Graduated: 2014, Masters in Pan African Studies
Thesis title: Black Effugium: On Three Modalities of Movement Meditations on traveling, on understanding, and on connecting in the tradition of Black writers
Graduate Student Information
Calvin Walds was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Albion College (Albion, MI) in 2012 with degrees in Political Science and Ethnic Studies, with a minor in History. He was the recipient of the Royal G. Hall Prize, which is awarded to the top graduating senior in Political Science. He completed an Honors thesis on “James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and the Negro’s Humanity” in which he engaged the non-fiction essays of Baldwin and Ellison and their critiques of the representation of African-Americans in protest literature. During his time at Albion, Calvin studied abroad in Durban, South Africa and completed field research on Black South African media, which included an internship at Genuine Magazine (based in Durban), and culminated in the paper “A Mouthpiece to Inform, to Inspire, and to Educate: The Media Development and Diversity Agency’s Impact on Black African Media in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal”. During his undergraduate tenure Calvin was an active participant in the Great Lakes College Association Student of Color Leadership Conferences and presented annually on topics such as “Urban Aesthetics: Greening Efforts in Detroit MI”. In 2012 Calvin was selected as a Humanity in Action Fellow and studied human and minority rights in Paris, France with fellows from the United States, France, and Turkey. As a graduate student at Syracuse University in the Pan-African Studies MA program in the department of African-American Studies, Calvin has worked to cultivate and build upon his undergraduate training in hopes of continuing towards a PhD program. His research interests are diverse and ever expanding, and include questions of memory, embodiment and racialization, literatures of the African Diaspora, narrative theory, violence, human and minority rights on the African continent and the United States, post-industrial geopolitics, Black and African philosophy and political theory (Black existentialism and Africana phenomenology), travel and Black expatriates, affect theory and emotion, and James Baldwin studies. In exploring these questions, Calvin has presented at graduate student conferences at Duquesne University, Stony Brook University (Manhattan), and the University of Michigan. Additionally, he has completed field research towards his MA thesis (which interrogates questions of movement, subjectivity, and human connections for people of African descent) in Amsterdam, Ghana, and Detroit, MI. As addendums to this field research, he worked with Cheerful Hearts Foundation in Ghana in addressing child labor in fishing communities outside of Accra and taught English to Grade 6 students. In Detroit, MI he worked with the international organization buildOn with high school students in undertaking leadership, personal development, and community service activities. Calvin is committed to community engagement as part of his academic journey and continues to work with MBAD’s African Bead Museum in Detroit, MI, a site of artistic activism, and the Detroit LIFE (Leaders Invested for Future Equality) Coalition. He is currently interning with Inkululeko (based in Syracuse, NY) a non-profit organization that works in Grahamstown, South Africa with high school aged students. Calvin is deeply appreciative of the Pan-African studies program and continually inspired by the work--academic, artistic, and activist--of the members of the Pan-African studies community.