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.

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

Click here to view the minor catalog. 

Spring 2021 Courses:

AAAD 200: Introduction to African, African American, and Diaspora Studies

Section 0001 | Besi Muhonja | TuTh 2:15-3:30pm | Synchronous Online

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 (Cluster 4). Required for AAAD minor.

ARTH 424: Arts of Ancient Egypt

Section 0001 | Aderonke Adesanya | TuTh 2:40-3:55pm | Synchronous Online

The course covers ancient the Egyptian civilization from the Old to New Egyptian Kingdoms. It explores the foundations of the arts and architecture, the relationship between religion and artistic tradition, ideas about hierarchies, leadership, and gender, and illustrates these with the arts of the era of some Egyptian pharaohs. The course takes students through the philosophy and belief systems governing artistic production in the ancient Egyptian world. Mythological ideas about the culture, ideologies and ideosyncrasies of Egyptian kings, queens and nobles, as well Egypt under the Nubian, Greek and Roman eras come into sharp relief in thematic studies throughout the semester. Egyptian sculpture, painting, architecture, jewelry, textiles and ceramic, the techniques of production, iconography, and other elements in the various works of art and architecture as well as terminologies applied to them are examined.

ARTH 428: Advanced Topics in Modern and Contemporary African Art (New African Diaspora Art)

Section 0001 | Aderonke Adesanya | TuTh 11:20AM-12:35PM | Synchronous Online

An examination of the works and experiences of New African Diaspora artists (NADA) in western locations notably, America, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, France, and Germany. It brings into focus the artists’ processes and productions, their critique of and responses to race, politics, identity, migration, decolonization, and other experiences. It also highlights the avenues for exhibition and circulation of their works, and how they navigate and mediate the politics of art making, dealing with intermediaries and institutions, and belonging to the local and global art market. Students are required to find case studies for their research.

ELED 310: Diversity, Equity, and Justice in Elementary Education

Section 0004, 0005, or 0006 | Kara Kavanagh | M 8:00AM-10:45AM, W 11:45AM-2:30PM, W 8:00AM-10:45AM | In Person

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 unique characteristics of Pre-K to 12 grade students and their families, including culture, race, ethnicity, heritage, language, learning abilities, gender socialization, and sexual orientation.

EDUC 310: Teaching in a Diverse Society

Section 0001, 0002, 0003, or 0004 | Meza or Schick | TuTh 9:40-10:55AM, TuTh 2:40-3:55PM, MW 2:15-3:30PM, or MW 9:30-10:55AM | 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

ENG 260: Survey of African American Literature

Section 0001 | Mollie Godfrey | Asynchronous | Asynchronous Online

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.

ENG 221H: Literature/Culture/Ideas: Latinx Storytelling

Section 0001 | Allison Fagan | MWF 9:15-10:05AM | Synchronous and Asynchrounous Online

A comparative introductory survey of the stories of contemporary U.S. Latinx writers who trace their heritage to Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Central and South America. In addition to considering how race, nation, and ethnicity shape understandings of Latina/o/x identity, the course will explore the influencing forces of gender, sexuality, class, and language on Latinx writers. A student final project must focus on a topic related to AfroLatinidad for AAAD credit. May also be used for General Education credit.

ENG 335: African American Children's Literature

Section 0001 | Danielle Price | TuTh 9:40-10:55AM | Synchronous Online

This course studies the conventions and history of African American children’s literature. We begin with the overarching question of what exactly is African American children’s literature: is it defined by its readership? by the race of its authors and illustrators? by its depictions and themes? We will consider the history of this literature and its expression in various genres including the picture book, poetry, historical fiction, realistic fiction, fantasy fiction, and the graphic novel. We will also discuss the position of African-American literature within the wider world of children’s books, book publishing, and popular culture.

ENG 405: Epidemics in Contemporary Anglophone Literature

Sections 0001 | David Babcock | M 3:55-6:25PM | Synchronous Online

This course considers the ways that obsessions with disease and contagion get coded within contemporary geo-cultural contexts. Its premise is that mass epidemics can act as historical catalysts that lead communities to envision themselves—both their problems and potentialities—in new ways. Often we hear about how the boundaries of communities are policed by stoking people‘s fears of disease and death, suggesting perhaps that contagion fiction is only capable of producing reactive, xenophobic feelings. In fact, contemporary fiction presents a much more multifaceted picture, one that includes possibilities for both community-building and communal self-critique.

