Idris Kabir Syed is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies and curator of the Uumbaji Gallery in Oscar Ritchie Hall
A native of Kent, Ohio, Mr. Syed graduated from Kent State University with a B.A. in English and Pan-African Studies in 1994, an M.Ed in Community Counseling in 2001 and a MFA in 2014.
As an undergraduate at Kent State, Mr. Syed was actively involved in numerous extracurricular activities, including Editor of Black United Students' biannual publication, Uhuru, and Middle East Chair of Progressive Students Network, as well as an active member of the May 4th Task Force. As a graduate student and after receiving his M.Ed., Mr. Syed extended his involvement in local community-based activism and community development through counseling in Cuyahoga, Summit and Portage Counties. Upon return to Kent State as a faculty member, Mr. Syed has continued local engagement as faculty adviser to the May 4th Task Force from 2010-present.
An accomplished ceramicist, Mr. Syed has shown his work both nationally and internationally. His work and studies have caused him to travel widely across Asia and India and, in 1996-1997, Mr Syed taught English both at Chosun University and at a private language institute in Gwang-ju, South Korea. In 2004, he was invited to, and participated in, an international ceramics conference/workshop in Aomori, Japan.
Because of his multiple interests in Pan-African Studies, his counseling practice, and his art, Mr. Syed's research interests are, accordingly, widely varied. He has published articles on topics ranging from literature to Buddhism, as well as Art and Pan-African Studies. He has also presented papers (on topics ranging from politics to popular music) at conferences in the United States and internationally.
Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities
- 2006 Book Review of Okantah, Mwatabu S., Reconnecting Memories: Dreams No Longer Deferred. African American Review (4) 600-602
- 2007 Book Review of Diawara, Manthia., We Will Not Budge: An African Exile in the World. Journal of Pan African Studies (10) 157-159
- 2008 Presented paper “She Know She Tallawah: Carolyn Cooper’s Contribution To Pan-African Studies.” 18th Annual Association for Black Culture Centers Conference, Rutgers University November 6-9.
- 2011 Presented paper “African and Islamic Influences in Maroon Culture: A Syncretic View” at the Third International Maroon Conference in Charles Town, Portland, Jamaica, June 22-25, 2011.
- 2011 Panel/paper presentation “Africa, Islam and the Americas: Legacies and Pedagogy.” At the International Conference “Africa and People of African Descent: Issues and Actions to Re-envision the Future.” Howard University September 14-16.
- 2011 Published in Great Lives From History: African Americans. Ed. Carl L. Bankston III. Salem Press: Pasadena California. Entries on Asa G. Hilliard, Jacob Lawrence, Edmonia Lewis, Audre Lorde, and Bobby Seale.
- 2012 Published in Great Lives From History: Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. Ed. Carl L. Bankston III. Salem Press: Pasadena California. Entries on Yuri Kochiyama and Toshiko Takaezu
- 2012 Presented paper “Africanisms in Art: An examination of Multi Modal Art in the Historical and Modern Charles Town Maroon Community.” At the International “Slavery, Colonialism and African Identities in the Atlantic World Conference.” At Kent State University, April 26-27, 2012.
- 2012 Group Exhibit (Ceramics), 1st Annual Silver City Clay Festival Juried Tile Show
- (Awarded the Tile Heritage Prize)
- 2013 Panel/paper presentation “Nigerian Influences in the Art of El Anatsui.” Midwest Art History Society 40th Annual Conference, Ohio State University, March 21-23, 2013.