Jenifer Lee is a proud native of Charleston, West Virginia. She attended West Virginia University, where she completed a B.A. in Psychology in May 1997. After completing her bachleor’s degree, she entered the M.S. program in Criminal Justice at Marshal University. She completed her M.S. degree in May 1999.
She has worked in the West Virginia Supreme Court, both in the Administrative Office and the Office of Counsel. It was during her time at the West Virginia Supreme Court that she applied (and was subsequently accepted to) the Ph.D. program in Criminology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
She began the Ph.D. program in January 2001 and will complete all coursework in May 2003. She has been selected as a teaching associate with her department to begin in Fall 2003, and her expected graduation date is May 2005. Upon graduation, she expects to attain a position at a college or university as an assistant professor. She believes that it is important (as an instructor of any level) to offer students in higher education the opportunity to think critically and question openly.
Her research interests include prosecutorial discretion, hate crime, courts, social inequalities, women’s issues in crime and corrections, and criminology/criminal justice education.
Diane Hinton Perry is a native of Washington, D.C., who has spent her years of higher education in the Midwest. Her undergraduate institution is Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she received a B.A. in English in 1971. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (1996), and she is currently a an M.A. student in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Her area of concentration is literature. She expects to complete her M.A. degree in August 2003.
While an M.F.A. student at the University of Iowa, she was awarded a Graduate Opportunity Fellowship her first year and a Teaching Assistantship in the African-American World Studies Program her second year. She designed and taught an upper-level course entitled Oral Tradition in African-American Storytelling. This class examined the influence of oral genres, both spoken and musical, on African-American literature, concentrating on the short story. For both years at Indiana University–Bloomington, she has been an associate instructor, teaching the two-semester course Introduction to Writing and the Study of Black Literature.
Besides the short story, her research interests include American Indian lacrosse, the Iroquois Confederacy, and historical relationships between African-Americans and American Indians. Her M.A. thesis project is a novel about the friendship between two young men, one African-American and the other Iroquois, brought together by their love of lacrosse. Because this sport is deeply rooted in the cultural values, spiritual traditions, and expressive forms of American Indians, it offers a unique setting for a fictional work to explore a friendship that reaches across geographical and cultural boundaries.
Her publications include the short story “Legacy” in African Voices, Fall/Winter 2001, and the essay “The Radical Amelioration of Womankind,” forthcoming in the Spring 2003 issue of WarpLand: A Journal of Black Literature and Ideas, published by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and creative writing at Chicago State University. This essay discusses Anna Julia Cooper’s 1982 book A Voice from the South.
Other honors have included a fellowship from the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation for their summer writer’s week, a writer’s residency grant from Vermont Studio Center, and a three-year tenure as a member of the Carleton College Alumni Council and cochair of the Multicultural Alumni Network Committee. Prior to pursuit of graduate studies, she has a 20-year career in Research Administration and Contract Management, including 10 years at American University in the Office of Sponsored Programs.
Jesse Scott is the oldest of five children. As a child, he loved his grandmother’s dramatic readings of stories. Later, prompted by teenage angst and the woes of love, he began writing stories. His love of stories and the languages we use to tell them led him to complete a B.A. in English at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1996. While he was completing his undergraduate degree, he became interested in popular culture, particularly film and popular music. This interest led him to Bowling Green State University, where he completed his M.A. in Popular Culture in 1998.
Currently, Mr. Scott is a doctoral candidate in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. In addition to continuing to study popular culture, his work has focused on 20th-century African-American literature. Toni Morrison has been the most influential writer and critic for his intellectual projects. In Beloved, Baby Suggs reminds the ex-slaves that the only grace they will have is the grace they imagine, and the end of the text, when Paul D. is searching for a way to help Sethe, he recalls Sixo’s rationale for his visits to the thirty-mile woman—“she gather the pieces I am.”
His dissertation project, “Gathering the Pieces and Imagining Grace: African American Literature and Reparations,” takes its title from these two critical moments in Beloved. It is the possibility of gathering pieces and imagining grace that fuels his current research. His project argues that reparations is a complex and multifaceted endeavor that requires the term reparations to be extricated from current and historical legal discourses. Narrowly focused on monetary reparations, the legal engagements with reparations disregard other types of reparations. His project situates literary texts and other cultural forms as critical sites where questions about how to repair historical wrongs are engaged and in doing so help to (re)conceptualize reparations.
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