Africana Studies Welcomes New Faculty Member

Dr. Crystal Edwards, who holds a doctorate in Africology from the University of Wisconsin, will join the Africana Studies faculty this fall.

Dr. Edwards previously taught at the University of Houston, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science, with a minor in African American Studies. There, as a faculty member, she created courses that focused on the experience of Black women in the United States and throughout the African diaspora. 

She also taught multiple qualitative research methods, theory and graduate-level courses. At CSULB, she’ll teach Introduction to Ethnic Studies and Critical Thinking in Africana Studies. 

Her research has focused on Black women in the U.S., most recently on Black middle school girls and Black women in graduate school, exploring how their identity affected their schooling and the challenges they faced. Next, she plans to take a look at mother-daughter relationships, particularly among Black women and girls.

“I came up with this idea when I was talking to students,” Dr. Edwards says. “Their ideas about how they were supposed to be was influenced greatly by their mothers — particularly being strong and doing things on their own, messages they said were not communicated to male siblings.”

At CSULB, Dr. Edwards is excited about the having the opportunity to work with Africana Studies chair Dr. Maulena Karenga and is looking forward to mentoring students, and encouraging them to “grow and modify their world view toward ways that are more just.” 

“I hope to continue my overall dedication to students and student engagement and growth, to help guide them along to what their next moves will be, after college,” Dr. Edwards says. “With students of color in particular, it’s often not even discussed, and there are not many people in our network that we can talk to about that. I want to help them take the next steps.”