African American Children, Academic Achievement & Parental Involvement

Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka,  Buffett Early Child Institute, University Nebraska; Keith Robinson, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Population Research Center, University of Texas Austin

Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka, Director of Research and Evaluation at the Buffett Early Child Institute at the University Nebraska discusses the role of parental participation in the academic success of African American children in her talk “Pathway to Excellence for Black Children?: Critical Examination of Family Engagement.” Her presentation was followed by Dr. Keith Robinson, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas-Austin, who presented his current research findings on: “Parental Involvement in Children’s Schooling: What Works and What Doesn’t”.

Racism & Mental Health: A Study of African American College Students During the Transition to Young Adulthood

Dr. Enrique Neblett, Associate Professor of Psychology, IAAR Faculty Fellow, UNC-CH

Dr. Enrique Neblett, Associate Professor of Psychology at UNC-CH and a 2014-15 IAAR Faculty Fellow presents his ongoing research on mental health outcomes for young adult African American college students who experience racism. While a fellow at IAAR Dr. Neblett is developing a research grant to pursue further work on this study.

Structures of Ferguson: Race, History, and Mobilization

Featured Panelists Frank Baumgartner (UNC, Political Science), Mai Nguyen (UNC, City and Regional Planning), Donna Marie Winn (Frank Porter Graham Child Dev Inst), Blair Kelley (NCSU, Dept of History), and Ted Shaw (UNC, School of Law, Ctr for Civil Rights)

The recent killing of the young African American male, Mike Brown, and related events in Ferguson, Missouri were at the center of a September 8th panel discussion co-hosted by the IAAR and the Center for Urban and Regional Studies. Charged with examining underlying factors that gave rise to the situation in Ferguson, an interdisciplinary panel of Triangle scholars highlighted the persistence of race, racialization and racial discrimination in American structures and sensibilities. Referencing Gunnar Myrdal’s famous tome, panelist Ted Shaw (UNC Professor of Law and director of the Center for Civil Rights), proclaimed: “Race is the great American Dilemma.” Some also saw resonance with racial profiling and police engagement with racial and ethnic minorities in North Carolina. The event drew in a crowd of over 100 students, faculty and staff, who dialogued with the panel about possibilities for social change and lessons to be drawn from Ferguson.  Featured Panelists were Frank Baumgartner (UNC, Political Science), Mai Nguyen (UNC, City and Regional Planning), Donna Marie Winn (Frank Porter Graham Child Dev Inst), Blair Kelley (NCSU, Dept of History), and Ted Shaw (UNC, School of Law, Ctr for Civil Rights).

IAAR Faculty Fellows Announced

The Institute of African American Research is pleased to announce the two recipients of the first–ever IAAR Faculty Fellowship: Enrique Neblett and Alvaro Reyes. Both are UNC faculty members. They will be fellows with the IAAR for the academic year 2014-2015, during which time they will work on developing or completing their individual research projects.

Enrique Neblett, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, will be a tenured associate professor of psychology by Fall 2014. On faculty at UNC since 2008, his research includes attention to racism-related stress, well-being and health status among African American youth. While at the IAAR he will conduct a longitudinal pilot study investigating the psychological well-being during early adulthood in two cohorts of African American college freshmen. Neblett will also work on writing a research grant to support a study on racial identity and racial discrimination among emerging adults.

Alvaro Reyes has been an assistant professor since 2011 in the Department of Geography. He received his Ph.D. from Duke University. His research interests concern Political Geography, Black Geographies, Racialization and Socio-Territorial Movements in the Americas, Decolonization, and Critical Theory. As IAAR Faculty Fellow, he will work on completing his book manuscript, which relies on an analysis of 20th century Black and indigenous movements and thinkers to explore the causal relation between decolonization and what is understood today as “globalization.”

Both fellows will give a public talk about the projects that they are pursuing during their tenure at the IAAR. The dates for these talks will be announced in late summer 2014.

IAAR Holds Opening Event

On August 29th, close to 70 people gathered in UNC’s Wilson Library’s Pleasants Family Assembly room for the IAAR’s symposium, Voting Rights, Racial Justice, and Moral Mondays: Examining Civil Rights in the 21st Century, to launch the Institute for the new academic year and under its new director, Professor Karla Slocum. Read More »

Andrews, Crayton and Unah Speak at IAAR Opening Event


The IAAR is pleased to have three UNC faculty speak at its opening event, Voting Rights, Racial Justice and Moral Mondays: Examining Civil Rights in the 21st Century. Professors Kareem Crayton, Isaac Unah, and Kenneth (Andy) Andrews will examine recent national rulings and state legislative changes in the context of civil rights concerns past and present. Focus will be specifically on developments regarding the Voting Rights Act, the Racial Justice Act, and the Moral Monday protests placed in the context of the Civil Rights Movement. Information on these three accomplished professors can be found below.

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The IAAR has a new director

Dr. Karla Slocum

Dr. Karla Slocum

Karla Slocum, an associate professor of anthropology at Carolina, has been appointed director of the Institute of African American Research (IAAR), effective July 1. Slocum’s research focuses on globalization, place, rural life ways, and race and history as they relate to groups within the African Diaspora.

“Her strong record of scholarship, long-standing relationship with the IAAR and its Moore Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program, as well as her commitment to forging interdisciplinary connections and broad familiarity with African Diaspora studies all position her well to provide sound and energetic leadership for the institute,” said Carol Tresolini, vice provost for academic initiatives.

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