Welcome to the first Newsletter of African American Studies (AFAM) at Cal State Fullerton. The goal of each issue is to inform readers about activities among students, faculty, and alumni of AFAM.

Students are exposed to the history, politics, culture and contemporary social realities of African-descended people within the United States and globally. They work along side our award-winning faculty to develop skills in writing, critical thinking, and community building, ultimately preparing them for further graduate study and/or a variety of professional opportunities.



Featured Stories

Faculty Spotight - Dr. Tyler D. Parry

Dr. Parry's current work views the process of ritual change in the marriage patterns and practices of diasporic Africans. He analyzes how popular African American wedding traditions, such as "jumping the broom", manifest instances of cultural exchange in the Atlantic world. His work on slave marriage is simultaneously legal, political, intellectual, social, and cultural history.

Another project, co-authored with Charlton Yingling of the University of South Carolina, Dr. Parry examines the usage of dogs against black bodies in multiple slave societies during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. They also use this data to interrogate the legacy of canine units in American history, scrutinizing the role of canines in policing black populations in slavery and freedom.

Watch the C-SPAN Video


Alumni Feature - Dominique Johnson

Alumna of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

“People might think a degree in African American Studies is simply a degree in the study of Black culture. That is not the case, nor is it exclusive to only African Americans.”

“I was majoring in Communications when I started taking the African American studies courses as electives.” Dominique recalls, “I thoroughly enjoyed the thoughtful discussion and space it provided to dialogue, confront, and critically think about issues in our society that have shaped our world view.”

Finally, after several consecutive semesters signing up for courses in African American Studies, she figured she might as well add it as a second major.

Some aspects of the program that Dominique particularly enjoyed, and that she believes have been helpful were the cross-disciplinary collaborations, often with students from other departments, as they are indicative of what her post-grad experience would be like.

Speaking of post-grad – after finishing up at CSUF, Dominique went on to Arizona State University where she earned her Master’s degree in Mass Communication at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. “I am currently working full time traveling both nationally and internationally utilizing my skills as a journalist and researcher, both of which I have to thank CSUF for setting the foundation.” Dominique says.

“People might think a degree in African American Studies is simply a degree in the study of Black culture. That is not the case, nor is it exclusive to only African Americans.” Dominique explains, adding, “To everyone whether African American or not, it provides the opportunity to deepen your understanding, to question and confront your perceptions and beliefs about what you think you know.”

Dr. Natalie Graham Wins Cave Canem Poetry Prize

We are pleased to share the news that NER poet and assistant professor of African American Studies Dr. Natalie Graham has won the 2016 Cave Canem poetry prize for her manuscript “Begin with a Failed Body.” The Cave Canem poetry prize is given by the Cave Canem foundation, “a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.”

Read More about Graham!


Dr. Siobhan King-Brooks: CSUF expert explains why the Black Lives Matter is different from past black civil rights movements

California State University Fullerton assistant professor of African Studies Siobhan Brooks was the keynote speaker at the League of Women Voters Orange Coast luncheon in Costa Mesa. Her topic was "Black Lives Matter."

The Black Lives Matter movement has introduced an inclusive and intersectional approach that was rarely before seen in African American social and political movements, says Siobhan Brooks, CSUF assistant professor of African American studies.

Read More about King-Brooks!


Dr. Stan L. Breckenridge - Distinguished Chair Fulbright Scholar, and Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassador

Stan Breckenridge served as a Fulbright Scholar to Poland for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years. In 2016 Dr. Breckenridge was nominated and appointed as a Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassador. Fulbright Ambassadors serve as official representatives of the Fulbright Scholar program throughout the United States at the events for which they are selected.



Black LGBT Lives Matter

The Black LGBT Activism Symposium will bring together queer scholars, activists, and artists, to explore the lives of LGBT Black and Latinx people in the age of Black Lives Matter. Topics will include Black Lives Matter activism, Black LGBT hip-hop artist, and transgender activism. The event is organized by Dr. Siobhan King-Brooks, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, and is sponsored by The College of Humanities of Social Sciences as well as support by the department of African American Studies.


Ethnic Studies Research Published, Presented by Dr. Siobhan King-Brooks

Staying in the Hood: Black Lesbian and Transgender Women and Identity Management in North Philadelphia

The concept Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell regarding Black LGBT sexuality in Black communities has been an acceptable form of identity management for Black LGBT people. In other words, Black LGBT people are accepted as long as they are not vocal about their sexuality.

Read More about Staying in the Hood!


CSUF Student Field Trip

Queen of Katwe

On September 19, 2016 Cal State Fullerton students enrolled in various courses in african American Studies, attended the pre-screening of the film Queen of Katwe that was held at the AMC Century City 15 Theater in Westfield Century City, Los Angeles. As a special bonus students were involved in a Q&A with the three featured actors and the director of the film.


Ethnic Studies Research Published, Presented by Dr. Tyler D. Parry and Dr. Charlton Yingling

The Canine Terror

On the day that Michael Brown died in August 2014, a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri guided the dog he handled to urinate on a makeshift memorial at the site where his colleagues had shot Brown hours before. The related outrage and demonstrations against police treatment in that community captured international attention.

Read More on Canine Terror!


African American Studies Contact Information

Dr. Stan L. Breckenridge, Co-chair: (657) 278-8591
Dr. Natalie Graham, AFAM Adviser: (657) 278-2791

Faculty Group Photo by Cindy Rouze