Dr. Crystal Eddins

How black communities could come together to make things better

Growing up within a large extended family in the working-class, predominately black South side neighborhood in Ypsilanti, MI, I’ve always been an observer of human relationships and societal patterns. As a member of the Black Student Alliance as an undergraduate student at Michigan State University, I came to Africana Studies through interest in activism, social change and social movements, and collective agency in black communities. I was becoming more and more aware of the persistence of institutional racism in our society and the ways in which slavery and Jim Crow segregation continue to impact African-Americans lived reality, and I wanted to understand how black communities could come together to change those conditions. After having several opportunities to travel abroad to West Africa and the Caribbean and learning more about the commonalities, contours, and contrasting experiences among members of the African Diaspora, I became particularly fascinated with the Haitian Revolution – the uprising of enslaved people that resulted in the first abolition of slavery in the “New World” and the end of French colonialism in Haiti. I was, and remain, curious about how groups of individuals from socially, economically, and politically marginalized communities organize themselves to overturn racist social institutions and create lasting change for equality and freedom.

Research and Teaching Interests

  • African Diaspora Studies
  • Historical Sociology
  • Social Movements and Contentious Politics
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Postcolonial Sociology
  • Digital Humanities
  • Women and Gender Studies
  • 18th-19th Century Caribbean