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Moravian College
Africana Studies

Faculty

Africana Studies Advisory Committee

Akbar Keshodkar, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Program Director
G. Christopher Hunt, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Intercultural Advancement & Global Inclusion 
Sandra Aguilar, Assistant Professor of History
Carol Moeller, Associate Professor of Philosophy
Joyce Hinnefeld, Professor of English and Department Chair
Jane Berger, Assistant Professor of History

Faculty Profiles

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Akbar Keshodkar | Assistant Professor of Anthropology; Program Director

Office location: PPHAC 311
Office phone: 610-861-1685
Email: keshodkara@moravian.edu

Education
Ph.D., Oxford University
M.Sc., Oxford University
B.A., Oberlin College

Research interests and expertise
Anthropology, African Studies, western Indian Ocean Societies. My research interests lie in examining the impact of socio-economic processes associated with globalization and modernization on formulations of Muslim identities and heritage in sub-Saharan Africa and western Indian Ocean societies. I am currently working on two projects – one focused on exploring questions of cosmopolitanism across the Indian Ocean and the other analyzing the relationship between tourism, development and cultural change in Dubai, UAE.

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Sandra Aguilar | Assistant Professor of History

Office location: Comenius Hall 302
Office phone: 610-625-7957
Email: aguilars@moravian.edu

Education
Ph.D., University of Manchester

Research interests and expertise
Nineteenth- and Twentieth-century Latin America, particularly Mexico. I am currently working on a book manuscript entitled “Cooking Modernity: Food, Gender, and Class in Mid-Twentieth Century Mexico.” This work situates women, the kitchen, and food at the forefront of the modernization process by examining women’s agency at home and the failure of nutrition programs in Mexico.

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Jane Berger | Assistant Professor of History

Office location: Comenius Hall 308
Office phone: 610-861-1402
Email: bergerj@moravian.edu

Education
Ph.D., The Ohio State University

Research interests and expertise
Modern U.S. history. Topics of my courses include politics and protest, race and citizenship, women’s history, and recent U.S. history. I am currently working on a book on the historical causes of late-twentieth-century urban poverty in the United States.

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Robert LaRue | Assistant Professor of English

Office location: Zinzendorf 302
Office phone: 
Email: laruer@moravian.edu

Education
B.A., M.A., and Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington

Research interests and expertise
Queer studies; Gay and Lesbian literature; Postcolonial studies; Multi-ethnic Literature of the US; mid- and late-twentieth and twenty-first-century African-American literature, culture, and theory; Literature of the African Diaspora; World literature 

Dr. LaRue teaches courses in contemporary multi-ethnic queer culture, sexuality studies, and global literatures—with a particular interest in global African experiences. He has also taught courses on perceptions of success, on the notion of authority, on celebrity culture, and on film as social commentary. His courses seek to inspire reconsiderations of those things that have become so commonplace that they escape recognition. In regards to his teaching, Dr. LaRue writes that “when it comes to teaching texts, whether it is a novel, a film, or a music video, I try to help students see beyond the text itself. I believe that each text contains its own lessons about life and society if only we look closely enough. To this end, rather than provide students with the correct answers, I try to inspire students to see the multitude of possible answers available and help them come to the answers that most accurately reflect their own ideas.”

At the core of his teaching philosophy, which is guided by his research interests, rests a deep investment in questions of difference. It is this investment indifference that has led to his most recent writing projects on Martin Luther King, Jr., the television show Empire, and Tyler Perry’s filmic adaptation, For Colored Girls.

Currently, Dr. LaRue is working on a book project which interrogates the relationship between U.S. and European notions of queerness, and queerness as it is lived and experienced in postcolonial nations. Rather than working to locate postcolonial queerness as either a colonial import or a continuation of an “authentic” African culture, the book works to situate postcolonial queerness in its present-day context. Focusing on contemporary sub-Saharan African writings that directly address the presence of queerness in the region, the book questions the effectiveness of applying the politically-oriented brand of queerness claimed by U.S. and European scholars and queer activists to postcolonial experiences of queerness, while exploring articulations of African queerness as expressed by queer African voices.

 

Robert Mayer

Robert Mayer | Emeritus Professor of Education

Email: mayerr02@moravian.edu
Phone: 610-861-1452
Office: PPHAC, Room 328

Education
Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, Pennsylvania State University
M.A. in History, Xavier University
B.S. (Social Studies Comprehensive), University of Cincinnati

Areas of Research and/or Expertise

Secondary education. Teaching young people how to think historically.

 

Before teaching at Moravian, Dr. Mayer taught social studies for twelve years at Lewisburg High School in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Currently, he coordinates the secondary education program. In addition, Dr. Mayer teaches courses on multicultural and philosophical foundations of education as well as courses on reflective approaches to teaching for all secondary teachers and for social studies teachers. Dr. Mayer spends his springs in schools supervising student teachers. He also teaches a variety of courses in the Colleges M.Ed. program.

Beyond teaching, Dr. Mayer has published two books for young people, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Greenhaven Press), a book he edited, and When the Children Marched: The Birmingham Civil Rights Movement (Enslow Publishers). Both won the Carter G. Woodson Award from the National Council for the Social Studies. He has also written for Cobblestone, a magazine of history. His primary research interest is in the area of teaching history. Dr. Mayer has published articles about teaching history in The Social Studies, Social Education, and the Magazine of History and more general articles on teaching in Teaching Education and Teacher Education Quarterly.

