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April 25, 2006
DH 06 RH37
Contact: Russ Hudson,
Media Relations Coordinator
(310) 243-2455/2001

CSUDH Africana Studies Professor Honored for Lifetime Dedication

William Little spent 20 years developing new way of looking at world’s societies

Carson, CA—California State University Dominguez Hills Africana Studies Department Chair William A. Little was honored for his lifetime commitment and dedication to the discipline of Africana Studies recently at the National Council for Black Studies Conference (NCBS) held in Houston, Texas.

The educator’s honor came at a roundtable panel entitled, “A Mentor’s Mentor: The Leadership and Legacy of William A. Little,” which reviewed Little’s years of research and teaching and its affect on the discipline.
Little, in collaboration with Selase Williams, former dean of the CSUDH College of Liberal Arts, has been developing a global, rather than the traditional cultural/geographic, view of the diasporas of various peoples in the world. The two began the project together as post-doctoral students in the mid-1980s. The first text book addressing the concept as Little and Williams developed it, The Borders in All of Us: New Approaches to Global Diasporic Societies by The New World African Press, was published in February. It was a collaborative effort by Little, Williams, colleagues at CSUDH and from across the U.S. and in other countries, and several of Little’s former students.
As if to prove his impact on the discipline, a number of Little’s students and former students, as well as colleagues, had leadership roles in the conference, held March 15 through 18. Jonathan Fenderson (Class of ’04, B.A., Africana Studies), a current Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts, had a lead position in three of the sessions at the conference.  Fenderson credits his years of study in the CSUDH Africana Studies Department for preparing him for doctoral studies and introducing him to the professional activities of the NCBS. Fenderson’s mother, Judy Fenderson (Class of ‘71, B.A. Sociology, ’72 Secondary Teaching Credential), was one of the earliest graduates of CSUDH, which was established in Carson in 1964.  

Two undergraduate students, senior Heidi Martin (Africana Studies) and senior Keshia Sexton (Africana Studies), also presented scholarly papers at the conference.  Both students participated on panels with established senior scholars. Sexton’s presentation was on Black Feminism and Africana Womanism and Martin presented a cultural analysis of the recent film Crash.
Both of the undergraduate students have been accepted to the CSU Study Abroad Program in the West African country of Ghana.

The newest faculty member of Africana Studies at CSUDH, Salim Faraji, assistant professor, participated on the panel “Africana Studies: Trends and Developments.” His paper focused on synthesizing Africana Studies scholarship, religious studies, and history.

Africana Studies faculty member Munashe Furusa, assistant professor, also provided scholarly leadership at the NCBS by participating in a plenary session with some of the leading scholars in the field.  His presentation contributed to the dialogue of defining and naming the discipline of Africana Studies.

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Russell Hudson
University Communications
& Public Affairs
(310) 243-2455


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Last updated April 21, 2006, 12:56 p.m.,
by Joanie Harmon