Drs. Varlack and Guertin-Martin to Lead CASAA as It Enters Its Second Year at Arcadia University

By Daniel DiPrinzio | July 22, 2022

The Center for Antiracist Scholarship, Advocacy, and Action (CASAA) was established on Nov. 16, 2021 as an interdisciplinary academic center that aims to bring together scholars and advocates from the University, the local community, and the wider world to (re)shape the thinking and the mindset about racism across the globe. Since its creation, CASAA has promoted critical dialogue on antiracism as a necessary pathway to achieving racial justice and equity. With the launch of the CASAA Microgrants Program and CASAA Scholar-Advocates Program, Founding Executive Director, Dr. Doreen Loury, and Associate Director, Dr. Christopher Allen Varlack, have worked to position the Center as a powerful voice amidst ongoing conversations about race, racism, and social justice in the modern world. 

Now, as CASAA enters its second year, we celebrate the retirement of Dr. Doreen Loury after a 31-year-tenure at Arcadia and the appointment of new leadership for the Center. Dr. Loury has been a pivotal voice of change at the University and in the community, not only developing the nationally recognized Black Male Development Symposium and spearheading the Pan African Studies Program since its inception but also serving as a mayoral appointee to the Philadelphia Women’s Commission and recently as a leader on the NCNW Social Justice Committee. A recipient of the Black Awareness Society Legendary Award, she has made an indelible mark at Arcadia. That legacy continues on through CASAA, where Dr. Loury’s dedication to advocacy and action-oriented scholarship have shaped the mission Dr. Christopher Allen Varlack and Dr. Favian Guertin-Martin will strive to achieve. 

Executive Director

Dr. Christopher Allen Varlack is an assistant professor of English, the incoming Director of Pan African Studies, and the incoming Chair of the Faculty Senate Work and Welfare Committee. 

As Executive Director of CASAA, he will manage the Center’s scholarly and administrative efforts and develop/expand initiatives to encourage and support faculty and staff research on issues related to race, ethnicity, power, inequity, and social justice. In addition, he will implement the mission and the vision of the Center, manage its day-to-day operations, and pursue external funding opportunities to enhance CASAA’s work. 

“I look forward to continuing to build partnerships with faculty, staff, and units across campus to stimulate antiracist scholarship and pedagogy,” says Dr. Varlack. “With our developing initiatives such as the CASAA Scholar-Advocates Program and the CASAA Microgrants Program, we aim to provide resources to individuals at Arcadia whose research will yield a better understanding of racism, historic and new, while also probing strategies for antiracist advocacy as we work toward systemic and institutional change.”

Dr. Varlack was the recipient of the 2021 Cultural Ally Award at Arcadia. His scholarship examines literature of the African diaspora, particularly the interrogation through the crucible of fiction of strategies for Black community formation and utopia-building. He is the editor of Critical Insights: Harlem Renaissance (2015) and Critical Insights: Civil Rights Literature, Past & Present (2017), both with Salem Press. His current projects include Zora Neale Hurston in Context (under contract with Cambridge University Press), Black Lives Matter: Lessons from the Harlem Renaissance (under contract with Clemson University Press), and a special issue of The Langston Hughes Review on Sterling A. Brown. 

Associate Director

Dr. Favian Alejandro Guertin-Martin is an associate professor of Criminal Justice, the chair of the ABRI Curricular Infusion Committee, and outgoing chair of the Faculty Senate Work and Welfare Committee.

As Associate Director of CASAA, he will lead the development of programming on race, racism, and social justice with events such as the CASAA Race Matters Forum, the CASAA Conversations series of monthly moderated discussions on race-related current events, and the CASAA Creative Scholarship Speaker Series. Dr. Guertin-Martin will also direct efforts toward the construction of a digital repository for antiracist resources and manage interns working at the Center.

“I appreciate the opportunity to propel CASAA to the next level of advocacy, community engagement, and scholarship on race and racism,” says Dr. Guertin-Martin. “I look forward to assisting Dr. Varlack in programming and organizing events to bring the University community together to discuss and address systematic racism. Additionally, I hope to bring other groups (i.e., the Lenape Peoples and immigration advocates) to the Center to continue the work of providing a voice for those who are victims of oppression and racism.” 

Dr. Guertin-Martin’s scholarship in large part focuses on the victimization of American Indians with related publications in the Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art, Contemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice, and Critical Criminology, just to name a few. Recently, he has shifted his scholarship to investigate social problems in the beer industry, particularly related to gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. In addition, Dr. Guertin-Martin demonstrates a deep commitment to university and professional service. Executive Counselor for the Division of Critical Criminology and Social Justice, he is also a member of the American Society of Criminology Teaching Committee and the editorial board of the Journal of Criminal Justice Education. He was chair of the Land Acknowledgement Task Force at Arcadia, a member of the ABRI Data Review Task Force, and a member of the ABRI-AUC Task Force.