Mississippi State University Appoints New Leader of African American Studies Program

Donald M. Shaffer has been appointed director of the African American studies program at Mississippi State University in Starkville. He has served as interim director for the past year.

Dr. Shaffer is an associate professor of English and African American studies at the university. He joined the faculty at Mississippi State in 2008. His research examines the social and historical construction of race in African American and Southern literature, linking authors whose literary works engage racial and identity politics in American culture.

In accepting his new position, Dr. Shaffer stated that he is “committed to fostering a greater understanding of African American culture and lived experience — both past and present — through teaching and scholarship. I believe what distinguishes our program is the unique opportunity it affords students to pursue a minor in African American Studies at a land- grant institution located in a state that is the veritable birthplace of African American culture.”

Dr. Shaffer earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Mississippi’s Jackson State University in 1995. He earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago.

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