B. Anthony Bogues, the Harmon Family Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University, was named the inaugural director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at the university. Creation of the new center was one of the recommendations made by the steering committee that investigated the university’s historical ties to slavery.
The new center will draw from a variety of academic disciplines and departments at the university, and it will have two boards for advice and oversight. President emerita Ruth Simmons will chair a board of external overseers. A faculty board of advisers will assist Professor Bogues with developing a broad range of programs and activities. The inaugural faculty board will include Lina Fruzzetti, professor of anthropology; Philip Gould, professor of English; Matthew Guterl, incoming professor of Africana studies and American studies; Glenn Loury, professor of economics; Marion Orr, professor of political science and director of the Taubman Center; and Seth Rockman, associate professor of history.
“To work and think about slavery today is also to think about the legacies of slavery — how slavery shaped the modern world and how an understanding of its legacies can inform our efforts to construct a more humane world,” Professor Bogues said. “Our work will be broad-based and therefore interdisciplinary. We will be inclusive and open to issues of human rights, justice, and freedom. One important legacy of slavery, after all, is the quest for freedom. Creation of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice is a very important moment for the academy, making Brown an internationally recognized place for thinking and studying about these issues.”
Professor Bogues served as chair of Africana studies at Brown from 2003 to 2009. He is also a visiting professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, a visiting professor of the humanities at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and an honorary professor at the Center for African Studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He holds a Ph.D. in political theory from the University of the West Indies. His latest book is Empire of Liberty: Power, Freedom, and Desire (Dartmouth College Press, 2010).