2024 Black History Month Keynote: Dr. Ashley Howard

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Intercultural and International Student Services (IISS)


Ashley Howard, who earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and is an assistant professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Iowa, was the keynote speaker highlighting Black History month in February at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. Howard, whose research interests include the Black Midwest, social movements and the global history of racial violence.

Howard's forthcoming book Prairie Fires analyzes the 1960s urban rebellions in the Midwest and the ways race, class, gender and region played critical and overlapping roles in defining resistance to racialized oppression.

Her scholarship has appeared in the Journal of African American History, American Historian, Labor Studies Journal and Middle West Review. Her article, titled "Then the Burnings Began," was winner of the 2018 James L. Sellers Memorial Prize. Howard’s work has also appeared in numerous media outlets including the Financial Times, Washington Post, BBC World News Hour, National Public Radio and Al Jazeera English. In 2023, she and co-investigator Colin Gordon were awarded a Mellon Foundation grant to examine race-based property restrictions in Iowa. As an educator, Howard encourages her students to be effective writers, critical thinkers and active global citizens. In documenting incarcerated people’s experience with solitary confinement or identifying the connection between history and memory through a two-week Civil Rights tour, her students develop their skills through experiential learning.