ENG 408: Advanced Studies in African American Literature

Section 0001 | Mollie Godfrey | M 3:55-6:25PM | Synchronous Online

This course on the Pasts, Presents, and Futures of Contemporary African American Literature offers an advanced study of key theories and genres of contemporary African American literature, including neo-slave narratives, post-soul satires, and Afrofuturism. Authors include Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Percival Everett, Mat Johnson, Octavia Butler, and Nnedi Okorafor.

ENG 433: Advanced Studies in Arabic Literature

Section 0001 | Sofia Samatar | Tu 6:00-8:30PM | Synchronous Online

A study of the novel in North Africa, taught in English (no knowledge of Arabic is necessary). This course fulfills requirements for: Advanced Studies for English Majors; Identity, Diversity, Power; AAAD Minor; MECM Minor.

ENG 496: Trauma, Healing, and Resiliance: A Multi-Genre Workshop

Section 0002 | Erica Cavanagh | MW 2:15-3:30PM | TBA

In this creative writing workshop we will read nonfiction, poetry, and a hybrid of these two genres called the lyric essay on the themes of trauma, healing, and resilience. Of books, our readings will include Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, Jeannette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?, Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, and Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead. We will also read shorter works on subjects that are at center stage in our times, namely the effects of race-based discrimination and also the effects of quarantine amid COVID-19. Excerpts from books and podcasts on the brain science of trauma, race- and gender-based trauma, and also tools for healing and resilience will supplement the literary works we read and offer us a language for talking about the effects of difficult experiences and how we might address them. Over the course of the semester, you will have three writing assignments for which you may choose to write in the genre of nonfiction, poetry, or the lyric essay. For these writing assignments, you will not be required to write about trauma per se, but given the themes of the course, we will all likely write about challenging, alienating, or otherwise disorienting experiences and how we have tried, so far, to understand and address those experiences in our lives.

HIST 322: The New South

Section 0001 | Steven Reich | TuTh 1:00-2:15PM | In Person

During the era of Jim Crow—a period that spanned the years from the 1890s to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s—a welter of state laws, municipal ordinances, and social customs racially segregated public and private life across the American South. Jim Crow, as both legal framework and social practice, shaped the everyday lives of three generations of Southerners, both black and white. It determined where they worked, where they attended school, what they learned, where and what they ate, what they wore, where they shopped, whom they could marry, how they raised their children, how they worshipped God, how and where they relaxed and socialized, and the political allegiances they held. This class examines the complexities of segregation—its legal boundaries, its social and cultural peculiarities, and its violent enforcement. It especially focuses on the political actions that challenged and eventually dismantled it. The course satisfies requirements for the minor in African, African American, and Diaspora Studies (AAAD) and Tracks 1, 2, 3, and 7 of the Humanities and Social Sciences Concentration of the IDLS major.

HIST 489: Pandemics in Afican History

Section 0001 | Etana H. Dinka | TuTh 9:30-10:45am | Synchronous Online

This course explores the histories of pandemics in the entire sweep of African history. By using a continent-wide perspective to examine these histories, from the Athenian Plague—the earliest recorded pestilence—to the rise and expansion of successive Ebola epidemics, the course offers students the opportunity to understand pandemics historically and examine its role in shaping African economies, societies, cultures, and politics. Not only have pandemics shaped theoretical approaches to these contexts, but they have also become deeply rooted aspects of theories and methods. An understanding of the way histories of pandemics unfolded in Africa, mostly linked to human penetration into the natural environment—one of the major themes in African history—helps to set the discussions in the longer context of African history and opens up to analysis a potentially under-examined history of linkages between pandemics, economy, society, culture, politics. The history of pandemics, and more generally of diseases, characteristically falls under environmental history. Since pandemics are natural forces occurring beyond human control over the environment, a course emphasizing histories of pandemics will help students to think beyond such established ideas as humans control nature and to be able to generate fresh perspectives. The course begins by asking the critical question useful to frame the discussions that help to understand histories of pandemics in the longue durée of African history—what is African history? The key themes will include the role of pandemics in the shaping of human history, and the histories of major pandemics that prevailed across the continent, including the Athenian Plague, the Black Death, Cholera, Malaria, Sleeping Sickness, Tuberculosis, Influenza, HIV/AIDS, and Ebola. Although the course focuses on pandemics that had occurred in the history of Africa, occasionally students will venture into other continents tracing global trajectories of pandemics. Students registered for this course will have required and recommended readings. Class discussions are based on the required readings. A thorough reading of required materials before every class is vital. It is a requirement for every student to attend classes and engage actively in class discussions. Active class participation makes a vital part of the course.

