UH Experts Available to Discuss Black History Month

HOUSTON, Feb. 3, 2014 – In recognition of Black History Month, experts at the University of Houston are available to discuss a range of topics, from African-American spiritual leaders to the history of civil rights. If you are unable to reach a professor, please call 713-743-8153.

Demetrius Pearson is an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance. His most recent research focuses on African-American involvement in sport, including North American rodeo, as well as their depiction in contemporary sport films. He maintains a repository listing of American sport films from 1930 to 2013. His area of expertise focuses on competitive sport forms and fitness administration, as well as the sociocultural and historical aspects of organized sport. Reach him at 713-743-9849 or dpearson@uh.edu

Janis F. Hutchinson, professor of anthropology, researches minority health issues in African-Americans. As a medical anthropologist, her research interests include condom use, HIV/AIDS, racism and health, and health issues among people of color. She is currently examining family talk about hypertension and diabetes among African-Americans in Houston. Hutchinson can be reached at jhutchinson@uh.edu

Shayne Lee, associate professor of sociology, is a noted interpreter of contemporary American religion and culture. He is the author of three books, including, “T.D. Jakes: America’s New Preacher,” which analyzes the rise of the prominent African-American spiritual leaders as a microcosm of cultural changes in contemporary American religion. His next project is a sociological analysis of Tyler Perry's movies. Reach him at 832-640-0170 or slee3@uh.edu

Keith McNeal, assistant professor of anthropology, specializes in cultural anthropology and comparative religions with a focus on Caribbean ethnology and Atlantic history. His first book is a comparative study of the history and anthropology of African and Hindu religions in Trinidad and Tobago, where he has been conducting research for 17 years. He recently completed a project reconstructing the history and politics of Indo-Trinidadian mortuary ritual, materials from which he will produce his first photographic exhibition. Reach him at 832-291-9593 or keith.e.mcneal@gmail.com

Gerald Horne holds the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of History and African American Studies. His research has addressed issues of racism in a variety of relations involving labor, politics, civil rights, international relations and war. Horne is the author of more than 30 books and 100 scholarly articles and reviews. His current research focuses on a variety of topics, such as the ties between black America and Cuba. Horne may be reached at ghorne@uh.edu

Linda Reed
, associate professor of history, is a noted scholar in African-American history with a particular interest in women and the South. For the past two years she has been the director of Graduate Studies in the Department of History at UH, and she also served for nine years as the director of the UH African American Studies Program and was the national director of the Association for Black Women Historians. Her works include an award-winning book concentrating on the forgotten years of the civil rights, “Simple Decency and Common Sense: The Southern Conference Movement, 1938 – 1963.” She is currently completing a book on Fannie Lou Hamer, the influential Mississippi civil rights activist, whose oratory skills are comparable to those of Martin Luther King, Jr. Reach her at 713-743-3092 or lreed@uh.edu 

W. Lawrence Hogue, the John and Rebecca Moores Distinguished Professor of English, is the author of five books including, “Postmodernism, Traditional Cultural Forms and African American Narratives,” which focuses on how contemporary African-American writers use cultural forms, such as the blues, jazz, voodoo and other traditional and cultural art forms to reconfigure African-American subjectivities.  He can be reached at 713-743-2950 or at whogue@uh.edu

Imani Masters Goffney, assistant professor of mathematics education in the department of curriculum and instruction, UH College of Education, teaches mathematics methods courses for elementary and middle school teachers and graduate courses focusing on issues of equity, social justice and diversity in mathematics education. Her current research investigates the role that particular teaching practices have on providing access to culturally and linguistically diverse students as a strategy for addressing the gaps in achievement, especially in mathematics performance. Reach her at 713-743-2572 or idgoffney@uh.edu

Richard M. Mizelle, Jr. 
is an assistant professor of history. His research explores the historical borders of race, environment, technology and health in modern America. His forthcoming book, "Backwater Blues: The 1927 Mississippi River Flood and the African American Imagination" offers a critique of long-standing ideas of black environmental complacency by showing the ways in which black commentators from W.E.B. Du Bois to Bessie Smith provided an ecological intellectual criticism of the disaster. His most recent research examines the long and complex history of race and diabetes from the turn of the 19th century through Hurricane Katrina. Reach him at 713-743-0130 or rmmizelle@uh.edu

Laveria F. Hutchison is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the UH College of Education. She teaches literacy education courses that focus on developing skills to enhance critical thinking for middle and secondary level learners. Her work includes the design of instructional practices for English-language learners. In addition, she conducts research that responds to the critical shortage of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-education teachers. Her STEM-education research and projects have led to invitations to address the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus, an audience of National Science Foundation researchers and various professional conferences. Reach her at 713-743-4950 or lhutchison@uh.edu 

Nancy Beck Young, professor of history and chair of the department, is a scholar of modern American politics. Her research questions how political institutions have shaped the lives of average people through public policy. Much of her work involves the study of Congress, the presidency and first ladies.  She has researched the white, southern politics of prejudice during World War II. She helps explain why there was no significant civil rights reform legislation until the 1960s. She is now writing a book on the 1964 presidential election that foregrounds passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a key factor in that contest. Reach her at nyoung@central.uh.edu or by cell phone at 832-454-2443. 

Tyrone Tillery, associate professor in the Department of History, is a scholar of U.S. history who specializes in African-American and civil rights history. Tillery was the executive director of the NAACP, Detroit branch, and is currently researching the history of race and intergroup relations in Detroit from 1943 to 1968. Tillery’s book, “Claude McKay: A Black Poet’s Struggle for Identity,” received book of note recognition from The New York Times. Tillery can be reached at (713) 743-3097 or ttillery@mail.uh.edu

Norma Olvera, professor of health education in the UH College of Education and director of the BOUNCE (Behavior Opportunities Uniting Nutrition Counseling and Exercise) program, is an expert on the obesity epidemic affecting African-American children and their families. She designs interventions to prevent and treat obesity. Her award-winning BOUNCE healthy lifestyle programs are nationally recognized as effective obesity treatments. Reach her at 832-842-5925 or nolvera@uh.edu

Kenneth Brown, professor of anthropology, specializes in African-American archeology, history and oral history. He directs archaeological research in Texas at a cotton and sugar plantation owned by Levi Jordan, who arrived to the plantation with 12 slaves in 1848. Of particular interest to Brown were objects that reflected the tenants’ West African heritage, an “amula” – a kettle placed in another kettle, both are wrapped in a chain and “crossroad deposits” (crosses etched on brick or stone) under the site of a curer’s cabin and a former church on the site. He said that in West African culture, a cross represents African and African-American adaptation of the traditional beliefs, with Christianity as it was "taught" to them. He has found these types of deposits and symbols on four different plantations in South Carolina, Georgia and central Louisiana and Texas. Brown may be reached at (cell) 281-650-3131 or klbrown@uh.edu


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