Chamara Kwakye

chamara@msu.edu

FacultyAfrican American and African Studies

Academic Specialist – Advising
African American and African Studies

Biography

Scholar, Writer, and Performer, Chamara Jewel Kwakye is an Academic Specialist in the Department of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University. Daughter of the African diaspora, Dr. Kwakye was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. With matrilineage from Crossett, Arkansas and patrilineage from Akropong, Ghana she attributes the richness of both Southern Black culture and West African culture to her dynamic interests, her outlook on community and solidarity, her approach to art and creativity and in part her success.  She holds a Masters in Post-Secondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California and a PhD in Education Policy Studies with a concentration in African American Studies and a graduate certificate in Gender & Women’s Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.   

Her research interest is guided by Black Feminism and centers the voices of Black Girls and Women and their artistic and creative response to White Supremacy. She has published poems, starred in performances, written articles, co-edited a book and served in various artistic capacities that highlight her investment in artistic creativity as a tool in fighting oppression. She believes Black girls and women survival and wellness should be central in organizing against structural oppression.  

As an interdisciplinary scholar and instructor Dr. Kwakye has taught various courses that interweave a number of fields including African American and African Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Education Policy Studies and History. In AAAS she is excited to teach introductory and exploratory courses as she finds that’s where students are not only introduced to new ideas, readings and material but is also where students’ new intellectual passions are sparked.  

Prior to joining AAAS at MSU, Dr. Kwakye served as The Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois in the Department of African American Studies and as faculty at the University of Kentucky and Georgia State University. In her role as Academic Specialist in AAAS at MSU Dr. Kwakye’s goal is to serve AAAS students in a way that affirms their agency, that inspires them to develop and take seriously their intellectual curiosities, and model how their intellectual curiosities should be in service to the collective. Ultimately, she wants the students she serves to be whole, recognize their talent and their divine gifts and to leave MSU with a curious mind and their spirits intact. 

Publications

Chamara Jewel Kwakye, Dominique C. Hill, Durell M. Callier; 10 Years of Black Girlhood Celebration: A Pedagogy of Doing. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 1 September 2017; 6 (3): 1–10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/dcqr.2017.6.3.1

Brown, Ruth Nicole, and Chamara Jewel Kwakye. 2012. Wish to Live: The Hip-hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader.

University News

Growing an Innovative Curriculum: New and Updated AAAS Courses for Fall
Published August 17, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
Four pictures of AAAS faculty.
Michigan State University’s Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) continues its upward trajectory with the addition of five new or revised courses for the Fall 2022…Read now »
Sonic Introductions Reflect Love of Self, Community, and AAAS
Published February 4, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
The Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) faculty wish to motivate and inspire others by sharing, through personally created Sonic Introductions, what inspires them in their work…Read now »
AAAS Department to Offer Several New Classes in Spring 2022
Published December 1, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
Six portraits of AAAS faculty members.
The Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) is offering several new or revised undergraduate courses during the Spring 2022 semester that each, in their own way, highlight and…Read now »
Scholar-Educator, Writer, and Performer Joins AAAS as an Academic Specialist
Published November 1, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
Among the first generation on her mother’s side born outside the Jim Crow South and the first generation on her father’s side born outside Ghana, West Africa, Dr. Chamara Jewel Kwakye’s…Read now »