Featured Faculty Member
This year the English Department welcomed Louis Chude-Sokei as George and Joyce Wein Chair in African American Studies.
After completing his doctorate at UCLA, Chude-Sokei held professorships at UC-Santa Cruz and the University of Washington. He is currently serving as Director of BU’s African American Studies Program, where he hopes to “reimagine how race matters and functions” and explore “how differences coexist, how diversity truly works, and how knowledge rooted in difference can produce solutions.”
Chude-Sokei specializes in the African Diaspora, including literature from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. His first book, The Last Darky: Bert Williams, Black on Black Minstrelsy and the African Diaspora (2006), traces the influence of blackface performance and immigration on the Harlem Renaissance.
His recent book, The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (2016), studies historical and current connections between black experience, music, and technology. Editor-in-Chief of the influential journal, The Black Scholar, Chude-Sokei is currently focusing on two topics—what he calls “the relationship between American racial formations and the ongoing problematics of immigration,” and “the continuing impact of race on technology in robotics and Artificial Intelligence.”
Chude-Sokei is excited about his new home. He describes his colleagues as “stellar and cool,” and appreciates the energy of the English department and BU in general. “As I keep telling people,” he says, “something good is going on here, and I’m happy to be a part of it.” Moving to Boston, however, has brought at least one challenge. “I’m still worried about the food scene here,” he says. “So far the Tapas is good but I’ve yet to find world class sushi.”