Saturday, February 15, 2020

Candice Love Jackson's crucial contributions to African American Literary Studies at SIUE

Candice Love Jackson and Eugene B. Redmond

Candice Love Jackson taught at SIUE for only a few years 2010 - 2012, before moving into an administration position at another institution. But during her brief time at SIUE, Jackson made crucial contributions to African American literary studies that shaped the course of what we've been doing here ever since.

Jackson arrived to our department after having served as department chair at Tougaloo College from 2004 - 2010. During that time, Jackson had hosted a film series and lecture series. She did extensive work with programming, as she sought to make, in her words, "English the IT major" at Tougaloo.

I had been doing extensive programming at SIUE prior to Jackson's arrival, but when she showed up, we began having active conversations about how to make the related courses in literature really stand out. In other words, we wanted to make African American literature an IT course of study at SIUE.

During her time here, we expanded our course offerings. For the 2011-2012 academic year, Jackson and I taught a combined 15 African American literature courses. I don't think the department had ever offered so many classes on black lit in a year. But since that time, we haven't turned back, teaching 14 or 15 African American-related classes each semester since 2012.

Just as important, an active conversation about building African American literary studies at SIUE has persisted since that moment in 2010. We were able to make the case for making an additional hire in African American literature in 2015 in large part based on the expanded courses Jackson and I created in 2010. We've been able to make a case for yet another hire in 2020.

Looking back on things, Jackson taught me the value of trying to make s program or major the it one.

A notebook on English majors from Tougaloo College
Candice Love Jackson's crucial contributions to English majors at Tougaloo College

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