Faculty & Staff


Dr. Natanya Duncan
Director, Africana Studies

Associate Professor, History
Queens College, CUNY

Natanya Duncan an Associate Professor of History. A historian of the African Diaspora, her research and teaching focuses on global freedom movements of the 20th and 21st Century. Duncan’s research interest includes constructions of identity and nation building amongst women of color; migrations; color and class in Diasporic communities; and the engagements of intellectuals throughout the African Diaspora. Her forthcoming University of Illinois Press book, An Efficient Womanhood: Women and the Making of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, focuses on the distinct activist strategies in-acted by women in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which Duncan calls an efficient womanhood. Following the ways women in the UNIA scripted their own understanding of Pan Africanism, Black Nationalism and constructions of Diasporic Blackness, the work traces the blending of nationalist and gendered concerns amongst known and lesser known Garveyite women.

Lisa Betty
Associate Director, Africana Studies

Queens College, CUNY

Lisa Betty is a PhD candidate in History at Fordham University. She serves as Graduate Assistant for the Bronx African American History Project supporting Bronx community collaboration and development of the oral history digital archive. Lisa studies modern history focusing on the themes of Labor, Migration, and Diaspora in the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa.  In addition to her research within academic spaces, she has worked in the field of nonprofit advocacy serving in organizations that advocate for children, families and incarcerated populations.

Council Members

Edisa Weeks
Acting Chair, Drama, Theatre & Dance
Queens College

Edisa Weeks is a choreographer, educator, videographer, and director of DELIRIOUS DANCES, which merges theater with dance to explore the beauty and complexity of life. In her work she seeks to create intimate environments in which to experience and interact with contemporary dance. The New York Times described Weeks’ work as having “A lot of imagination and a gift for simple but striking visual effects.” Her work has been performed in a variety of venues including swimming pools, storefront windows, senior centers, sidewalks and living rooms, as well as at Chashama Theater, The Clarice Smith Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Dixon Place, Emory University, The Guggenheim Museum, Harlem Stage, Inside Out at Jacob’s Pillow, Joe’s Pub, Joyce SoHo, The Kennedy Center, The Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, The Mermaid Parade, The National Black Arts Festival, The Puffin Room, Summer Stages Dance Festival and The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard. Internationally her work has been produced in Canada, England, Italy, Japan, Spain. Most recently DELIRIOUS performed in living rooms in Berlin, Germany for the Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s 50th anniversary celebration.

François Pierre-Louis
Professor, Political Science
CUNY Graduate Center

FRANÇOIS PIERRE-LOUIS PhD is professor of political science at Queens College, CUNY. His research interests include immigration, transnationalism, and Haitian and Caribbean politics. He served in the private cabinet of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991 and on the senior staff of Prime Minister Jacques-Édouard Alexis in 2007-2008. He is the author of Haitians in New York City: Transnationalism and Hometown Association (2006), co-editor of Migrant Crossroads: Globalization, Incorporation and Placemaking in Queens New York (Temple University 2021). His articles have appeared in US Catholics, Wadabagei, the Journal of Haitian Studies, Education and Urban Society, The Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Latin America Perspectives, and the Journal of Black Studies. He served as a senior advisor for the Haiti-CUNY Program to the Chancellor of the City University of New York from 2011 to 2015.

Simone Yearwood
Associate Dean & Chief Librarian

Simone L. Yearwood is an Associate Professor of Library. She began working at Queens College in 1997 as support staff in the Circulation Department. In her current role as Deputy Chief Librarian, Simone represents the Library at all levels (campus, university and national), on issues and policies relating to research and scholarly service delivery and communication. She has leadership, management, policy, budget, planning and implementation responsibilities.

Advisors to the Director 

Norka Blackman-Richards
Director, Percy E. Sutton SEEK Program, Queens College

Committed to ensuring the academic success of students from challenging backgrounds who may sometimes feel “We don’t belong in college.” Teaching English in her garage in Costa Rica so that locals could get jobs in that nation’s tourism industry. Establishing a nonprofit that has trained thousands of women in Jamaica, Trinidad, St. Lucia, Costa Rica, Panama, Canada, and the United States to be advocates and leaders for other women, helping them see the possibilities within themselves. Elected officials in the United States have taken notice of Blackman-Richards too, honoring her with many awards and citations. In 2011, she received the Outstanding Service Award: 100th Anniversary Women’s Day by the Women’s International Network. But one of the most meaningful, she says, is the Jewel of Queens College Award for Managerial Excellence, received in 2014 when Blackman-Richard was assistant director of SEEK.

Dr. Trina Yearwood
Interim Assoc. Dean – Queens College

Yearwood, a former high school English teacher and literacy coach, is an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Education’s Department of Childhood, Bilingual, and Special Education, and in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Department of Africana Studies. She also plays a significant role in the Brooklyn College Urban Community Teachers (UCT) Program.

Maureen Pierce-Anyan
Director of The Queens College Office of Minority Affairs and Pre-Professional Advisement

Serves as Director of the Queens College Office of Minority Affairs and (Pre-Professional Advisement. The Office connects African/Black American, Latino Hispanic students, and others who identify as under-represented with OC’s wide range of resources. Its mission is to enable the college to attract, nurture, retain and graduate an ethnically diverse student body and to encourage and assist students of colour in preparing for careers and graduate/professional school.

Affiliated Faculty

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