Seneca Vaught’s teaching and research specializations focus on global intersections of race, culture, and policy. He loves to talk about movies, music, and how popular culture influences politics. He is a seasoned world-traveler and has co-directed numerous study abroad programs to West Africa and South America. Most recently, Dr. Vaught has returned from Peru and Ecuador where he uses an adventure-based approach to teaching. While there, he mentors students working on “grassroots mini-documentary projects” and “game-based play maps” to engage historical and contemporary issues.
“Dr. V” was born in Tennessee but grew up in the Midwest (Michigan and Chicago, Illinois). He earned his Ph.D. in policy history from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He has taught history, Africana Studies, and interdisciplinary studies for more than a decade at universities including Niagara University, State University of New York at Buffalo, and Kennesaw State University in the Atlanta metropolitan area. His research and teaching agenda focuses on how to apply historical methods and use historical content in policy, social entrepreneurship, and diplomacy.
His most recent book (co-authored with Tara Jabbaar-Gyambrah), Is College a Lousy Investment?: Negotiating the Hidden Cost of Higher Education, applies interdisciplinary insights to analyze how the promotion of education merely as a commodity come at a high price for the individual and society. The book discusses how the popular idea of ‘investment in a college degree’ came to be and ways students can use courses and experiential learning to take back control of their lives.
“Dr. V” is currently writing a book about Susana Baca, an Afro-Peruvian artist and diplomat who creatively used musical and cultural performances to achieve policy objectives. The book is the culmination of a four-year study on the historical and cultural impact of African-descended populations in Peru and throughout the African Diaspora.
In his free time, Dr. Vaught enjoys organizing community events that bring different cultural groups into dialogue and mentoring budding social entrepreneurs. He likes to play video games when no one is watching and is a huge Marvel Comics fan.