Faculty & Staff

General contact


Jeff Snyder
Jeff Snyder ’97 Profile
Associate Professor of Educational Studies
Director of Africana Studies

Jeff Snyder, Associate Professor of Educational Studies, is a historian of education who studies the twentieth-century United States. His work explores the intersections between the history of education and broader trends in U.S. cultural and intellectual history, examining questions about race, national identity and the purpose of public education in a diverse, democratic society. 

Professor Snyder is the author of the book Making Black History: Race, Culture and the Color Line in the Age of Jim Crow (University of Georgia Press, 2018). His articles, essays and book reviews have appeared in academic journals such as History of Education Quarterly, Schools and Teachers College Record. He is also a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines, including American Prospect, Boston Review, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week, Inside Higher Ed, the New Republic and Salmagundi.

A Carleton alumnus, Professor Snyder majored in Psychology and minored in Educational Studies. He holds an EdM in Learning and Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a PhD in the History of Education from New York University. Before pursuing graduate studies, he taught English to Speakers of Other Languages to students of all ages and ability levels in the Czech Republic, France, China, India, Nepal and the United States.

Professor Snyder teaches the following courses: Will This Be On the Test? Standardized Testing and American Education (EDUC 100), Introduction to Educational Studies (EDUC 110), History of American School Reform (EDUC 245), Fixing Schools: Politics and Policy in American Education (EDUC 250) and Multicultural Education (EDUC 338).

Visit Professor Snyder’s personal website.

Charisse Burden-Stelly
Charisse Burden-Stelly Profile
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science

Charisse Burden-Stelly completed her Ph.D. in African Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2016. She holds an M.A. in African American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in Political Science and in African and African American Studies from Barrett Honor College at Arizona State University. Her scholarship traverses Africana Studies, Critical Theory, Political Theory, and Political Economy with a substantive focus on antiradicalism, anti-blackness, and state-sanctioned violence; globalization and economic development; and epistemologies of Black Studies.


Marlon Bailey
Marlon Bailey Profile
Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor in Africana Studies

Emeriti Faculty

Mary Easter
Mary Easter Profile
Rae Schupack Nathan Professor of Dance and the Performing Arts, Emerita
Stephen K. Kelly
Stephen Kelly Profile
Dye Family Professor of Music, Emeritus

Stephen Kelly (Music History, Jazz History) received the B.S. from Spring Hill College, the M.A. from Rutgers University, and the Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and has published editions of the music of Niccolo da Perugia and co-authored a video tape on the Medieval Monastery. He has also done research focused on the area of jazz reception and the music of Wynton Marsalis. Most recently he has presented "Joan Baez at Spring Hill: A Study of Intersecting Histories." Dr. Kelly served on the Board of Directors as Treasurer of the College Music Society from 1991 until 1995. In 1997 he was the Associate Dean of the College and served as the Dean for Budget and Planning from 1998 to 2004. He currently serves as Treasurer and Board Member of Laura Baker Services Association. He plays sax and clarinet in Occasional Jazz.

Robert Tisdale
Robert Tisdale Profile
Marjorie Crabb Garbisch Professor of English and the Liberal Arts, Emeritus

In his forty-year career at Carleton, Bob Tisdale has taught many courses related to African American studies. In 1969 he offered Carleton's first course in Black literature; for fifteen years he taught a freshman seminar on multicultural fiction, memoir, and drama and takes pride in having taught four students who subsequently earned a Ph.D. in African American studies.

His interest in the topic dates from his rooming with an African American student at Princeton—one of two Black students enrolled in his class--a young man who later earned a Ph.D. in history. Experience directing a NEH graduate program for African American high school teachers at Dartmouth deepened his interest, and a summer doing research on slavery at the Huntington Library and Black fiction at U. C. Berkeley helped him develop the first version of the course on Black literature that he taught at Carleton.

While he directed the American Studies program he worked with colleagues to develop and teach a course on immigration and forced migration.

He has an M.A.T. from Wesleyan and a Ph.D. from Yale.


