Faculty Spotlight

Dr. James Blackwell
Instructor of American Studies and Humanities

Aug. 2020

Incoming juniors will not be the only new faces at NCSSM this fall. Durham native Dr. James Blackwell is coming back to his hometown to join NCSSM’s faculty as a new Instructor of Humanities. Dr. Blackwell will be teaching Race, Leadership, and Ethics in NCSSM Online during the spring semester as well as in the residential program this fall. He’ll also be teaching two sections of NCSSM’s residential American Studies course.

Dr. Blackwell comes to NCSSM from Michigan State University, where he recently completed his Ph.D. in African history. His dissertation, which examines Igbo labor migration between southeastern Nigeria and British Southern Cameroon, 1900-1975, grew out of archival research and field research in southeastern Nigeria, where he collected oral interviews. While in East Lansing, Dr. Blackwell taught numerous courses in U.S. History, African History, Sports History, and World History. His research interests include African American History, African History, Labor and Migration, Consumption History, and Digital Humanities.

In addition to his Ph.D. from MSU, Dr. Blackwell holds both a B.A. and M.A. in history from North Carolina Central University.

Dr. Blackwell is happy to return to Durham, where he attended Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School on the campus of North Carolina Central University. He was a member of the school’s inaugural class. History was always a passion, as well as science (especially astronomy), German, and poetry. He credits numerous teachers throughout his school career for being influential and showing him how to be a better teacher, mentor, researcher, and person.

Dr. Blackwell began his teaching career as a history teacher at Durham’s Southern High School of Engineering. When not teaching, you can find Dr. Blackwell tracking down new restaurants in the Bull City, watching sports, or finding new ways to win in the video game series, “Civilization.”

“I look forward to joining the NCSSM community because of what it represents to both the city and the state,” Dr. Blackwell said. “I look forward to the opportunity to help each student grow in pursuit of their dreams and passions. While things seem a bit upside-down because of COVID-19, I do look forward to meeting all my students—in person or the digital space.”