National Institute on Aging

Four African American Scholars Who Are Taking on New Assignments

Ayanna Thompson, director of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and a professor in the department of English at Arizona State University was appointed a Regents Professor at the university. She is the author of several books including Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Professor Thompson is a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University in New York City, where she majored in English. She holds a master’s degree in English from Sussex University in England, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar. Dr. Thompson earned a Ph.D. in English and American literature at Harvard University.

Joshua Idassi was appointed state program leader for sustainable agriculture and natural resources for South Carolina State University 1890 Research & Extension. Dr. Idassi was an agriculture and natural resources specialist at North Carolina A&T State University.

Dr. Idassi is a graduate of the University of Kiril I Metodij in Macedonia. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee and a Ph.D. from Mississippi State University.

Ruha Benjamin was promoted to full professor of African American studies at Princeton University in New Jersey. She is the author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press 2013) and Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (Polity 2019).

Professor Benjamin received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Spelman College in Atlanta. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Gary Hoover was appointed professor of economics at Tulane University in New Orleans, effective January 1. He will also serve as director of Tulane University’s Murphy Institute. Professor Hoover has chaired the economics department at the University of Oklahoma since 2015. Earlier, he taught for 16 years at the University of Alabama.

Professor Hoover is the founding editor of the Journal of Economics, Race and Policy. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Hoover earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in economics from Washington University in St. Louis.


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