Graduate Students

Abidemi Abass

Abidemi Abass is a first-year graduate fellow in the department of African American Studies. He graduated from Lagos State University with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. He also has a master’s degree in Investment and Risk Finance from University of Westminster, London. His research interest entails racism, African diasporas, migration, African identity, Afrobeats, economic sociology, racial and ethnic theory, inequality and stratification. He is also interested in exploring the financial stereotype and discrimination of African migrants in the UK. Outside of his studies, he creates contents on YouTube discussing African finances and also a show promoter of “Afrobeats” in London.


Adriana Arthur

Adriana is a second year Master’s student in the Department of African American studies. Arthur graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a minor in African-American studies. Her research interests include Black Women’s history and literature; Black women’s resistance, embodiment, and conceptualizations of freedom. Her interests are grounded in the ways Black women embody resistance and the negotiations they make for their agency, autonomy, and freedom. She’s interested in how Black women engage in various modes of literature, media, and art as practices of resistance to hegemonic femininity and misogynoir. She is also interested in how enslaved women were conceptualizing various meanings of freedom and the intellectual/spiritual histories and genealogies they formed.

Vanessa Brown

Vanessa Jubai Brown is a second year Master’s student in the Department of African American Studies. She is originally from the New England area (Vermont and Massachusetts) and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Race Studies in Literature and Music at the University of Maine at Farmington. Her research interests align with analyzing 20th and 21st-Century Black Literature with the arts, particularly within the ideas, instrumentation, and sounds of Black music throughout history (with a strong interest with Hip-hop and Contemporary R&B). She is also interested in finding ways to connect philosophy (specifically ontology) to the ideas of Blackness and identity alongside her analysis of literature and music. Outside of her studies, she is also a performer. As a singer, she hopes her connection to the arts will help her ground her within the exploration of literature, music, and philosophy.

Sebastian Melmoth

Sebastian Asahel Melmoth (he/him or they/them) is a second year Master’s student in the African American Studies and Library and Information Studies programs. He recently graduated from Alverno College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and History and concentrations in postcolonial literature and the History of Western Imperialism, Colonialism, and Atlantic Slavery. His research interests engage methodologies from the fields of African American Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Gender Studies, Library Studies, Comparative Literature Studies, and Film and Visual Studies to build a nexus of inquiry that complicates our impressions of the past and its scholarship. Lately, his academic interests are motivated by archival tensions with its objects, ideologies, and researchers. The advocacy and forming of accessible archive and special collections spaces for Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ communities is his guiding objective.