HON 300: 20th and 21st Century Leadership in Black, Afro-Latinx and Latinx Popular Culture

Section TBA | Fawn-Amber Montoya | Tu 5:30-8:00PM | Hybrid

Course will analyze the historical context of 20th and 21st popular culture from the perspective of race, class, gender, and sexual identity. Students will think critically about how Black, Latinx, and Afro-Latinx female musicians, actors, and artists have portrayed the female body. The course will consider the following: How do history and current events impact popular culture? How do personal and political lines blur within the context of popular culture? What qualifies as leadership?

IDLS 395: The Unfinished Journey of People of Color in the U.S.

Section 0004 | H. Gelfand | TuTh 4:20-5:35PM | In Person/Synchronous Online

An in-depth study of People of Color in Contemporary America, with a focus on the antecedents and factors that have led to our current circumstances, and contemplations of making the country more equitable and accepting.

JUST 328: Race, Class and Justice

Section 0001 | Gianluca De Fazio | Asynchronous | Asynchronous Online

This course provides students with an overview of contemporary justice issues in a comparative perspective. It includes an introduction to case-studies, comparative research methods and cross-national comparisons of justice issues concerning race and class. Special emphasis will be devoted to explore the collective memory of racial violence.

JUST 301: Policing of Protest

Section 0002 | Gianluca De Fazio | Asynchronous | Asynchronous Online

This course investigates the contentious interactions between protesters and political authorities, in particular the policing of protest in democratic societies. The course is divided into three sections: in the first one, general issues of dissent and repression in democratic societies are investigated; in the second section we concentrate on the reality of protest policing in the United States. In the third and final section of the course, we compare transnational patterns and trends in protest policing.

POSC/WGSS 383: Women & Politics in Comparative Perspective

Section 0001 | Kristin Wylie | TuTh 2:40-3:55PM | Synchronous Online

A study of the causes and consequences of women's political marginalization in the United States and abroad. The course takes an intersectional approach to examine socioeconomic and political dimensions of gender inequality, exploring how women have worked through social movements, electoral politics, and public policy initiatives to overcome obstacles to their political empowerment.

SCOM 313: Intergroup Dialogue on Race

Section 0001 | Jennifer PeeksMease and Art Dean | Tu 2:40-5:10PM | Hybrid

This is a dialogue-driven class that focuses on our experiences of race, and how they are shaped by historical and contemporary contexts. Major assignments include two critically informed reflection papers, weekly participation in discussion boards, weekly readings to prepare for dialogues, and a semester-long group project that addresses race here at JMU. **Class is by permission, and requires that you complete this application to be considered.*** Priority is given to SCOM students, but all interested students are encouraged to apply.

SOCI 354: Social Inequality

Section 0001 | Bethany Bryson | Asynchronous | Asynchronous Online

Course covers the systems of stratification and inequality in the United States including race, class, gender, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, and nationality. Discussion will center on their role in providing rationales for oppression and discrimination in society and their relationship to the distribution of power and ideological control. Technology Note: This is a low-bandwidth interactive class. All content will be available on the first day of class, with firm deadlines for class participation and other assignments. A dependable internet connection and Respondus Lockdown Browser are required for three exams.

THEA 324: Theatre for Young Audiences

Section 0001 | Joshua Rashon Streeter | TuTh 1:00-2:15PM | Hybrid (mostly synchronous online)

Description: This course provides an exploration of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) and Theatre for the Very Young (TVY) through the lens of culturally responsive practice and pedagogy. This course looks at work aimed at youth (birth through high school). We will examine the historical contexts of TYA, read plays in the TYA canon and plays working to expand or disrupt the cultural understanding of what TYA is in the United States, investigate current theatre companies focused on work for youth, and explore educational applications. Our discussions will be framed by scene work, the viewing TYA/TVY, scholarly writing on the topics being discussed, dialogue with leaders in the field, and professional partnerships.

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