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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, Advisory Board chair
Associate Professor, Dept. of Political Science, UNC-CH

Anna Abge-Davies
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, UNC-CH

Claire Baker
Assistant Professor, School of Education, UNC-CH

John Bowles
Associate Professor, Department of Art and Art History, UNC-CH

Dana Thompson Dorsey
Assistant Professor, School of Education, UNC-CH

Kennetta Hammond
Assistant Professor, Department of History, Eastern Carolina University

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

Beth Kurtz-Costes
Professor, Department of Psychology, UNC-CH

Joseph Jordan
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
Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in United States History Department of History, University of California – Los Angeles

Terence Oliver
Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, UNC-CH

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

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

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