Robert F. Jefferson, Jr.
Robert F. Jefferson, Jr. is the Director of the Africana Studies Program and an Associate Professor of History at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Jefferson holds the Ph.D. in African American History from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the relationship between race, gender, and citizenship in Twentieth Century United States history. He is the author of Fighting for Hope: African Americans and the Ninety-third Infantry Division in World War II and Postwar America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008) which was nominated for the William Colby Book Prize and is currently working on a second book titled Color and Disability: Vasco Hale and Twentieth Century America. He has written extensively on the relationship between African American GIs and their communities during the Second World War, the Black Panther Party, and the lived experiences of Black Disabled Veterans in the twentieth century. He has also written articles that have appeared in Oral History and Public Memories (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008), the Journal of Family History, the Annals of Iowa, Contours: A Journal of the African Diaspora, and the Historian. He also holds memberships in the American Historical Association, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the National Council of Black Studies, and is a participating speaker in the Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lectureship Program.
My scholarly interests focus on the African American experience in Twentieth Century United States History, social history, international relations, and cultural studies. As an Assistant and Associate Professor of history at Wayne State University, the University of Iowa, Xavier University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, I have pursued these interests while teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in United States and African American history. For me, Africana Studies is the intersection of African, African American, and the American past, present, and future experiences of Continental Africans and people of African descent in the Trans-Atlantic World. Building on my previous experiences, I have worked hard to encourage my students to critique, interrogate, and refine their previous notions of what constitutes the study of history and to see the value of examining social and cultural history from way below.