Africana Studies Welcomes New Faculty Member

August 30, 2021

Dr. Alice Nicholas, an Africologist who received her Ph.D. from Temple University in Africology and African American Studies, has been hired as an assistant professor in the Africana Studies department.

Dr. Nicholas comes to CSULB from Cal State Dominguez Hills, where she served as a lecturer after completing her doctorate. It marked a return to Southern California for the professor: She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Dominguez Hills.

At CSULB, Dr. Nicholas will teach Introduction to Ethnic Studies and Introduction to Africana Studies and plans to continue her research into the function of knowledge and how it can serve in the liberation of Black people. Her dissertation created a theory of the Coded Word and examined how Black women writers like Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison and Toni Cade Bambara coded messages into their novels using sight and sound.

Dr. Nicholas says it was important to her to “join a department within the discipline of Black Studies and specifically one that is grounded in Afrocentricity, supports a diasporic view of Black people, and includes a focus, as Africana Studies chair Dr. Maulena Karenga says, on ‘cultural grounding, academic excellence and enrichment, and social engagement.'”

“It is an honor to join the faculty of one of the most prominent departments in the discipline,” she says.

Dr. Nicholas is excited to contribute to the success of her department, student-scholars and community, and sees teaching as a calling. 

“It is both challenging and greatly rewarding work, and it is not something to be taken lightly,” she says. “One of my favorite Toni Morrison quotes is also my practice. Morrison said, ‘I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’”