Visiting Scholar Inspires Unconventional Dialogue

Jacqueline Francis

Jacqueline Francis, the inaugural Robert A. Corrigan Visiting Professor in Social Justice at San Francisco State University, speaks about the celebrated art collection of Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida during an event at their San Francisco home in January 2017.

Former President Corrigan Honored

Jacqueline Francis, the inaugural Robert A. Corrigan Visiting Professor in Social Justice at San Francisco State University, knows art. Specifically, American art of the 20th century and contemporary African Diaspora art. An acclaimed art historian, Francis is the author of “Making Race: Modernism and ‘Racial Art’ in America,” published in 2012, and a co-editor of “Romare Bearden: American Modernist,” published in 2011. Her articles and reviews have been published in Radical History Review, American Art, Journal of American Studies and other scholarly journals.

And on January 13, 2017 at the San Francisco home of Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida, Francis shared her insights about the hosts’ renowned collection of art, titled “Four Generations,” which was created primarily by modern American artists of African descent. Approximately 100 guests attended the gathering, including SF State President Les Wong and Dean of SF State’s College of Ethnic Studies  Kenneth P. Monteiro, who provided remarks.

A Transformative Partnership

According to Monteiro, the Robert A. Corrigan endowed professorship enables the College of Ethnic Studies to bring to campus top scholars from a variety of disciplines who are firmly engaged in cutting edge academic, educational and community initiatives that promote social justice and advance the aspirations of people of African American/Black ancestry.

“One of the goals of the College of Ethnic Studies is to reclaim and restore cultural and intellectual contributions in order to rejuvenate African and African American lives, and thereby contribute to the restoration of humanity,” Monteiro said. “Pamela Joyner shares that mission, so her partnership with SF State and the College of Ethnic Studies strengthens our mission, as all transformative partnerships should.”  

Transformation is nothing new to Joyner. In an October 2016 interview with The New York Times, Joyner, “a prolific art collector and supporter of artists of African descent,” referred to her collection as “no less ambitious than an effort to reframe art history.” Joyner she sees herself righting a wrong. “First, to include more broadly those who have been overlooked — and, for those with visibility, to steward and contextualize those careers,” she told the Times.

The Endowed Professorship

The Robert A. Corrigan Visiting Professorship in Social Justice recognizes SF State’s national leadership in civic engagement and social justice and was established in honor of Dr. Robert A. Corrigan, who is lauded for his commitment to social justice and diversity during his tenure as president of SF State from 1988 to 2012. Earlier in his career, Dr. Corrigan founded the Afro-American Studies program—one of the nation’s first—at the University of Iowa and published the first full-scale bibliography of Afro-American fiction for this emerging discipline.

The professorship was established with a generous gift from SF State alumni George and Judy Marcus and major contributions from alumnus Kenneth Fong and community member Bettye Poetz Ferguson.

Dr. Robert Corrigan

Former San Francisco State University President Robert Corrigan (center) is recognized during the January 2017 event at the home of Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida.