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Dawn N. Hicks Tafari, Ph.D.

Position: Associate Professor Department: Education

Contact Info

Office: 241D Albert H. Anderson Center Phone: 336-750-8337 Fax: 336-750-2892


A native New Yorker, Dr. Tafari is passionate about the arts, culture, education, and translating theory into practice. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology from Hofstra University; her Master of Arts in Teaching with Certification in Elementary Education from The Johns Hopkins University; and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies and her Ph.D in Educational Studies with a Specialization in Cultural Studies from The University of North Carolina Greensboro. She has served as an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, New York and in Baltimore, Maryland; and as a curriculum facilitator in High Point, North Carolina. Dr. Tafari currently serves as an educational consultant for Guilford County Schools and as the Interim Coordinator for the Birth through Kindergarten Education program in the Department of Education at Winston-Salem State University. Dawn is also co-founder of the Greensboro Kwanzaa Collective, a grassroots organization that organizes Greensboro’s citywide 7-day Kwanzaa celebration. Dr. Tafari is a scholar activist and Hip-Hop Feminist whose research focus includes studies Black male students and teachers, Hip-Hop culture’s influence on identity development, culturally relevant teaching, and critical race theory.

Educational Background

  • Doctor of Philosophy, 2013, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, 2010, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Master of Arts in Teaching, 2003, The Johns Hopkins University
  • Bachelor of Arts, 1996, Hofstra University

Research and Project Interests

  • Black Feminist Thought
  • Black Male Educators
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Critical Race Theory and Methodology
  • Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
  • Hip-Hop Feminism
  • Intergenerational Issues
  • Narrative Research

“They Laugh ‘Cause They Assume I’m in Prison”: Hip-Hop Feminism as Critical Pedagogy” - Tafari, Dawn N.H.; Newton, Veronica A. (2020). Chapter in International Handbook of Critical Pedagogies. Sage Publications, Inc. Edited by Shirley R, Steinberg, Barry Down, Sandy Grande, and Dara Nix-Stevenson.

“Always Bet on Black: The Rewards of Including HBCUs in Conversations about Race and Writing” - Jackson, Karen K.; Jackson, Hope; Tafari, Dawn N. H. (December 2019). College Composition and Communication. 

"On Being An Academic Side Chick: Tales of Two Adjunct Faculty in the Academy That Trained Them" - Simpkins, LaWanda & Tafari, Dawn N.H. (Winter 2019). Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education.

"“I Can’t Hug The Kids”: Black Male Elementary School Teachers who Bring Eros into the Classroom - A Composite Counterstory" - Tafari, Dawn N.H. (2019). National Journal of Urban Education and Practice

"Care for Me! Care for Me!": One Black Girl's Road to Acknowledging the Ex-Factor" - Tafari, Dawn N.H. & Tafari, Nwachi. (2019). Chapter in Celebrating Twenty Years of Black Girlhood: The Lauryn Hill Reader. Peter Lang, Inc. Edited by M. Billye Sankofa Waters, Venus E. Evans-Winters, Bettina L. Love

"Whose World Is This?": A Composite Counterstory of Black Male Elementary School Teachers as Hip-Hop Other Fathers - Tafari, Dawn N.H. (July 2018). The Urban Review

“’That Kind of Affection Ain’t Welcome from A Black Man’: The Intersections of Race and Gender in the Elementary Classroom” - Tafari, Dawn N. H. (2018). Chapter in Intersectionalities of Race, Class and Gender with Teaching and Teacher Education: Movement Toward Equity in Education. Sense Publishers. Edited by Norvella Carter and Michael Vavrus
“Teaching Social Justice Ain’t Easy: Stories of HBCU Faculty who Walk the Talk” - Tafari, Dawn N.H.; Ricks, Shawn A.; & Oates, Fran B. (2016). The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy.

"The Kinara Speaks: Kwanzaa as an Expression of Activism and Resistance in the City of Greensboro" - Tafari, Dawn N.H. & Poole, Tonya. (2016). Chapter in The Critical Black Studies Reader. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. Edited by Rochelle Brock, Ph.D. and Dara Nix-Stevenson, Ph.D.

“Tales from A Hip-Hop DIVA: One Girl’s Journey from the Bronx to the Ph.D” - Tafari, Dawn N.H. (2015). Chapter in D.I.V.A. Diaries: The Road to the PhD and Stories of Black Women Who Have Endured. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. Edited by Cherrel Miller Dyce, Ph.D. and Toni Milton Williams, Ph.D.
“‘I Can Get at These Kids’: A Narrative Study Exploring the Reasons Black Men Teach” - Tafari, Dawn N.H. (2013). Chapter in Black Male Teachers: Diversifying the United States' Teacher Workforce, Emerald Publishing, LLC. Edited by Chance W. Lewis, Ph.D. and Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D.