Annie Larson
Annie Larson Profile
Admin Asst. for Educational Studies, Mellon Bridge Collab.
Administrative Assistant for Phi Beta Kappa
Administrative Assistant for the Center for Global and Regional Studies
Administrative Assistant in Educational Studies

Other Faculty Involved in Africana Studies

Deborah Appleman
Deborah Appleman Profile
Hollis L. Caswell Professor of Educational Studies

Deborah Appleman received her doctorate in English Education at the University of Minnesota in 1986. At Carleton she is the Hollis L. Caswell professor of educational studies and director of Carleton's Summer Writing Program, a three-week program for high school juniors and seniors). She also teaches the English section of Carleton's summer workshop for teachers, the Summer Teaching Institute. During 2003-2004 she served her second year as mentor for Carleton's second group of Posse students from the Chicago area. Professor Appleman's primary research interests include multicultural literature, adolescent response to literature, teaching literary theory to secondary students, and adolescent response to poetry. She was a high school teacher for nine years. She has written numerous book chapters and articles on adolescent response to literature and she co-edited Braided Lives,a multicultural literature anthology published by the Minnesota Humanities Commission. Her book, Reading for Themselves: How to Transform Adolescents into Lifelong Readers Through Out-of-Class Book Clubs was published by Heinemann. She is also the coauthor of Teaching Literature to Adolescents with Richard Beach, Susan Hynds, and Jeffrey Wilhelm. Her book, Critical Encounters in High School English: Teaching Literary Theory to Adolescents, now in its third edition, was published jointly by Teachers College Press and the National Council of Teachers of English and is widely used in methods classes across the country. She recently edited an anthology of her students' work titled From the Inside Out: Letters to Young Men and Other Writings Poetry and Prose from Prison and authored Adolescent Literacy and the Teaching of English published by the National Council of Teachers of English.

Jenny Bourne
Jenny Bourne Profile
Chair of Economics
Raymond Plank Professor of Incentive Economics
Off Campus: Spring 2020

Jenny Bourne is Raymond Plank Professor of Economics and Chair of the Economics Department. She received her A.B. summa cum laude from Indiana University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Before joining the faculty at Carleton, Jenny taught at St. Olaf College and worked as an international tax economist at the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Tax Analysis. Jenny teaches intermediate price theory, intermediate and advanced labor economics, law and economics, American economic history, economics of the public sector, economics of race, and principles of microeconomics. Her book on the economics of Southern slave law, The Bondsman’s Burden, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1998. She has published articles in the Journal of Economic History, Social Science History, National Tax Journal, American Journal of Legal History, Social Science Quarterly, and several other economics journals and law reviews. Among her recent publications are: “Give Lincoln Credit: How Paying for the Civil War Transformed the U.S. Financial System” (Albany Government Law Review), “Blacks, Whites, and Brown: Effects on the Earnings of Men and Their Sons” (Journal of African American Studies, with Nathan Grawe), “Edith Wharton as Economist:  An Economic Interpretation of The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence” (The Edith Wharton Review),  “New Wine in an Old Bottle:  How Minnesota’s Receivership Statute Can Promote Both Efficiency and Equity” (Hamline Law Review), “Stay East, Young Man? Economic Effects of the Dred Scott Decision” (Chicago-Kent Law Review), and In Essentials, Unity:  An Economic History of the Granger Movement (Ohio University Press). Jenny authored the chapter “The Economics of Slavery” in the recently published Encyclopedia of Law and Economics (Edward Elgar) as well as the chapter “The Economic History of Slavery” in Handbook of Modern Economic History (Routledge). She will have a chapter entitled “We Are Coming, Father Abraham, But How Will You Pay For Us?,” in the forthcoming issue of U.S. Capitol Historical Society Papers (Ohio University Press).  She has served as an expert lecturer on race in American history under a Teaching American History grant and as co-director of a workshop series on the law of slavery at the Gilder-Lehrman Center at Yale University.   Her current research includes an analysis of wealth concentration and returns to capital across wealth groups, an investigation of taxes paid across wealth groups, and the effects of the Civil War on the postbellum economy. 


Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg
Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg Profile
Broom Professor of Social Demography and Anthropology
Off Campus: Winter 2019 through Spring 2019

Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1990. She has been working on reproductive health issues, first as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, and later as an anthropologist. Her research focuses on connections between reproduction and belonging, especially when these are called into question by reproductive difficulties (e.g., infertility), ethnic stereotyping of fertility, or the challenges of migration. She has conducted research in both rural and urban Cameroon, as well as with Cameroonian immigrants in Berlin and Paris. She teaches courses on gender, Africa, migration, medical anthropology, reproduction, and social science writing as well as the African and African American Studies capstone.

Andrew Flory
Andy Flory Profile
Associate Professor of Music
Off Campus: Winter 2019


(American Music, Music History) received the B.A. from the City College of New York and the M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andrew teaches courses in American music, focusing on rock, rhythm and blues, and jazz. Andrew was a member of the Royster Society and was awarded the John Motley Morehead Fellowship to complete his dissertation, which was awarded the Glen Haydon Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Musicology from the UNC Music Department. Andrew has read papers at the national meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Society for Music Theory, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Society for American Music. He has also been invited to speak nationally and internationally at institutions such as the University of Surrey, Princeton University, and the University of Michigan. Andrew has written articles, encyclopedia entries, and reviews on the music of Marvin Gaye, the Beatles, African-American pop singers and balladeers, and Bang On a Can. He has written extensively about American rhythm and blues, and is an expert on the music of Motown. His book, I Hear a Symphony: Listening to the Music of Motown, is forthcoming from The University of Michigan Press. Working directly with Universal Records, Andrew has served as consultant for several recent Motown reissues. He is also co-author of the history of rock textbook What’s that Sound (W.W. Norton).

Bereket Haileab
Bereket Haileab Profile
Professor of Geology
Ahmed Ibrahim
Ahmed Ibrahim Profile
Robert A. Oden, Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow for Innovation in the Liberal Arts and Refugee and Migration Studies

Ahmed Ibrahim (B.A., University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; Ph.D., City University of New York [CUNY], Graduate Center) teaches courses at the intersection of refugee and migration studies and the anthropology of religion.

His current research project is an ethnography of Somali communities in Minnesota. The research aims to challenge the assumed congruence between nation and political space by examining how social and political movements in Somalia both influence Somali political organizing in the US and effect how Somali communities are administered under the US security state. The project examines sites as diverse as US government supported programs to “counter violent extremism,” local Somali civic activism in the US, and political campaigns that span from Minneapolis to Mogadishu.

His dissertation, “The Shari῾a Courts of Mogadishu: Beyond ‘African Islam’ and ‘Islamic Law’,” explored the ethics and politics of Shari῾a in Mogadishu, Somalia, through a historical ethnography of a movement whose response to the demands of the present were informed by practices, discourses, and norms rooted in a centuries-old Islamic tradition. The first article to emerge from the dissertation is entitled “Changing of the Guards: Politico-Religious Authority and Islamic Education in Mogadishu,” and will appear in the journal Islamic Africa.

Richard A. Keiser
Richard Keiser Profile
Professor of Political Science and American Studies
Off Campus: Fall 2019 through Spring 2020

Professor Keiser received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. His research focuses on progressive politics in America's big cities. In 1997 he published Subordination or Empowerment? which analyzed the formation and disintegration of coalitions that advance African-American political empowerment. He coedited Minority Politics at the Millennium, which was published in 2000. His current research examines the relationship between cities and suburbs in the current era. Prof. Keiser teaches the introductory course on liberty and equality in America, as well as courses on urban and suburban political economy, poverty and public policy, and the Presidency.

Cherif Keita
Cherif Keita Profile
William H. Laird Professor of French and the Liberal Arts

Chérif Keita is Professor of French and Francophone Studies (Ph.D., University of Georgia). He teaches Francophone Literature of Africa and the Caribbean, as well as advanced languages courses. A native of Mali, he has published books and articles on both social and literary problems in contemporary Africa. His special interests include the novel and social evolution in Mali, Oral tradition, and the relationship between music, literature and culture in Africa. He is the author of Massa Makan Diabaté (L'Harmattan, 1995), Salif Keita: L'oiseau sur le fromager (Le figuier, 2001) and Salif Keïta: l’ambassadeur de la musique du Mali (Paris: Grandvaux, 2009). He has completed a documentary film entitled "Oberlin-Inanda: The Life and Times of John L. Dube" [Special Mention at 2005 FESPACO], about the life of the first President of the African National Congress of South Africa and his education in the U.S. at the end of the nineteenth century. “Cemetery Stories: A Rebel Missionary in South Africa”, his second documentary traces the relationship between John Dube and a Northfield missionary family who mentored him and educated him in the United States.  Professor Keïta also leads a Carleton Francophone off-campus studies program to Mali every other year.  Please also see: Uncommon Ties.

