Visiting Scholar Program

The Visiting Scholar Program provides an unpaid short-term residency opportunity for academic researchers who are based at other institutions and wish to make use of the IAAR and UNC’s resources toward the support of their research projects. Visiting Scholars must be working on projects that support the IAAR mission to cultivate engagement with critical questions and innovative and timely studies about people of African descent. Scholars may be in residence at the IAAR for anywhere from one week to one academic year. The length of a scholar’s visit is determined by the IAAR director on a case-by-case basis, and is contingent upon the scholar’s needs as well as IAAR’s available resources.

Visiting Scholars will receive certain benefits. They will have the opportunity to attend IAAR events and network among a community of scholars engaged in research concerning African Americans and the broader African diaspora. Where possible, they may have access to IAAR office resources such as staff support, office space, computers, copiers, printers, and telephones. As UNC visiting affiliates, they also will receive full privileges at campus libraries. (Fees may apply for access to libraries and application procedures for receiving UNC affiliation.)

The IAAR Director or Events and Programs Coordinator will assist the Visiting Scholar in making connections with on and off-campus resources in support of the scholar’s research.

During their visit, Visiting Scholars are expected to give a presentation about their research. They are also encouraged to attend IAAR events, when possible.

Click here to apply to be a Visiting Scholar at IAAR.

Past Visiting Scholars

Kamela Heyward-Rotimi

Kamela Heyward-Rotimi is a public anthropologist and research scholar specializing in research projects that explore the appropriation of, and access to technology, and the production of digital knowledge by groups of the African diaspora.  Her work bridges both public and academic spheres and reflects her commitment to actualizing ‘theory into practice.’  Heyward-Rotimi earned her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  She is currently conducting research to understand current challenges around limited access to eLibraries and digital repositories at diasporic universities.   This research will ultimately inform the development of an open source digital repository and publishing platform and open access educational program that will support the bidirectional exchange of scholarship for African descended scholars.  Dr. Heyward-Rotimi is the Founder and Executive Director of the Knowledge Exchange Research Group (KERG), an international research group that studies the construction of digital knowledge and inequitable access to digitized knowledge among African descended communities and other racialized groups.   Awarded the international Public Anthropology Book award, she is completing a manuscript that looks at the impact of Nigerian youths’ appropriation of technology to carry out the online extralegal activity of 419 advanced fee fraud online scams on the Nigerian national identity.


Meredith D.Clark


Meredith D. Clark is a 2014 graduate of the School of Media & Journalism at the Universof North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research on Black Twitter won the Association of Education in Journalism & Mass Communication’s Dissertation of the Year Award in 2015. Her research has been cited in domestic and international publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Le Monde. Dr. Clark is an assistant professor of digital and print news in the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, and is currently working on a book about Black Twitter.


Melissa Stuckey


Melissa Stuckey is an independent historian specializing in African American social and political history and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of African American Research (IAAR) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Stuckey has a Ph.D. in history from Yale University and is currently completing a monograph, entitled “All Men Up”: Race, Rights, and Power in the All-Black Town of Boley, Oklahoma, 1903-1939, about the early twentieth century black freedom struggle that took place in Oklahoma’s black towns. Dr. Stuckey is the senior historical consultant for the Coltrane Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to historic preservation and economic development in Oklahoma’s surviving historic black towns. She currently resides in rural South Carolina where she also volunteers at the Sumter County Museum in preparation for a second project on the circularity of African American migration patterns between the South and the North from the Great Migration Era through today.


Hana Brown


Hana E. Brown is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Wake Forest University. She completed her undergraduate degree at Bryn Mawr College (2001) and her M.A (2006) and Ph.D. (2011) at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Brown’s work examines the relationship between politics, the state, and social inequality. Using an array of methodological approaches, her research analyzes the effects of political actors and institutions on racial inequality, the effects of immigration and racial divisions on policy outcomes, and the micro-level effects of state actions on the lives of racial minorities and immigrants. Her research has been published in such outlets as American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, and Social Problems.


Folashadé Alao


Dr. Folashadé Alao was in residence at IAAR for three weeks in spring 2014. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Emory University and, at the time of her visit, was an Assistant Professor in the Departments of English and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. Currently, she is Associate Director of Undergraduate Research at Emory University. An alumna of UNC’s Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program, Professor Alao was also a Dissertation Fellow at Middlebury College. She is a recipient of an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. Alao’s research interests include: twentieth-Century African American literature, black migration, cultural geography, African Diaspora literature, global black feminisms. As an IAAR visiting scholar, Professor Alao worked on her book manuscript, “I Hear Echoes Still:” Spatial Literacy, Landscapes, and Contemporary Black Women’s Texts. The book examines a community of 1970s-1990s’ literary and visual black women artists, including Alice Childress, Julie Dash, Nikky Finney and Paule Marshall, whose literary and artistic work on the south demonstrates “spatial literacy,” a new critical paradigm for accessing and interpreting African diasporic memory and history. She also completed a journal article “Will You Come and Follow Me?”: Walking Literacy and Paule Marshall’s Praisesong for the Widow published in Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International.

Lolita Brockington

Dr. Lolita Gutierrez Brockington was an IAAR Visiting Scholar in 2013-2014. From 2003-2012 she was an IAAR Senior Scholar. Professor Brockington holds a Ph.D. in history from UNC-Chapel Hill and has held visiting professor positions at North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill and Emory University. She retired as Associate Professor Emerita, from North Carolina Central University’s Department of History in 2002. Brockington is the author of Blacks, Indians and Spaniards in the Eastern Andes, 1550-1782. (University of Nebraska, 2006; Spanish ed. 2009) and also a book on African Mexican cowboys, The Leverage of Labor: Managing the Cortes Estates in Tehuantepec, 1588-1688 (Duke University, 1989). She has also published several articles in U.S. and Latin American professional journals, research handbooks, and encyclopedias. Her current research includes examining early modern documents in Spanish archives to explore the Spanish origins of racism in the Americas. Currently, Professor Brockington continues her research while residing in Arizona.