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Carol J. Moeller | Associate Professor of Philosophy

Office location: Comenius 110
Office phone: 610-861-7881
Email:  moellerc@moravian.edu

Education
M.A. & Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
B.A., Oberlin College

Research interests and expertise
Ethics, Philosophy of Gender, Race, and Disabilities, and Cultural Studies

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Joel Nathan Rosen | Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology; Program Director, Communication and Media Studies

Office location: Benigna Hall, Room 215
Office phone: 610-625-7814
Email: rosenj@moravian.edu
Personal website: www.joelnathanrosen.org

Research interests and expertise
Media in Culture; American Popular Music (especially the blues and its related genres); Sport; Celebrity and Reputation; Moral Panics in the Media; American and African-American Culture; and the American South

Joel Nathan Rosen (Associate Professor of Sociology) is Program Director in Communications and Media Studies at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His research is premised on the relationship between human activity and human efficacy as portrayed in media and as demonstrated through such cultural idioms as sport, music, comedy, and other areas that intersect celebrity. He is the author of The Erosion of the American Sporting Ethos: Shifting Attitudes toward Competition (McFarland) and From New Lanark to Mound Bayou: Owenism in the Mississippi Delta (Carolina Academic Press), is coeditor of and a contributor to a multi-volume series that explores the relationship between sport and celebrity (University Press of Mississippi), and has been published in such varied journals and anthologies as The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, 2009-2010, The Sociology of Sport Journal, The Journal of Mundane Behavior, NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, The Journal of Sport History, and Media History Monographs.

 

Belinda Waller-Peterson | Assistant Professor of English

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Office location: Zinzendorf 303
Office phone:
Email: waller-petersonb@moravian.edu

Education
Ph.D., Lehigh University
M.A., Bucknell University
B.S., Widener University

Research interests and expertise
African American literature and culture; Black Feminist and Womanist theory; Health Humanities

Dr. Waller-Peterson teaches courses in African American literature and culture, Black Feminist and Womanist theory, and the Health Humanities. She specializes in women’s health issues, maternity and illness narratives. She is also a licensed Registered Nurse in the state of Pennsylvania. Her nursing experience and English literature background allow her to explore multiple intersecting areas of study including the medical humanities, women, gender, and sexuality, and Africana studies. She is an active member of the African-American Literature and Culture Society.

She has published articles and presented conferences papers on womb imagery in Black Women’s literature, nuances of black love in media, and gothic imagery in Toni Morrison’s Paradise. Dr. Waller-Peterson’s articles include: “The Communal Womb in Haile Gerima’s Sankofa.” James Braxton Peterson, Ed. In Media Res (2014), and “The Communal Womb Motif in Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place.” Katherine Bankole-Medina, Lewis-Mhoon, Abena, and Yarbough, Stephanie, Eds. Africalogical Perspectives: Historical and Contemporary Analysis of Race and Africana Studies (2014). Her upcoming article is entitled “The Convent as Coven: Gothic Implications of Women-Centered Healing in Toni Morrison’s Paradise.” She has presented at the American Literature Association Conference, National Women’s Studies Association Conference, The Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference, and others.

 

For Dr. Waller-Peterson, learning is the dynamic exchange of ideas and questions that lead to intellectual growth. She is particularly concerned with helping students begin the process of asking larger questions about the literature we engage in order to cultivate meaningful and informed opinions as well as the language to discuss their positions. She says, “While I encourage students to pose questions, I also underscore the process of critical thinking in order to arrive at an unusual answer or an unresolved conclusion.” Her classroom is a site of empowerment and transformation for students where they can discover the significance of their own voices and those of their peers.

 

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Martha Kearns | Adjunct Professor, Art History

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Email: marthamkearns@gmail.com

Courses taught:
African Art, Modern Art, Art History Survey: Caves to Cathedrals

Martha Kearns has been a member of the Moravian College art history faculty since 2003. She is also an author, playwright, and former Co-Founding and Executive Director of a non-profit community arts organization serving the inner-city neighborhood of Frankford, Philadelphia. She is the author of Kaethe Kollwitz: Woman and Artist (1976, 1977, and 1991) and art historical and critical reviews published in Sculpture Magazine, Connoisseur, New Art Examiner, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has also taught at Lehigh University, Tyler School of Art/Temple University, and University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Academic and other awards include Fulbright, Antioch University Research Fellowship to Rome, Independent Video Purchase Prize by WHYY-PBS TV 12, Citation for Citizenship, City of Philadelphia, Playwright Fellowship, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Business and Arts Partnership Award by the Arts and Business Council of Philadelphia, Blue Mountain Artists' Colony, and First Prize, New Works of Merit Playwriting Contest.

Sculpture Magazine article, 1999, Elizabeth Catlett: The Spirit of Form
Review of the first retrospective of the sculpture of Elizabeth Catlett, recipient of The International Sculpture Society's Lifetime Achievement Award sculpture.org/documents/scmag99/march99/catlett/catlett.shtml