The Institute for Intercultural and Anthropological Studies at Western Michigan University provides WMU students and employees as well as community members new opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary research, experience collaborative instruction and engage in intercultural activities. It is home to WMU’s existing undergraduate major and minor in anthropology, as well as the recently reinstated African American and African Studies major and minor.


  • Monique Haley, Assistant Professor in Dance and IIAS, is the recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Grant for her work on “Cerqua Rivera, Soul Remedy.” 
  • Dr. Gary Marquardt, Faculty Specialists II and Dr. Michelle Hrivinyak, Faculty Specialist II were both recipients of The WMU University Libraries’ Open Textbook Adoption Grant. Both will receive $1,000 grants to develop, adopt and use open access textbook materials and resources for their courses to enhance students’ access to affordable textbook options.
  • Dr. Mariam Konate, Associate Professor, and Dr. Fredah Mainah, part-time instructor presented their work on the panel, “Belonging as a Dimension of Diversity: Beyond Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” at the 20th Hawaii International Conference on Education.
  • Dr. Staci Perryman-Clark, Director of IIAS, was featured in the College of Arts and Sciences alumni magazine. The article focuses on activist scholarship for equity and justice. You can read more about Dr. Perryman-Clark's work on page 11 of the magazine, or access the complete issue at
  • Dr. Elise DeCamp, Faculty Specialist I, received an Instructional Development Project Grant for her proposal, "Climate Change Across the Curriculum: A Learning Community," awarded in the sum of $3,550.00 by the Office of Faculty Development.

New IIAS Faculty Member, Monique Haley, Writes Chapter for Jazz Book

Professor Monique HaleyMonique Haley, a newly appointed assistant faculty member that has a joint appointment with IIAS and the College of Fine Arts, recently wrote a chapter titled "Cultivating African Diasporic Ethos and Cultural Values in Contemporary Jazz Dance" in the book Rooted Jazz Dance: Africanist Aesthetics and Equity. Twenty-First Century.  The book will be available for purchase starting January 11, 2022.  Halifu Osumare, author of Dancing in Blackness: A Memoir is quoted saying the book “explores the long overdue recognition of jazz dance as historically a Black American form of dance, steeped in Africanist aesthetics that parallel the cultural history of Black people in the country. It is not only a timely correction to our dance culture, but is also necessary for proper assessment of who we are as a national culture.”  IIAS would like to welcome Professor Haley and congratulate her on this esteemed accomplishment!

In Memoriam of Former Director of Africana Studies, Dr. Onaiwu Wilson Ogbomo

Dr. Onaiwu OgbomoIt is indeed with a very heavy heart that I am posting my memory of Dr. Ogbomo. I have always referred to him as Dr. Ogbomo because of the respect that I have for him as my elder. It still feels so surreal for me to refer to him in the past tense. 

I first met Dr. Ogbomo in 2007 when I joined the Africana Studies Program at Western Michigan University. Dr. Ogbomo took me under his wing not only as a junior faculty, but also as a sister. He was a great mentor to me and an absolute joy to have as a colleague. Dr. Ogbomo was a knowledgeable and respected scholar and teacher, a leader, a team player, and a people's person. If you ever were down or in a bad mood, then Dr. Ogbomo would have been the right person to run into. He had a great sense of humor and liked to crack jokes to make others feel good. He was extremely smart and witty. 

Dr. Ogbomo was a very loving and caring person and always willing to offer advice and help to people he cared about. He gave great and useful advice on issues beyond academia. He was a selfless person. He was a great listener and will get out of his way to help anyone in need.

Dr. Ogbomo was a very humble, down to earth, and approachable person. He was personable, and always had a very positive outlook on life. He was the epitome of gratefulness. I remember whenever I would call him to inquire about his health, he would tell me not to worry because he was so grateful to be alive.  

Adieu mon cher frére! I will greatly miss you! May you Rest in Eternal Peace! Amen!

Mariam Konaté, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of African American & African Studies & Gender and Women's Studies

A full obituary and information on funeral services are located here.

Ph.D. Candidate Deirdre Courtney Awarded NSF Fellowship

woman standing

Deirdre Courtney, was awarded a Fellowship from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium for her project focusing on the development of climate change educational materials and curriculum geared towards vulnerable communities in the state of Michigan. Michelle Hrivnyak will serve as PI.

The Michigan Space Grant Consortium is part of a NASA training grant and their mission is 'to create, develop, and promote programs that reflect NASA strategic interests and support cooperation between academia, industry, state and local government in science and technology in Michigan'.