Latest News

Bloomfield College Kicks Off 150th Anniversary Celebration
In 2018, the College will celebrate its 150th Anniversary. On September 14, the campus community launched its yearlong 150th Anniversary celebration.
Six New Faculty Members Join Bloomfield College
The six new full-time faculty members will strengthen the College’s classrooms in a number of areas from Education to Nursing to Humanities and the Arts.
Bloomfield College Welcomes 72 New Nursing Students at Convocation
The Convocation Ceremony, a signature event for Bloomfield College, serves as an official welcome to the College for nursing students and faculty.
Bloomfield College Announces New Head Coach of Women's Volleyball
Coach James Pompeo has reached the NCAA Tournament as a player, Assistant Coach, and Head Coach.
Bloomfield College Announces New Head Coach of Men's Soccer
Coach Orellana will lead a squad, one year removed from the CACC championship, and a program eager to return to postseason play after missing the tournament last fall.
Bloomfield College Announces New Head Coach of Women’s Soccer Team
Coach Minielli, whose career record is 247-247-51, comes to the College after 11 years as head women’s soccer coach at Wagner College.
Bloomfield College Students Participate in NCI Summer Internship Program
Over the summer, Bloomfield College served as a work site for the NCI (Newark College Institute). Eight Bloomfield College students from Newark were able to participate in the 8-week program as paid interns.

Ada McKenzie: Sankofa's Songbirds

By: Andrew Mees, Director of College and Athletics Communications       communications@bloomfield.edu

Inspiration can come in all shapes and sizes.

For Assistant Professor of World Literature Dr. Ada McKenzie, the inspiration for her recent paper Sankofa’s Songbirds: African American Children as Culture Bearers in Jazz-Infused Children’s Literature came in pint-sized form; the kindergarten students she taught in the early stages of her career in education.

It was during a typical period of youthful unrest when McKenzie gathered her students together to read them the popular children’s book Jazzy Miz Mozetta, a story illustrating the powers of jazz music in an urban African-American neighborhood. McKenzie was amazed by her students’ reaction and enthrallment in the tale, from the language utilized to accentuate the sounds of music to the artwork accompanying the story.

Through this educational experience, Sankofa’s Songbirds was born, a paper published in October by Routledge African Series in an anthology entitled IdentityQuest: African Youth in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture. Examining jazz-infused children’s literature and its ability serve as an educational tool, the work utilizes the Akan word “Sankofa” in its title, meaning, “to go back and retrieve what has been lost”. The choice highlights the musical genre’s ability to connect people of all ages (including the “Songbirds” of America’s younger generations), and further the cultural impact the style continues to have for years to come.

“In African-American and Afro-Caribbean cultures, the connections between various disciplines are invaluable, because the arts have played a pivotal role in shaping the cultural narratives which resound throughout the children’s literature,” McKenzie said. “That is why I felt jazz music was such an important topic to shed light on ⎯ it serves as a vehicle to connect generations, and these connections are so important to maintaining our cultural heritage.”

Earning a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UMass-Amherst in 2007, McKenzie has presented numerous academic papers, and while an undergraduate at Columbia University served as a Co-Editor of the book Building Self-Esteem in Young Women (published in 1999). Joining the Bloomfield College faculty in Sept. 2013, McKenzie hopes her work will help inspire educators to take a closer look at the powerful impact music can have on the preservation of cultural traditions.

“My hope is that this research will inspire other scholars and K-12 educators to think deeply about the connections between African-American music and literature, and to value the synergy that results from an interdisciplinary explanation of both,” she said. “My work shows that jazz can be used as an entertaining way to educate our youth, and pass our heritage on to the next generation. It is now up to us, as educators, to utilize its powers.”

 

Have an accomplishment or recent work you’d like to see highlighted? Send us an email at communications@bloomfield.edu and tell us your story.