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2016-2017 Fellows

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Amira Rose Davis, Ph.D.

Amira Rose Davis, Ph.D.

 

History

Johns Hopkins University, 2016

Email:  ard51@psu.edu

Amira Rose Davis is a 20th century U.S. historian with a particular interest in race, gender, sports and politics. She is currently working on her first book manuscript entitled, “Can’t Eat a Medal”: The Lives and Labors of Black Women Athletes in the Age of Jim Crow which traces the long history of Black women’s athletic labor and symbolic representation in the United States. Using black newspapers and magazines, advertisements, institutional records of black colleges and social organizations, yearbooks, scorecards, Olympic reports, personal and family correspondence, and oral histories, her work demonstrates the ways in which black women’s athletics impacted negotiations of modern and respectable black womanhood, concepts of racial destiny and struggles for civil rights. While highlighting women who used athletics to gain social mobility or assert new notions of black womanhood, this project ultimately argues that black institutions, sporting organizations and state apparatuses routinely used black women’s athletic bodies to advance their respective social, political and financial interests.  Dr. Davis is currently an Assistant Professor in the Departments of History and Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State.

Recent Publications

"No League of Their Own: Baseball, Black Women and the Politics of Representation," Radical History Review, Issue 125, May 2016

“On the Courts of Druid Hill: Lucy Diggs Slowe and the Rise of Organized Black Tennis” in Baltimore Sports History: Stories from Charm City, ed. Daniel Nathan. Sport, Culture, and Society Series, University of Arkansas Press, August 2016

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Olivenne D. Skinner, Ph.D.

Olivenne D. Skinner, Ph.D.

 

Psychology

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2014

Email:  

During the fellowship year, Dr. Skinner’s paper “The Development and Correlates of Gender Role Orientations in African American Youth” was published in Child Development, one of the top journals in the field of developmental psychology. A second first authored paper was recently revised and resubmitted to the Journal of Black Psychology. Dr. Skinner co-authored two additional papers that are currently under review. During fall of 2016, she organized and presented her work at a symposium for the Society for Research on Child Development Special Topics Meeting on Babies, Boys, and Men of Color. She also submitted a grant to the National Science Foundation. In the spring of 2017, she taught an upper-level undergraduate course entitled “The Developmental Transition to Adulthood.” In addition to research and teaching, Dr. Skinner mentored an undergraduate student who was recently awarded a College of Health and Human Development (HHD) summer research grant to conduct a study using data from the Family Relationships Project. As a participant in the Professional Advancement Initiative through the Big Academic Alliance, Dr. Skinner participated in several workshops on mentoring and grant-writing.  She is extremely grateful to her mentors Dr. Susan McHale and Dr. Dawn Witherspoon for the opportunities provided during the fellowship year.  Dr. Skinner is currently a Post-doctoral Fellow at Wayne State University (https://wayne.edu/people/gl7363/).

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Sarah Stefana Smith, Ph.D.

Sarah Stefana Smith, Ph.D.

 

Social Justice Education

University of Toronto, 2016

Email:  sss81@psu.edu

During the fellowship year, Dr. Smith developed her book proposal and began to write her book manuscript: Poetics of Bafflement: Aesthetics of Frustration. She is currently working on two publications. The first is entitled, “Black Social Death and Re-orienting Queer Temporalities in Ayana Jackson’s To Kill or Allow to Live (2016)”, which was submitted for review in May. During an invited presentation with the Black Cultural Studies Collective at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Smith presented new work, related to her first publication. The second publication, “Surface Play: Rewriting Black Interiorities through Artifice, Camouflage, and Abstraction in Mickalene Thomas’s Oeuvre” is currently under review. She is currently working on a co-authored introductory section with B. Stephen Carpenter on race and arts education, forthcoming with Palgrave Press. In addition to participating in various ARC workshops, Dr. Smith guest lectured in two courses, Introduction to Women Studies and Truth and Reconciliation: Race Relations in America, Performance Arts and Artists Moving Us Forward. Dr. Smith participated in the development of the Sawyer Seminar Mellon Foundation development grant, with the Department of African American Studies, and will develop the Digital Humanities component of the project. Dr. Smith presented her research at several academic conferences including Black Portraiture[s] III in Johannesburg, South Africa, Feeling Queer/ Queer Feeling conference, and Black Like, Writing Black Canada symposium. She will be an artist in residency with the Feminist Art Collective, at Toronto Island, Ontario in May. Recently she was selected to participate in the New York American Studies Association, Summer Institute. Dr. Smith is currently a Post-doctoral Teaching Fellow in the Department of African American Studies at Penn State.

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