The minor in African, African American, and Diaspora (AAAD) Studies broadens students' world perspectives by enhancing their acquaintance with and understanding of the peoples, cultures, and institutions of Africa and the African Diaspora. The AAAD program engages cross disciplinary approaches to understand and to encounter Africa and the African Diaspora in a global context. The cross disciplinary character of the program is further enhanced by the fact that courses taken to fulfill program requirements are drawn from several departments. From these course offerings, students will examine and engage with some of AAAD Studies key contributing disciplines, concepts, methods and topics including the development of new identities.

The minor program in AAAD Studies is open to all undergraduate students at JMU. Courses taken to complete the AAAD minor can also be used to satisfy the student's major, as well as General Education requirements.

The African, African American, and Diaspora Studies minor requires:

  • Successful completion of 19 credit hours according to the requirements listed below
  • No more than nine hours from a single discipline

Click here to view the brochure with information about courses that count towards the minor.

Click here to view the minor catalog. 

Fall 2019 Courses 

AAAD 200: Introduction to Africana Studies

Section 0001 | Beth Hinderliter | TuTh, 2:00-3:15pm

An introductory survey of basic theoretical concepts to analyze the Black experience, with special focus on the general historical process common to Africa and the African Diaspora. May be used for general education credit.

ENG 239: Studies in World Literature—African Oral Literatures

Section 0002 | Besi Muhonja | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

This course offers an overview of African oral literatures, exploring form and style, relevance and function in specific genres including folktales, witticisms, praise poetry, children’s games, and songs. Through an exploration of spiritual, social, and political themes and content of oral literature, this introductory course contextualizes orature as part of the world sense and day-to-day structures and operations of African communities. May be used for general education credit.

ENG 260: Survey of African American Literature

Section 0001 | Allison Fagan | MWF 9:05-9:55am

This course introduces students to major authors, literary forms, and movements in African American literature.  We study the emergence and flourishing of African American literature over the past two centuries, noting common as well as diverging themes, techniques, and arguments over the coherence of African American literature as a genre. Throughout the semester we will explore antebellum, Reconstruction, Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights, Black Arts, and contemporary writers in their historical contexts as well as make connections between texts across historical periods. May be used for general education credit.

ENG 362: Anthologizing African American Poetry

Section 0001 | Mollie Godfrey | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

This course examines a broad range of African American poetry from the 18th century to the present day by looking at the way African American Poetry has been defined and selected for publication in major anthologies at key moments in history. Students will also consider the longer publication histories of certain poems to see what light these different contexts shed on the poems, and vice versa.

ENG 408: Advanced Studies in African American Literature

Topic: Harlem Renaissance

Section 0001 | Brooks Hefner | TuTh 9:30-10:45am

2019 marks a hundred years since the Harlem Hellfighters returned from World War I and marched in a victory parade in the now famous African American neighborhood, a moment many scholars characterize as the beginning of the Harlem (or New Negro) Renaissance. This course will take an in-depth, interdisciplinary look at this cultural phenomenon, which extended far beyond Harlem itself and reshaped the history of American and African American culture. Our investigations into this subject will include considerations of visual artists like Aaron Douglas, the rise of jazz and the Harlem club scene that fostered it, the sensation of the popular black musical Shuffle Along, the rich print culture of Harlem and beyond, and a host of literary texts that represent the debates around black aesthetics, the thorny issues of class and representation, the pervasive dangers of racial violence, and the centrality of women and queer writers within the movement, among many other vibrant topics. Writers we may consider include Countee Cullen, W.E.B. Du Bois, Jessie Fauset, Rudoph Fisher, Angelina Weld Grimké, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Nella Larsen, Alain Locke, Claude McKay, Richard Bruce Nugent, George S. Schuyler, Wallace Thurman, Jean Toomer, Dorothy West, and Edward Christopher Williams.

ENG 420/AAAd 400: Black Studies and Black Spaces: Black Critical Frameworks and Communities at JMU and Beyond, 1968-Present

Section 0001 | Mollie Godfrey & Besi Muhonja | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

Now celebrating fifty years of Black Studies, this course purposes to locate JMU within this national history, while creating an archive for JMU’s special collections. This course marshals students to conduct interviews with community members, faculty, former faculty, students, administrators, staff, and alums, and to gather archival material in order to tell the larger story of the creation of Black Studies and black spaces at JMU, to place this story within a larger national narrative, to open up new spaces for further faculty and student research, and teaching, and to look forward to the next fifty years.

