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Letter from the Chair

Erik McDuffie

Associate Professor of African American Studies
Associate Professor of History
Associate Professor of Center for African Studies

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African American Studies


Erik S. McDuffie is an Associate Professor in the Department of African AmericanStudies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research andteaching interests include the African diaspora, the Midwest, black feminism,black queer theory, black radicalism, urban history, and black masculinity.  He is the author of Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011). The book won the 2012 Wesley-Logan Prize from the American Historical Association and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, as well as the 2011 Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians.  He is also the author of several scholarly articles and essays published in African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal; African Identities; American Communist History; Biography; Journal of African American History; Journal of West African History; Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International Women of Color; Radical History Review; Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society; Women, Families, and Children of Color among other journals and edited volumes. 

Currently, he is working on a new book, tentatively titled Garveyismin the Diasporic Midwest: The American Heartland and Global Black Freedom,1920-80.  Drawing from original research conducted in Canada, Ghana, Grenada, Jamaica, Liberia, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States, the book is the first to establish the importance of the Midwest to twentieth-century black transnational politics and to demonstrate vibrant political exchanges between the heartland and African world through Garveyism.  The book has received recognition.  In 2016, he received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship.  In  2014, he received Richard and Margaret Romano Professional Scholar award from the University of Illinois.  The three-year award is based upon the recognition of scholars’ outstanding achievements in research andleadership at UIUC.  Professionally, he is a member of several scholarly associations.  These include the Association for the Study of the Worldwide AfricanDiaspora (ASWAD), American Historical Association (AHA), Association for theStudy of African American Life and History (ASALH), Association of Black WomenHistorians (ABWH), American Studies Association (ASA), Organization of AmericanHistorians (OAH). His sits on the executive board of ASWAD.

He has taught at the University of Illinois and University of Delaware. In 2010,   he won the Helen Corley Petit Award   (Illinois). This honor is given for extraordinary accomplishment during the tenure probation period by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He also received the Outstanding Teaching Awardin African American Studies from the Department of African American Studies(Illinois) for AY 2010-11. He earned his Ph.D. in history in 2003 from New York  University with a concentration in the African diaspora and U.S. history since1865.  Originally from Detroit, McDuffie is a sixth generation Midwesterner, whose family hails from the United States, Canada, and St. Kitts.



  • McDuffie, Erik S. Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism . . Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

Book Contributions

  • "Esther V. Cooper’s ‘The Negro Woman Domestic Worker in Relation to Trade Unionism’: Black Left Feminism and the Popular Front." Red Activists and Black Freedom: James and Esther Jackson and the Long Civil Rights Movement. . New York: Routledge, 2010. 33-40.

Journal Articles

  • "The Diasporic Journeys of Louise Little: Grassroots Garveyism, the Midwest, and Community Feminism." Women, Gender, and Families of Color 4.2 (2016): 146-170.
  • "“A New Day Has Dawned for the UNIA”: Garveyism, the Diasporic Midwest, and West Africa, 1920–80." Journal of West African History 2.1 (2016): 73-114.
  • "Chicago, Garveyism, and the History of the Diasporic Midwest." African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal 8.2 (2015): 129-145.
  • McDuffie, Erik S., and Komozi Woodard. "“If you’re in a country that’s progressive, the woman is progressive”: Black Women Radicals and The Making of the Politics and Legacy of Malcolm X." Biography 36.3 (2013): 507-539.
  • "Obama, the World, and Africa: Thoughts on African American Politics and the 2012 Presidential Election,." Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Culture, Politics and Society 14.1-2 (2012): 28-37.
  • "For full freedom of…colored women in Africa, Asia, and these United States’: Black Women Radicals and the Practice of a Black Women’s International." Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International 1.1 (2012): 1-30.
  • "Black and Red: Black Liberation, the Cold War, and the Horne Thesis." Journal of African American History 96.2 (2011): 236-247 .
  • "Garveyism in Cleveland, Ohio and the History of the Diasporic Midwest, 1920-1975." African Identities 9.2 (2011): 163–181 .
  • "I wanted a Communist movement, but I wanted to have the chance to organize our people’: The Diasporic Radicalism of Queen Mother Audley Moore and the Origins of Black Power." African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal 3.2 (2010): 181-195.