Outcast to Ambassador 

Tsegaye Nega
Tsegaye Nega Profile
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
Off Campus: Winter 2019 through Spring 2019
William North 2
William North Profile
Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Professor of History
Off Campus: Spring 2020

AFAM Liaison to European Studies, MARS and MMUF Program

Kofi Owusu
Kofi Owusu Profile
Professor of English

Professor Kofi Owusu teaches and writes on African, African American, British, and Anglophone literatures; he served as the director of the African/African American Studies program for many years. Degrees: University of Ghana, B.A.; University of Edinburgh, M.Litt.; University of Alberta, Ph.D.

Melinda Russell
Melinda Russell Profile
Professor of Music and M.A. and A.D. Hulings Professor of American Studies

Melinda Russell received the B.A. from Simon's Rock Early College, the M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Minnesota, and the Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.  Dr. Russell has a diverse background in ethnomusicology, focusing on a variety of musical traditions in North America, Africa, and the Caribbean. She has published articles on reggae and musical taste, on the Macarena craze of the 1990s, on choral music in an Illinois city, on the folksong repertoire of Americans, on the Star-Spangled Banner in contemporary America, and on including applied  music components in lecture courses.  She coedited the books Community of Music and In the Course of Performance: Studies in the World of Musical Improvisation.  Her current research concerns the folk music revival in Minneapolis during the late 1950s/early 1960s.  Dr. Russell was formerly the Book Review Editor for the journal Ethnomusicology, and served as President of the Midwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Noah Salomon
Noah Salomon Profile
Associate Professor of Religion
Director of Middle East Studies
Off Campus: Fall 2019 through Spring 2020

Noah Salomon (B.A., Reed College; M.A., Ph.D. University of Chicago) teaches courses in Islamic Studies and the anthropology of religion. His first book, For Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan's Islamic State, was published by Princeton University Press in 2016. Other recent research has focused on the establishment of state secularism in South Sudan as a mode of unraveling the Islamic State, and the concomitant construction of a Muslim minority as part of a nascent project of nation-building. Salomon was a member at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) in the School of Social Science for the 2013–14 academic year and has been part of recent collaborative grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (on Islamic epistemologies in Africa) and the Islam Research Programme, Netherlands (on religious minorities in the two Sudans following partition). Faculty Website

Harry Williams
Harry Williams Profile
Laird Bell Professor of History

Professor Williams has been at Carleton since 1989. (Lincoln University B.A., Missouri M.A., Brown A.M., Ph.D.) African American history with primary teaching interests in 19th c. slavery studies, social and intellectual history, black conservatism, and cultural studies. Secondary teaching interests include the Black Atlantic with emphasis on Ghana (Gold Coast) and the United States, and the Concord intellectuals. Research interest George S. Schuyler (1895-1977).



Thabiti Willis
Thabiti Willis Profile
Associate Professor of History

Thabiti Willis received his Ph.D. from Emory University in 2008. He spent two years conducting research on the masquerades of the Yoruba people in Nigeria, serving as a Fulbright scholar in 2006. He has participated in international faculty seminars in Cape Town, South Africa. His courses cover the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-independence periods and include such topics as the slave trade, gender and ethnicity, nationalism, expressive culture and performance, and religion as well as the African Diaspora in the Arab world.

Professor Willis invites students to approach African history as a journey in collective self-discovery. He and his students explore names, places, events, and practices that may initially seem foreign and tend to carry a stigma of backwardness. As a step toward overturning the sense of Africa as a foreign or backward place, he introduces the historical origins and politics of this perspective. He incorporates secondary literature that identifies it as a consequence of the biases, misconceptions, and exploitations of the continent, whether by westerners, easterners, or segments in African societies for their own parochial interests. Drawing inspiration from humanistic values in many African societies, e.g. "ubuntu" (which means "I am because we are") in South Africa, he cultivates a learning environment in which students may come to see themselves as co-participants in reconstructing the African past. He bridges interactive teaching and international sharing using global web-dialogues with foreign institutions and students to help to cultivate a respectful appreciation of differences and perspectives across cultures.

Currently, he is exploring the ways in which masquerades shaped and were transformed by changes in Yoruba social, economic, and political history in the pre-colonial period. One of his future projects focuses on how British Victorian values influenced how nineteenth-century Yoruba missionaries viewed the relationship between art and religion. Future projects include a study of the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and music.