Shawn O. Utsey appointed chair of AFAM

July 1, 2024

Utsey has served as acting chair of the department since September.

Shawn Utsey

The College of Humanities and Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of Shawn O. Utsey, Ph.D., to the position of chair of the Department of African American Studies effective July 1. Shawn has served as acting chair of the department since September. 

Dr. Utsey is a professor with joint appointments in the Department of Psychology and the Department of African American Studies. A faculty member in the College of Humanities and Sciences since 2004, Dr. Utsey has served two previous terms as the AFAM department chair and brings a rich knowledge of the operations of the department and of the College and Humanities and Sciences. 

Dr. Utsey is an engaged scholar who studies how race-related stress impacts the physical, psychological, and social well-being of African Americans. Most recently, he has examined how trauma is manifested in the victims of racial violence. Dr. Utsey is also an active filmmaker whose most recent feature-length documentary, “The Central Lunatic Asylum for Colored Insane,” premiered last September and explored the history of the first psychiatric facility for African Americans in the U.S. His previous documentaries include, “Until the Well Runs Dry: Medicine and the Exploitation of Black Bodies” and “Meet Me in the Bottom: The Struggle to Reclaim Richmond’s African Burial Ground.” 

Dr. Utsey currently teaches undergraduate courses in psychology and African American studies. He received his Ph.D. from Fordham University in counseling psychology.