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The Africana Studies Program Grieves the Loss of Dr. Ángel David Nieves

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Dr. Ángel David Nieves taking photos of presenters at the Black Feminist Studies Fall 2022 Service-Learning Presentations on December 7, 2022.
Dr. Ángel David Nieves speaking with Dr. Margaret Burnham and community members at “Looking for Other Worlds: Black Feminism and Haitian Fiction Book Launch” on November 1, 2022.
Dr. Ángel David Nieves introducing author Dr. Régine Michelle Jean-Charles at “Looking for Other Worlds: Black Feminism and Haitian Fiction Book Launch” on November 1, 2022.
Dr. Ángel David Nieves laughing with author Dr. Régine Michelle Jean-Charles at “Looking for Other Worlds: Black Feminism and Haitian Fiction Book Launch” on November 1, 2022.
Dr. Ángel David Nieves chats with Dr. Kabria Baumgartner and Jacquetta Hester at “50 Years of African American Studies to Build a Better World featuring Dr. Keisha Blain” on November 7, 2023.

To the Members of the Northeastern Community,

The Africana Studies Program is tremendously saddened and shocked by the loss of our brilliant, beloved, and esteemed colleague–Dr. Ángel David Nieves. Dr. Nieves joined Northeastern University from San Diego State University in 2020 as the Dean’s Professor of Public and Digital Humanities and Professor of Africana Studies. He was without question a coveted hire for the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH). An architect, public historian, archivist, and scholar working at the intersections of race, gender and sexuality, Dr. Nieves was renowned in his field for cutting-edge scholarship in digital history and experimental online platforms. 

Throughout his NU career, Dr. Nieves took on an astounding number of leadership roles, including but not limited to becoming the Director of the Graduate Program in Public History, Director of Public Humanities, and Director of the Humanities Center. He was the Lead Co-PI on a $500K Planning Grant from the Mellon Foundation for the ground-breaking project Reckonings: A Local History Platform for the Community-Archivist. He continued his work on his digital book project, Apartheid Heritage(s): A Spatial History of South Africa’s Black Townships. He co-directed the NEH funded Summer Institute, “Engaging Geography in the Humanities,” featured in Northeastern Global News. He co-edited a volume of critical essays charting the diverse territory of digital humanities scholarship, “People, Practice, Power: Digital Humanities outside the Center.” In addition to this, during  his short time at Northeastern, Dr. Nieves taught, mentored, and advised numerous undergraduate and graduate students upon whom he has  left an indelible mark.

Beyond his extensive list of accomplishments and accolades, Dr. Nieves was known for his limitless generosity, exuberant wit, and unyielding  activism. He will be remembered with deep affection as someone who brought so much life and laughter to the rooms he was in, and someone who steadfastly operated from a place of love and care for others. As a committed institution builder adept in strategizing and visioning, Dr. Nieves contributed significantly to Africana Studies, and would often speak passionately  about our future directions. He was a tireless advocate for the program and the field at large who always spoke truth to power no matter the context. Dr. Nieves was also known in our program as someone who was inherently, unabashedly loving, and touched the lives of all those he encountered, from faculty to undergraduate and graduate students to staff to community members.

It is impossible to describe the immensity of this loss. As bell hooks wrote, “love knows no shame. To be loving is to be open to grief, to be touched by sorrow, even sorrow that is unending.”  Indeed, all of us who are his comrades, colleagues, co-conspirators, students, mentees, and friends, experience this grief and sorrow now. His passing came within a year after the passing of his husband, and we can only hope that they are now together, relieved of any pain, any sorrow; and resting  in peace and in power. 

Thank you, Dr. Nieves. We love you. We will miss you. 

With sadness and in solidarity,

The Northeastern Africana Studies Program

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