On August 1, 2015, Dr. Leonard K. Gadzekpo was appointed the Interim Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at SIUC. Dr. Gadzekpo is an internationally respected visual artist and scholar and has been at SIUC since 1998. Much of his research and study has centered on what he calls the “Africana paradigm.” The main points of his research are as follows:
THE AFRICANA PARADIGM
The first aspect is biological: one has African ancestry, a direct line of genetic markers, even if several generations removed;
The second aspect is cultural values epitomized by a sense of family, the extended family, transmitted throughout the centuries, where Black people live;
The third aspect is awareness of the history of struggle and resistance. This brings to the fore the ability to question not only oneself, but more importantly community, society and country;
The fourth aspect is the multiplicity of identities – a diversity of identities overarched by a sense of peoplehood within nations but manifested on a global scale as Africana, the Black World.
Along with the many required day-to-day duties of an administrator, part of his duties will be to initiate the search for a permanent Chair of the Department. KCW