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Researcher Named National Humanities Center Fellow

UNC Charlotte researcher Akin Ogundiran has been named a Fellow at the National Humanities Center for the upcoming academic year, in one of the most competitive fellowship programs in the world. He will join 36 other distinguished scholars from 32 institutions across the United States and eight foreign countries working on a wide array of projects. With his fellowship, Ogundiran will pursue a project focused on Cultural History of the Atlantic Experience in the Yoruba Hinterland (West Africa), ca. 1550–1830. He is the second member of the UNC Charlotte faculty to be selected as a Fellow at the National Humanities Center.

Ogundiran serves as chair of the Africana Studies Department, and as Professor of Africana Studies, Anthropology & History. As a cultural historian, ethnographer, and archaeologist, his scholarly interests and publications focus broadly on emergent societies in Atlantic Africa and the African Diaspora over the past 700 years. These include the topics of community formation, landscape history, materiality, rituals, sacred grove, and empire. He has also written on historiography, black intellectual thoughts, and cultural heritage issues.

Click here to read more about this prestigious honor.

Professor Examines Use of Video Games in Class

At one time, news coverage centered on worries about video games’ negative influence on kids — but these days, they are making headlines because of the ways they are being used to help students learn. An avalanche of research supporting video games’ ability to encourage academic development has driven momentum on this issue.

Michael Thomas, UNC Charlotte educational leadership professor, studies the evolving relationship between education and games. He said the work of fellow researcher Constance Steinkuehler, associate professor of digital media, University of Wisconsin-Madison, sheds light on how video games help kids develop scientific habits of mind.

"Experts do not simply do something expertly. They share information with other experts. They trade ideas and strategies. They create tools to benefit the community of experts. They debate. They even fight. They collectively struggle to refine their skills and knowledge related to their expertise. This is true of gamers and it is true of scientists," Thomas explained.