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The IAAR was conceived in the early 1990s by UNC faculty who believed that it was important to have a free-standing building and center devoted to researching “black life and history.” Out of their efforts the Institute of African American Research was established in 1995 as a research unit to “foster scholarly inquiry about the experiences of black people” in North Carolina particularly but anywhere else in the US and the world. In 1995, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson became IAAR’s first director. Subsequent permanent directors have been Drs. Gerald Horne, William A. Darity, Jr. and Fatimah Jackson. In 2002, the Moore Undergraduate Program became a program housed in the IAAR. During its time in the IAAR, past directors of MURAP have been Drs. Karolyn Tyson and Karla Slocum.

Over the years, the IAAR has generated, supported and profiled research on black Americans and people of African descent especially in humanities, arts, social sciences and medical sciences. More than 200 faculty have participated in IAAR events and activities, and the IAAR has collaborated or co-sponsored events with more than 10 centers and departments at UNC and other local institutions. In its effort to support and profile research, the IAAR has provided faculty with small research grants, housing and supporting visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellows, sponsoring working groups, organized a consortium of scholars of African American studies in the North Carolina “Triangle” area and holding conferences and symposia on such themes as youth and race, race and genetics, African American history of struggle in the south, black experiences across the African diaspora, and race, history and literary approaches to the U.S. south. The IAAR and its affiliate programs have received grants from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, NC Humanities Council, Z. Smith Reynolds, and the African American Success Foundation.


Karla Slocum, Director

Karla Slocum became director of the IAAR in July 2013. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Florida and is associate professor of anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she has been on the faculty since 2001. Slocum specializes in studies of globalization, place, race and history. Her major independent research projects, for which she has received awards from Fulbright, the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, have focused on Afro- an Indo-Caribbean farmers’ responses to global economic change and the salience of race and history to the contemporary identities of America’s All Black Towns. She has also collaborated in a study to examine the trends within Caribbean Studies. Slocum is past co-director of the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP).

Rosa Perelmuter, Director, MURAP

Elisa Quarles, Program and Research Assistant

Marissa Garcia, MURAP Program Coordinator

Shelby Dawkins-Law, MURAP Conference Coordinator

Kanisha Coleman, MURAP Alumni Coordinator

Advisory Board

Isaac Unah, Ph.D., Board chair
Associate Professor, Dept of Political Science, UNC-CH

Barbara Fedders, J.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Law, UNC-CH

Henry T. Frierson, Ph.D.
Dean of the Graduate School, University of Florida

Valerie Johnson, Ph.D.
Mott Distinguished Professor of Women’s Studies, Bennett College

Beth Kurtz-Costes, Ph.D.
Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dept of Psychology, UNC-CH

Joseph Jordan, Ph.D.
Director, Sonya Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and history; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dept of African, African American and African Diaspora Studies

Robin D.G. Kelley, Ph.D.
Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in United States History Department of History. University of California – Los Angeles

Malinda Maynor Lowery, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of History, Director, Southern Oral History Program UNC-CH

Patricia Parker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Dept of Communication Studies; Director of Diversity Initiatives, UNC-CH

Laurence Ralph, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Depts of Anthropology and African and African American Studies, Harvard University

William M. Rohe, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Urban and Regional Studies; Boshamer Distinguished Professor, Dept of City and Regional Planning, UNC-CH

Malika Roman-Isler, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor, School of Social Medicine, UNC-CH

Eunice Sahle, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair, Dept of African, African American and African Diaspora Studies, UNC-CH

Brendan Jamal Thornton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Dept of Religious Studies, UNC-CH

Anissa Vines, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor, Dept of Epidemiology, UNC-CH