2024 Faculty and Staff
Director, Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies
Associate Professor of History and Director of the Africana Studies Program
Office: Buckman Hall 213
Phone: (901) 843-3525
Charles McKinney, Associate Professor of History, Chair of Africana Studies, and Director of the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies is a specialist in African American history and twentieth century U.S. social history, particularly the history of the Civil Rights Movement. He is the author of Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina, which chronicles a movement from the 1930s to the 1970’s. He is the co-editor of An Unseen Light: Black Struggles for Freedom in Memphis, Tennessee, and From Rights To Lives: The Evolution of the Black Freedom Struggle. His current research focuses on the impact of local leadership on civil rights activity in Memphis, and his regional interests include the history of segregation, civil rights, and social justice movements in Memphis. Previous Institute projects he has mentored have included historical research on Civil Rights activity in Memphis and surrounding communities; research on African American political activity in Memphis; the digital divide in Memphis; and gender dynamics within the Civil Rights movement.
Adjunct instructor of Music
Archives Manager and Team Lead at the Mike Curb Institute for Music
Office: 101 Hassell Hall
Phone: (859) 585-1097
Dr. J. Tyler Fritts is an ethnomusicologist and ethnographer that has taught classes in African American Music, the blues, American popular music, World Music, and the music of Latin America; he has also taught Music, Myth, and Magic, a course that focuses on the connection between mythology, folklore, and music. He currently serves as the Archives Manager and Writing/Research/Archives Team Lead at the Mike Curb Institute of Music, where he oversees the series Beyond Beale, a student-run podcast that explores Memphis music and music communities through original ethnographic and historical research. Fritts’s research focuses on community, tradition, myth, and identity in American folk and popular music, specifically in the blues and the music of Memphis. He has presented his work at local, national, and international conferences. His article on blues composition can be found in the Winter 2020 edition of the journal Ethnomusicology. His essay and liner notes on Memphis blues musician Furry Lewis will be published as part of the upcoming Memphis Blues: 1914 – 1969 Box Set by Bear Family Records. In 2019, he served as the Visiting Professor of Popular Music and Media at Universität Paderborn in Paderborn, Germany.
Assistant Professor of Educational Studies
Laura Taylor is an Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, where she seeks to explore how we can build urban schools that are both humanizing and intellectually challenging spaces for students. This work necessarily also examines the political, economic, cultural, and historical reasons why schools are not always already providing these experiences for students. Her research draws on ethnography, discourse analysis, and critical media analysis and is informed by critical social theories. Past research projects have focused on the effects of neoliberalism (especially high-stakes testing) on teaching and learning in public schools; how new and veteran teachers conceptualize teaching for social justice; and how white supremacy and language ideologies intersect to create linguistic racism within schools (and especially within English classes). Currently, she is collaborating on two research projects exploring recent educational policy changes. The first explores how teachers and parents are responding to a local district policy that will retain second-grade students based on standardized tests of literacy; and the second explores how potential and practices teachers are responding to a new state law prohibiting discussions of race and racism.
Visiting Professor, Urban Studies-Health Equity Program, Public Health Director, Health in All Spaces
Andrea Jacobo is currently a Visiting Professor at Rhodes College within the Urban Studies-Health Equity Program. Along with teaching, Andrea is also the Public Health Director for the Health in All Spaces grant, a multi-organization initiative addressing vaccine equity within the Memphis-Shelby County area. With 10 years of community health experience, Andrea has implemented various evidence-based nutrition and physical activity programs across the lifespan, co-led community of practices focused on health equity, and facilitated strategic planning processes for policy, systems and environmental change. She believes that community-centered, people-centered approaches are key to addressing health inequities. She has a passion for community health, culture & arts, and uses design thinking as a tool for community and organizational capacity building. Andrea is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Public Health degree at UC Berkeley. She has a Masters of Public Health from The University of Memphis and Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Miami.
Associate Professor, Urban Studies; Director, Lynne and Henry Turley Memphis Center
Office: 206 West Campus
Phone: (901) 843-3379
Charles L. Hughes is Associate Professor of Urban Studies and the Director of the Lynne & Henry Turley Memphis Center. He is a historian of race and popular culture in the United States, with a particular interest in the connections between Black music and cultural politics. He's written two books, Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South, about the sounds and symbolism of popular music in the 1960s and 1970s, and Why Bushwick Bill Matters, a critical biography of the legendary disabled Houston hip-hop artist. He edited a special issue of Southern Cultures dedicated to “The Disabled South” in 2023, and he’s the co-editor of the online music newsletter No Fences Review. He’s written articles in places like Slate, Washington Post, Oxford American, American Quarterly, and others, as well as contributing the liner notes for Jason Isbell’s Southeastern: 10th Anniversary Edition. He was a regular contributor to the podcast Teaching Hard History. He’s writing a new book about African Americans and pro wrestling, as well as articles related to disability and hip-hop, a disability history of popular music, and anthemic traditions within Black country music. He's a voting member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a participant in Nashville Scene annual country-music almanac. A native of Wisconsin, his intellectual and teaching roots are in the interdisciplinary and engaged tradition practiced by the African American Studies Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Assistant Profess, Spanish
Office: Southwestern Hall
Phone: (901) 8433743
Bruce Jackson is an Assistant Professor of Spanish who teaches courses related to Spanish language learning, Hispanic cultures, and the Black/Afro-Latinx experience in Spanish-speaking communities. Aside from teaching, Dr. Jackson advises student organizations on providing educational and advocacy resources to students on a range of issues concerned with access. He has recently begun collaborating with local non-profit organizations and community organizers to support projects that engage and connect students with advocacy-oriented initiatives in Memphis. Dr. Jackson is especially interested in working with students who are invested in social justice and whose academic and creative pursuits center the voices and identities of Black/Afro-Latinx communities.