IUPUI professor Obioma Nnaemeka was selected to receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the American University in Paris, which will be awarded in spring 2022.
Nnaemeka is a professor of French in the IU School of Liberal Arts World Languages and Cultures at IUPUI; Chancellor’s Professor; and adjunct professor in the School of Liberal Arts’ Africana Studies Program and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. She is an internationally recognized expert on the African diaspora, African women, developing nations, globalization, multiculturalism and human rights, and she is a widely sought-after consultant for the United Nations and foreign governments. Nnaemeka founded the Association of African Women Scholars, which is headquartered at IUPUI.
In a letter awarding Nnaemeka this honor, American University in Paris President Celeste Schenck explained the difference Nnaemeka has made.
“As a prolific and influential scholar, you have been a powerful voice in the fields of gender studies, African studies and postcolonial studies,” she said. “You have revolutionized and expanded feminist theories and discourses, bringing to the fore the urgent importance of cultural literacy, articulated in your seminal article, ‘Nego-feminism: Theorizing, Practicing, and Pruning Africa’s Way,’ now a mainstay of gender studies curricula.
“In your scholarship, you have addressed critical issues of democracy, health, human rights and conflict resolution, refusing to remain locked in an ivory tower of ideas and theory. You have instead steadfastly linked your scholarship with practice. Through initiatives such as CONDID, you meaningfully engage with the marginalized and the voiceless.
“Your international humanitarian work and your skill for capacity building and convocation of diverse constituencies have improved the lives of countless girls and women. You have ‘walked the walk’ through your service to others and through your leadership in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, minority issues, social justice, women’s health, girls’ education and democratization.”
Nnaemeka was the first recipient of the IUPUI Women’s Studies Faculty Achievement Award. She was named a Chancellor’s Professor in 2009.
Other past honorary degree recipients at the American University in Paris include Gene Kelly, Jane Goodall, Christiane Amanpour and Justice Stephen Breyer. Nnaemeka will receive her honorary degree at the university’s commencement ceremony in May.