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Saturday, April 1, 2023

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This is Brown's first year as a professor at SDSU. This is Brown's first year as a professor at SDSU.

7 Things About Ajani Brown

Ajani Brown is a double SDSU alumni and professor of Africana Studies.

Ajani Brown is a professor of Africana Studies at San Diego State University.

"My experience at SDSU has been and continues to be positive," he said. "My journey with the Aztec family has spanned well over a decade — first as an undergrad, then graduate student and now as a professor in the Africana Studies department."

Brown's SDSU beginnings were humble. He worked at the Open Air Theater in the concessions stands and at Viejas Arena for Aztec Shops.  "Transitioning into the faculty ranks, my connection to the university continues to grow and deepen," he said.

The creative and nurturing environment was what inspired Brown to return to SDSU to teach.

"Becoming colleagues with some of my former instructors has been great," he said. "They offer me constant encouragement as I progress in making my mark in the collegiate academic field. From SDSU student to professor,  my goal is to be a point of inspiration for my students, as they make decisions about their future." 

1. What inspired you do to this kind of work?

Africana studies, English literature and creative writing are my favorite topics. The ability to contribute to these fields academically, while working on creative projects inspires me to do this kind of work.  It’s not work if you love what you do.

2. How long have you worked at SDSU?

This is my first year as a professor at SDSU. Previously I have held teaching positions elsewhere but I am happy to return to my alma mater.

3. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

A mentor once told me to “create opportunities for yourself and others.”  In doing this he explained that you create a community that grows exponentially and reaps the benefits collectively.  In creative fields, such as writing, this hold true, regardless if it’s non-fiction or fiction projects.

4. What is your favorite thing about your job?

I enjoy the academic freedom most. Afro-Futurism is a burgeoning field of study that I’m excited to spear head at SDSU. I proposed and developed a class called Afro-Futurism for the Africana studies department, which will be offered next spring semester. We will explore science fiction and fantasy in film, literature, comics and music, as viewed through a black cultural lens. I will be giving a lecture on the topic at San Diego Comic Fest in October.

5. What about your field or position do you think would surprise people the most?

Often people are surprised by the amount of time it takes for professors to prepare for one class.  The information is not magically downloaded into our brains.  To be current in our field, we have to stay up on the trends through continuous research and involvement. For me, the research is the fun part. 

6. What is the most interesting or surprising thing about you?

It is highly likely that if you see me at a comic book convention I will be in full costume. Being a kid at heart helps you live longer — I own it!

7. If you could only rescue one thing from your burning office, what would that be?

The one thing I would rescue would be my composition book. I’m always writing down action plans for various projects and outlining stories I’m writing.

Bonus Questions:

What is your favorite kind of music/what are your favorite bands?

My musical taste shifts, but I will say that Daft Punk never leaves my play lists. I like their sound because they combine multiple genres such as, classical, hip hop and electronica and then make it their own.

What is your favorite sports team or who is your favorite individual athlete?

Cheering for Team USA during the summer Olympics gets me hyped, regardless of the event. Imagine a guy yelling at the television during the final round of team archery or the 100 meter dash — that’s me.