bibliography in 2009 from the California Rare Book School. In 2010, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in History with departmental honors in recognition of his senior thesis on the bibliographic history of the Malleus Maleficarum. He earned his Master of Library and Information Science in 2014, specializing in book history and librarianship, and he received his doctorate in Information Studies from UCLA in 2016. Dr. Erickson served as Programs Chair for the Southern California Branch of the American Printing History Association from 2014 and 2016. Previously, he has worked at institutions such as the Getty Center and the Charles E. Young Research Library. In 2013, he curated “The Power of Provenance” – a minor exhibit on the history of Southern California bibliophiles, and, that same year, he completed a full index for the Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript Collection located in the Department of Special Collections at UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library. Dr. Erickson’s past publications include a published version of his senior thesis, “The History of the Malleus Maleficarum: A Bibliographic Study” and, more recently, the article “Revolution in Black: Black American Alternative Press and Popular Culture at the End of the Twentieth Century” which was printed in the 2011 issue of Publishing History. Other publications include his reviews for Humanism and Libraries: An Essay on the Philosophy of Librarianship by Andre Cossette and Modern Print Activism in the United States edited by Rachel Schreiber. His primary research interests include ethnobibliography, African American publishing and printing, and American Ouidiana.
Laura Helton specializes in American literature and history of the twentieth century, with an emphasis on African American print culture and public humanities. Her research and teaching interests include archival studies, memory and material culture, gender and sexuality, and literary practices of the black freedom struggle. Her current book project, Collecting and Collectivity: Black Archival Publics, 1900-1950, examines the emergence of African American archives and libraries to show how historical recuperation shaped forms of racial imagination in the early twentieth century. Dr. Helton received her B.A. Anthropology, Barnard College; M.A. History, New York University; M.L.I.S. Library & Information Studies, Rutgers University; Ph.D. History, New York University.
Cheryl D. Hicks is an associate professor of Africana Studies and History at the University of Delaware. Her research addresses the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and the law. She specializes in late nineteenth and twentieth-century African American and American history as well as urban, gender, and civil rights history. Hicks is the author of Talk With You Like a Woman: African American Women, Justice, and Reform in New York, 1890-1935 (2010), a book that illuminates the voices and viewpoints of black working-class women, especially southern migrants, who were the subjects of urban and penal reform in early-twentieth-century New York. The book won the 2011 Letitia Woods Brown Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians and honorable mentions from the Organization of American Historians’ Darlene Clark Hine Award and the American Studies Association’s John Hope Franklin Prize. She has published in The Journal of African American History, The University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Journal of the History of Sexuality. Her current project focuses on the shifting meanings of sexuality, criminality, and black civil rights struggles in Gilded Age and Progressive-Era America.
Julie McGee is an art historian with specialties in African American art and contemporary African art, has published widely on contemporary African American art and South African art, with particular focus on artist and museum praxis. She joined the University Museums of the University of Delaware as curator of African American art in 2008 after a dozen years on the faculty of Bowdoin College and a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. McGee has written and lectured extensively on African American art and contemporary art in South Africa. She has curated exhibitions for the David C. Driskell Center, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Maine, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey and Guga S’Thebe Community Arts Centre in Langa (Cape Town), South Africa. With Vuyile C. Voyiya, McGee co-produced the documentary film The Luggage is Still Labeled: Blackness in South African Art. In 2011-2012 she held the Dorothy Kayser Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in Art History at the University of Memphis. McGee has appointments in both the Departments of Art History and Africana Studies.
Professor Ikem S. Okoye specializes in the painting, sculpture, and architecture of West Africa, and their linked spaces and landscapes elsewhere: in the art and architecture of other regions of Africa, including Central Africa and the Nile Valley, as well as in the Caribbean, the American South, Imperial Europe, and Brazil. Especially focused on the period from the mid-eighteenth century on, his interests extend to the colonial and contemporary post-imperial outcomes of these proto-global transactions in the arts. Professor Okoye is Director of the University of Delaware’s African Studies Program. In addition, he holds a joint appointment in the Department of Black American Studies and is affiliated with the Islamic Studies Program. He has served as a board member of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (JSAH), is currently serving on the editorial board of The Art Bulletin, and is Editor of the first-ever electronic journal of African and diaspora art and culture, Ijele (www.ijele.com). A professional architect (UK) trained at the Bartlett School at University College London years before his doctorate in the history and theory of art and architecture from MIT, Okoye puts this ‘first life’ to use as a participant in the Delaware Design Institute (DDI) as well as in an occasional practice with Anubis Architecture.
Yasser Arafat Payne is an Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware. Dr. Payne completed his doctoral work at the Graduate Center-City University of New York where he was trained as a social-personality psychologist. Also, Dr. Payne completed a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIH-NIDA) whereby he worked on a re-entry and intervention based research project in New York City’s largest jail, Rikers Island—a project designed to reduce: (1) recidivism, (2) drug use, and (3) other risky behavior leading to HIV/AIDS.
Tim Spaulding received his B.A. from Fordham University, College at Lincoln Center (1991) and his M.A. (1994) and Ph.D. (1999) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Re-Forming the Past: History, The Fantastic, and The Postmodern Slave Narrative (Ohio State University Press, 2005). He has also written articles on Charles Johnson, Ishmael Reed, James Weldon Johnson, and Ralph Ellison. He is currently at work on a book-length project on African American Literature and the Jazz Aesthetic. Professor Spaulding teaches courses on African American literature, 20th-century Literature, Literary and Cultural Theory and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Africana Studies.
Professor Jennifer Van Horn specializes in the fields of American art and material culture. Her first book, The Power of Objects in Eighteenth-Century British America ranges from engraved city views to portraits to dressing furniture to explore how elite American consumers assembled objects to form a new civil society on the margins of the British Empire. She has also written about early American prostheses (wooden legs and dentures) and women’s embroidery in the new American republic. Her courses encompass eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth-century decorative arts, material culture theory and methodology, museum studies, and the production of historical memory.
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