Magana Kabugi is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English. His research interests include African American literary and cultural studies, the history of black education, and the sustainability of black institutions, with a particular focus on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
His dissertation, titled The Souls of Black Colleges: Cultural Production and the Sustainability of Black Institutional Identity, poses the question: the current debate on the sustaining of HBCUs is mostly framed in terms of funding and monetary resources; but what does it mean to sustain the unique cultural and intellectual identities that lie at the heart of HBCU life? By examining how cultural production (such as literature, art, and publishing) functions as an institutional resource that shapes black institutional identity, The Souls of Black Colleges argues that the discourse regarding the future of HBCUs must take into account an understanding and appreciation of how cultural production enabled HBCUs to carve our their own intellectual and artistic territory as the nation's leading repositories of Africana knowledge.
Magana received his B.A. in literature from American University in 2014 and his M.A. in English from Vanderbilt University in 2016. Prior to Vanderbilt, Magana founded and served for six years as executive director of The Reading Workshop, a Washington D.C.-based community program aimed at promoting childhood literacy through interactive storytimes and arts education.