C. Daniel Dawson - Adjunct Professor in the Institute for Research on African American Studies

C. Daniel DawsonC. Daniel Dawson
Adjunct Professor in the Institute for Research on African American Studies, Columbia University

C. Daniel Dawson first learned photography at the age of 14 from his father who was an avid amateur photographer. While in high school, he continued his studies by sitting in on a class his brother was taking at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts. In college he studied with Ralph Hattersley (Columbia University), Lizette Model (New School for Social Research), and Paul Caponegro (Graduate Institute of Film and Television/New York University). In between studies Dawson also worked as a medical photographer at the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry where he developed his craft under Marshall Taub, the Chief Medical Photographer. At NYU, Dawson also studied the history of photography under John Szarkowski and Peter Bunnell. While in film school he met Louis Draper, one of the founding members of Kamoinge, and was later asked to join the group in 1970. As a photographer, he has been published in numerous books and magazines and has shown in over 30 exhibitions. Dawson began curating while still in high school at Arts High in Newark, New Jersey. He went on to become the first James Van Der Zee Curator of Photography, Film and Video at the Studio Museum in Harlem. In addition he has curated more than 50 exhibitions including Harlem Heyday: The Photographs of James Van Der Zee and The Sound I Saw: The Jazz Photographs of Roy DeCarava. He has also been associated with many prizewinning films including Head and Heart by James Mannas and Capoeiras of Brazil by Warrington Hudlin. He has worked as a consultant for the American Museum of Natural History, Caribbean Cultural Center, Cooper Hewitt Museum, International Center for Photography, Lincoln Center, Museum for African Art, Ralph Appelbaum Associates and three different divisions of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. As a scholar, C. Daniel Dawson has lectured at the House of World Cultures-Berlin, the Kit Tropenmuseum-Amsterdam, the University of California-Berkeley, University of Texas-Austin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, New School for Social Research, Columbia University, Princeton University and the Federal Universities of Bahia and Rio de Janeiro-Brazil. Dawson has also taught seminars on African Spirituality in the Americas at Columbia University, University of Iowa, New York University and Yale University.

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Krin Gabbard - Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Stony Brook University

Krin GabbardKrin Gabbard
Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Stony Brook University
Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies, Columbia University
Editor in Chief, Oxford Bibliographies in Cinema and Media Studies
Project Manager, Center for Jazz Studies
Phone: (212) 851-9270

Krin Gabbard was born in 1948 in Charleston, Illinois, a small town in the east central regions of the state. He spent his first 18 years in Charleston, the home of Eastern Illinois University, where both his parents taught. His father, Glendon Gabbard, directed plays at the university and taught acting. His mother, Lucina Paquet Gabbard, taught in the English Department and specialized in dramatic literature. In 1985, both parents retired from teaching and worked as professional actors for the rest of their lives. 

At the University of Chicago, Krin read old books and acted in a few plays. It was, of course, the late 1960s, and although he was never arrested for demanding an end to the war in Vietnam, the politics of the day did occasionally distract him from his studies. After graduating with a B.A. from Chicago in 1970, Krin went to Indiana University where he took graduate degrees in Classics and Comparative Literature. He also hosted a weekly radio program devoted to the music of Duke Ellington. In 1973, he met and fell in love with Paula Beversdorf. They have been married ever since.

In 1981, Krin began teaching in the Comparative Literature Department at the State University of New York in Stony Brook. By the time he retired in 2014, he had taught everything from ancient Greek literature to “Sexuality in Literature” to a seminar on Miles Davis. Mostly, however, he taught cinema studies. His first three books grew out of his interest in film: Psychiatry and the Cinema (1987), Jammin’ at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema (1996), and Black Magic: White Hollywood and African American Culture (2004).

As a child, Krin played the cornet in school concert bands and jazz ensembles, but he gave it up when he went off to college. Thirty-seven years later he bought a new trumpet and began taking lessons. His book, Hotter Than That: The Trumpet, Jazz, and American Culture (2008), describes his new life as an amateur trumpet-player. The book also gives a history of the trumpet from ancient Egypt to the present, with special attention to the African American jazz artists who transformed the instrument in the 20th century.

Only after he had begun playing the cornet and developing a passion for jazz did Krin discover the music of Charles Mingus. He was fifteen and listening to a late-night radio station when he was supposed to be asleep. The music changed his life. This transformation eventually led to his most recent book, Better Git It in Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus.

As a retiree, Krin has become an adjunct professor in the Jazz Studies program at Columbia University. He also plays his trumpet in a big band that meets on Saturday afternoons. He continues to edit the Oxford Bibliography on Cinema and Media Studies→.

With his wife, Paula, Krin lives on the Upper West Side of New York City and occasionally goes out to a movie or a jazz club.

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Margo Jefferson - Professor

Margo JeffersonMargo Jefferson
Office: 415 Dodge Hall
Phone: 212.854.4391

Margo Jefferson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic. She has been a staff writer for The New York Times and Newsweek; her reviews and essays have appeared inNew York MagazineGrand StreetVogueHarper’s and many other publications. Her book, On Michael Jackson, was published in 2006. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation /Theater Communications Group grant. She has also written and performed two theater pieces at The Cherry Lane Theatre and The Culture Project.

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Kellie Jones - Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Art History and Archeology

Kellie JonesKellie Jones
Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Art History and Archeology

Office: 909 Schermerhorn Hall
Phone: (212) 854-8084

Dr. Kellie Jones is Associate Professor in Art History and Archaeology and the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University. Her research interests include African American and African Diaspora artists, Latino/a and Latin American Artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory.

Dr. Jones has received numerous awards for her work including a Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant in 2013. In 2005 she was the inaugural recipient of the David C. Driskell Award in African American Art and Art History from the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. 

Dr. Jones’s writings have appeared in exhibition catalogues and such journals as NKAArtforumFlash Art,Atlantica, and Third Text.  Her book EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (Duke University Press 2011) was named one of the top art books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly.

Dr. Jones has also worked as a curator for over three decades and has numerous major national and international exhibitions to her credit. She has organized shows for the Johannesburg Biennale (1997) and São Paulo Bienal (1989), the latter of which, featuring the work of Martin Puryear, won the grand prize for best individual exhibition. Her exhibition “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980,” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, was named one of the best exhibitions of 2011 and 2012 by Artforum, and best thematic show nationally by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). She is the co-curator of “Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the 1960s.” Opening at the Brooklyn Museum in March 2014 the show celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

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Diedra Harris-Kelley - Adjunct Professor in the Institute for Research on African American Studies, Columbia University

Diedra Harris-KelleyDiedra Harris-Kelley
Adjunct Professor in the Institute for Research on African American Studies, Columbia University
Co-Director, The Romare Bearden Foundation

Currently Co-Director of the Romare Bearden Foundation, a non-profit organization perpetuating the legacy of the visual artist, Diedra Harris-Kelley first joined the Foundation in 1996, advising on care of their collections. She offered a unique perspective on Bearden’s work being a formally trained artist and niece of the artist’s wife. In 2006 she accepted the position as Program Associate managing the collection, and organizing exhibitions and public programs for the Bearden gallery.

Harris-Kelley earned a BA in Art from California State University, Long Beach and a MFA from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She taught at New York University, Parsons School of Design Studio Program, and conducts professional development workshops and lectures on Bearden. She is the author of “Revisiting Romare Bearden’s Art of Improvisation,” published in Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia University, 2004); and was a member of the curatorial team of Jazz at Lincoln Center (2009-2012)

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