Howard University Spring 2020 Administrative Conference
On February 25, 2020, Howard University held the conference “Diversifying the Russian Studies Field: Faculty Best Practices” which invited scholars and administrators from across the country to discuss the primary institutional challenges faced by scholars of color in the field of Russian Area Studies. The day included a public panel titled “My Path to Slavic: Meeting the New Generation” held at the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center. The panel was attended by students, Howard University faculty and staff, as well as participants in the administrative workshop in the morning.
In attendance at the morning workshop:
Lynda Park, Executive Director, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.
B. Amarilis Lugo de Fabritz, Ph. D., Howard University
Colleen Lucey, Ph. D., University of Arizona
MaRaina Montgomery, Manager of Study Abroad, Ralph J. Bunche Center, Howard University
Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon, San Jacinto College, Texas
Amber Walden, Howard University History Department 2016, Master student at King’s College
Sunnie Rucker-Chang, Ph. D., University of Cincinnati
Toni Cross, Master student, Georgetown University
Imani Crawford, President, Black Bread organization
Zachary Kelly, Assistant Director, ISEEES, University of California, Berkeley
Eileen Kunkler, Eileen Kunkler Assistant Director of the Center for Slavic and East European Studies, Ohio State University
Gina Peirce, Assistant Director for Grants and Assessment, Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, University of Pittsburgh
Krista Goff, Ph. D., University of Miami
Kelly Knickmeier-Cummings, Ph. D., Howard University
Joseph Dresen, Senior Program Associate, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center
Emily Couch, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center
One of the biggest takeaways from the conference was the consensus that advisers have to become more aware of the challenges faced by scholars of color, namely: we cannot hide. We are always visible. This observation came with a specific urgency, since personal safety is deeply interwoven with our perception of the field.
This did not diminish the enthusiasm for the field among the scholars, however. As a result of contact with the conference participants, two students declared their desire to complete a Minor in Russian language at Howard University.