HIST 263: Intro to African History

Section 0001 | David Owusu-Ansah | MWF 8:00-8:50am

History 263 examines the development of African societies from their earliest beginnings to the end of the nineteenth century. It discusses major societal transformations: the spread of languages, agricultural techniques, and metallurgy; the political and economic organization of societies; indigenous religious practices and their intersection with Islam and Christianity; the transatlantic slave trade; and the colonization of the continent. In so doing, the course familiarizes students with the major events, as well as the significant issues and debates in African history.

HIST 355: African-American History to 1865

Section 0001 | Andrew Witmer | TuTh 9:30-10:45am

A survey of the experience and changing status of African-Americans in the United States from 1619 through the Civil War, with attention to the West African background, cultural developments, social and political movements, slavery and the slave trade, dual-consciousness, and emancipation.

HIST 436: Black Radical Traditons in the Caribbean and Latin Ameica

Section 0001 | Bill Van Norman | TuTh 9:30-10:45am

This course seeks to recover traditions of black radical thought in hispanophone Latin America and the Caribbean in the twentieth century. It will explore the lives of important men and women of African decent in social movements throughout the region. It will also investigate the connections that were forged with francophone and anglophone thinkers and radical actors. The course will show how transnational organizations and alliances made important contributions and helped to forge a durable sense of the African diaspora in the Atlantic world during the twentieth century. 

JUST 301: Global Migration

Section 0002 | Case Watkins | M 2:30-5:00pm

This course surveys global migration flows over time and space. Students will analyze interdisciplinary academic literature and popular media on migration and diasporas while studying flows of people across various historical and geographical contexts, from prehistoric to contemporary and from global to local. Students taking the course for AAAD credit must complete a research project relevant to the field.


JUST 328: Race, Class and Justice

Section 001 | Gianluca de Fazio | TuTh 12:30-1:45pm

This course provides students with an overview of justice issues relating to class and race in a comparative perspective. It includes an introduction to case-studies, comparative research methods and cross-national comparisons of racial and class injustice. This course is divided into four sections: the first one introduces students to comparative thinking and the social construction of difference and inequality. The second and third section address the issue of race and justice in the United States and globally. The fourth and last section deals with class inequality both in the United States and abroad.


Fall 2019 Courses in the AAAD Minor Curriculum by Course Directive:

To count these courses toward the AAAD Minor, please make an appointment with Dr. Mollie Godfrey ( or Dr. Besi Muhonja ( to complete and submit a course directive form.

EDUC 310: Teaching in a Diverse Society

Section 0001 | TBA | TBA

Section 0002 | TBA | TBA

Section 0003 | TBA | TBA

This course will examine how personal and professional values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors affect teaching and learning.  The pre-service teachers will develop an understanding of similar unique characteristics of Pre-K to 12 grade students and their families, including culture, race, ethnicity, heritage language and learning abilities, gender socialization and sexual orientation.

ELED 310: Diversity in Elementary Education with Service Learning

Section 0001 | Kara Kavanagh | M 12:20-2:50pm

Section 0003 | Kara Kavanagh | Tu 2:00-4:30pm

This course will examine how personal and professional values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors affect teaching and learning.  The pre-service teachers will develop an understanding of similar unique characteristics of Pre-K to 12 grade students and their families, including culture, race, ethnicity, heritage language and learning abilities, gender socialization and sexual orientation.

HRD 201: Leadership Styles Theory and Application

Section 0001 | Oris Griffin| TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

Explores the dimensions of creative and innovative leadership strategies and styles by examining team dynamics and two historical leadership theories that form the basis of the leadership framework (train and behavior theories). Students practice aspects of personal motivation and team building in the context of planning, executing and assessing team exercises and participating in leadership skills labs. Focus is on continued development of the knowledge of leadership values and attributes through an understanding of institutional structures, duties and responsibilities of organizational/institutional leaders, and leadership in small organizations. Case studies provide tangible context for learning leadership skills, values, actions and attributes as they apply to a contemporary setting. Prerequisite: HRD 100, HRD 101. Corequisite HRD 202.


WGSS 200: Introduction to Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Section 0003 | Besi Muhonja | TuTh 9:30-10:45am

This section offers an introduction to theories and scholarship in the interdisciplinary field of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies from a critical, transnational, intersectional and cross-cultural perspective. May be used for general education credit.


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