History department to welcome new professor in fall 2020

The history department’s new addition will also teach Africana Studies

Nneka Dennie said she hopes to bring her research to coursework at Washington and Lee. Photo courtesy of Nneka Dennie.

Nneka Dennie said she hopes to bring her research to coursework at Washington and Lee. Photo courtesy of Nneka Dennie.

Maggie Hawley

Since long-time history professor Ted DeLaney announced his retirement, the history department is left with big shoes to fill.

But department head and professor Molly Michelmore said the search for an additional faculty member has settled on a candidate.

Nneka Dennie will join the Washington and Lee faculty in fall 2020 as an assistant professor of history and core faculty of the Africana Studies Program.

Dennie is currently finishing her post-doctoral research at Davidson College on black feminism and respectability politics.

Dennie will teach an introduction to Africana Studies course (AFCA 130) and other interdisciplinary courses related to both the history department and the women, gender and sexuality studies program.

In the past, Dennie has taught courses on African-American history and feminism, including “Women and Slavery in the Black Atlantic,” which involved traveling to Barbados to study historical documents.
Dennie said she hopes to continue teaching courses like this at Washington and Lee University and to teach across different disciplines.

“The ability to contribute to history, Africana studies, and WGSS is really ideal for me, considering that I’m a historian whose research and teaching center black women in the United States and the Caribbean,” Dennie said in an email. “I couldn’t have asked for a better job.”

Dennie said she’s also looking forward to immersing herself in Lexington history.

“I hope that by coming to W&L, I’ll be able to help students further develop nuanced understandings of the history that surrounds them,” she said.

Though the history department is losing a beloved professor with DeLaney’s retirement, its future looks promising.

Michelmore said she’s excited for Dennie to join the department.

“The history department is evolving,” she said. “We hope that bringing younger people on staff will help us to continue to grow and to participate more broadly in the university as a whole.”

But Michelmore clarified that Dennie won’t be a replacement for DeLaney.

“In some ways, Ted is the institutional history of this place,” she said.