Glenn A. Chambers, Jr.

Director of African American and African Studies
College of Arts & Letters 

January 2, 2016

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Glenn Chambers has been named director of the MSU African American and African Studies (AAAS) program effective January 1, 2016. Chambers is an Associate Professor of History with research and teaching interests that center on the African Diaspora with an emphasis on the modern Caribbean and Latin America. 

"The appointment of Dr. Chambers marks a transformative moment in the AAAS program's history. It offers us an opportunity to reflect upon what has been successful, identify avenues of improvement, and develop a comprehensive strategic plan designed to articulate and implement an innovative vision of academic excellence that draws on the unique strengths and rich history of Michigan State University," says Dean Christopher P. Long of the College of Arts & Letters.

Chambers’ research intersects with the histories of colonialism (in the Caribbean), labor, nationalism, race relations, and immigration/migration. Most of these themes are addressed in his book Race, Nation, and West Indian Immigration to Honduras, 1890-1940 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2010). The work focuses on the role of West Indian labor migration to Honduras in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in shaping the identity discourse of the nation as it relates to broader notions of blackness.

His current research project, tentatively titled From the Banana Zones to the Big Easy: Honduran Immigration to New Orleans and Changing Perceptions of Race and Place in a Divided City, 1910-1945, continues in this vein. It explores West Indian and Afro-Latino (Central American) immigration to New Orleans in the early twentieth century and their integration and adjustment into a highly racialized Jim Crow New Orleans.

By tracing the migration experiences of African descendants between the West Indies, Central America, and the United States, Chambers emphasizes the historical tradition of the African Diaspora as it relates to migration discourse and the ways in which people of African descent have maintained a common identity and purpose regardless of their location. Central to this discussion is the retention of a strong cultural and racial identity rooted in a shared history and experience.

Dr. Chambers earned both his PhD (2006), and his MA (2002) in Latin American and Caribbean History from Howard University, and his BA in History from University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX, in 1999. From 2006 – 2011, Chambers was assistant professor of History at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX, where he was also an associate professor of history from 2012 – 2013. Prior to that, he was a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at DePauw University (August 2005 – July 2006), and a Graduate Assistant at Howard University (August 2001 – May 2004). He was a Fulbright Fellow in Honduras from 2004 – 2005.