University of Florida Homepage

Dr. Rik Stevenson

Dr. Rik Stevenson

Research Specialties

  • Middle Passage Slaves, Slave Ships
  • Mortality Scholarship
  • Resistance Studies American Slavery
  • African Cosmologies

Contact Information

Email: rstevenson2
Office: 1012 Turlington Hall
  • Ph.D., Michigan State University, May 2018
    • Dissertation Title: “JUMPING OVERBOARD: EXAMINING SUICIDE, RESISTANCE, AND WEST AFRICAN COSMOLOGIES DURING THE MIDDLE PASSAGE”
  • Doctorate in Divinity, Southern California School of Ministry, 2000
  • Th.M. (Church History) Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, 1994
  • M.A. (Biblical Studies and Theology) Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, 1991

I have more than thirty years of teaching experience in multiple institutions of higher education. I was an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University, (GVSU), in the Area and Global Studies Department and Liberal Studies, in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. I taught several courses in African American Studies, American History and Liberal Studies.

My Ph.D, is from Michigan State University in African American and African Studies, Diaspora Studies, the Middle Passage and Antebellum American History. As a historian my historical research interests integrates the inter-disciplinarity of African and African American Studies in the context of West and West Central African Cosmologies as they relate to slave ship resistance. I have also explored sunken slaving vessels and I’ve participated in nautical archaeological underwater research off of the coast of Florida. My dissertation was a study on suicide by drowning as a form of resistance during the Middle Passage.

I was the former Assistant Director of African American Ministries as well as an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, in Pasadena California.  I have 30 years of experience, as a full-time pastor and I bring a wealth of religious and theological expertise to the classroom. I have two graduate school degrees in biblical and theological studies that have served me both in the classroom and in community development and activism. While in Grand Rapids, I taught a graduate course in African American Church History at The Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. I’ve also taught Black Theology, Liberation Theology and African American Theological Research Methods.

Research interests

My primary research interests are in Middle Passage Studies, Slave Ships, Mortality Scholarship, Resistance Studies American Slavery during the Antebellum and historical methods that integrate marine and nautical archaeology.  I am also familiar with several traditional African cosmologies as they relate to transmigration and cultural customs.

I have served as an academic coach and mentor for Grand Valley State’s Academic Success Institute (ASI), an early arrival program for conditionally admitted and first generation minority students.  I have coached and mentored students of color who were first generation college students from under resourced communities.  The Academic Achievement Institute, (AAI) and the Freshman Academy,(FA), are academic programs that focus on under privileged incoming freshman. My AAA 201, Introduction to African American Studies course was always filled and was so successful that ASI, AAI and FA designated it as requisite requirement for incoming freshman. I worked with the Academic Achievement Institute, and I introduced methods to assist students on forward thinking, successful goal and objective setting as well as strategies for navigating the academic culture. I also taught Freshman Writing, Rhetoric and American Culture, as well as a course in Africana Studies at Michigan State University.

Finally I have training and experience in Diversity and Inclusion. I have facilitated seminars and workshops that focus on cultural competency, diversity training, intersectionality, gender studies and inclusion practices.

I am acquainted with many of the challenges and concerns facing faculty, the administration and the students with the shift to online delivery. I am trained in Blackboard and Canvas, LMS platforms which has become the primary academic delivery system during this time of COVID 19 influenced social distancing.

Courses taught/teach at the University of Florida:

  • Key Issues In Black Atlantic Thought
  • Senior Integrated Seminar:
  • Perspectives on African American Males
  • Voices of the Civil Rights Movement:  Armed self defense as a form of Non violent protest.  The course also highlights the role of women and the LGBTQ members who receive little recognition during the Civil Rights era.

Courses Taught in Previous Institutions:

  • Introduction to African American Studies
  • Introduction to the African Diaspora
  • From Field to Factory:  Study of the Great Migration
  • Perspectives on African American Males
  • Introduction to African American Church History
  • Liberal Studies 201:  The course focuses on ageism, ableism, sexism and religious perspectives on diversity. Provides solutions and concepts for training in diversity and cultural competency.
  • Freshman Writing Rhetoric and American Culture: Freshman writing course
  • Survey of Africana Studies
  • HST 206-American History since 1877

Courses in the curriculum I can teach at the University of Florida.

  • AFA 2000 Introduction to African American Studies
  • AFA 3110 Key Issues in African American & Black Atlantic Thought
  • AFA 4936 Integrative Senior Seminar
  • AFA 2000 Voices of the Civil Rights Movement
  • AFA 3850 Research Methods in African American History
  • AFH History Research Seminar: Africa
  • AMH 4930 History Research Seminar: U.S.
  • AFA 3350 Black Masculinity
  • AFA 3356 African American Religion
  • AFA 3354 Race, Religion and Rebellion (Examination of the interplay of religion, race and rebellion in the organization and execution of the various revolts, insurrections and social movements of black people in the U.S. from the slavery period through the Civil Rights and Black Power Eras.)
  • AFA 3357 Civil Rights and Religion
  • AMH 4575 Civil Rights Movement

Recommended Courses

  • The African Diaspora
  • The Black Power Movement
  • The Black Campus Movement
  • The Middle Passage
  • Research Methods in African American History