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. 

Summer 2020 Courses:

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

May 4-Week Session 1 | Besi Brillian Muhonja | 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.

ENG 239: Studies in World Literature: African Oral Literature

May 4-Week Session 1 | Besi Brillian Muhonja | Online

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-today structures and operations of African communities. May be used for general education credit.

ENG 260: Survey of African American Literature

May 4-Week Session 1 | Mollie Godfrey | 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. May be used for general education credit.

HIST 391: Special Topics in African History: Ghana, A Case Study

6-Week Session 1 | David Owusu-Ansah | Online

Ghana, the first African country South of Sahara, is often described as symbolizing the history and conditions of the African continent. Its location just above the Equator and through which Longitude zero degrees or the Greenwich Meridian passes, Ghanaians see themselves as occupying the center of the globe, and its post-independent leaders feel obliged to model their political and economic developments for the rest of the continent. This Ghana Special Topics course is designed as an online engagement that will cover issues from slavery to emphasizing local responses to colonialism, and in discussing topics in post -independence politics, cultural and economic developments.

JUST 328: Race, Class and Justice

4-Week Session 2 | Gianluca De Fazio | 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 crossnational comparisons of justice issues concerning race and class.

SOCI 336: Race and Ethnicity

May 4-Week Session 1 | Bethany Bryson | Online

This course examines the social construction of race and ethnicity around the world and how they influence social processes, institutions, change and ideology. The course will include discussions concerning the intersection of race and ethnicity with other aspects of social inequality such as class, gender, sexuality and nationality in contemporary society.

SOCI 354: Social Inequality

May 4-Week Session 2 | Bethany Bryson | Online

This 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. 

Fall 2020 Courses:

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

Section 0001 | Benita Dix | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

This course is an introduction to the broad and interdisciplinary field of Africana Studies. In this course, we will examine and discuss some of Africana Studies’ major contributing disciplines, theories, concepts, methods, and topics, including the history of the field; culture; social and economic organization; migration; gender; kinship, race, and ethnicity; colonialism; development; globalization; and popular culture.

EDUC 310: Teaching in a Diverse Society

Sections 0001, 0002, or 0003 | Bosch, Meza, or Schick | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm, W 12:20-3:10pm, or TuTh 3:30-4:45pm

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 239: Studies in World Literature: Literatures of Global English

Section 0001 | David Babcock | TuTh 9:30-10:45am

This course serves as an introduction to world anglophone literatures since 1945, with special attention to English as a global language with a colonial history. Our texts are produced in places where, historically, English has been the language of imperialism and colonization, ranging from the Indian subcontinent, Africa, the Caribbean, and North America. Keeping in mind this bloody history, we will consider what it means to think in terms of a “global” English literature today, and identify common literary themes, problems, and strategies that have arisen across different areas of the world. How do postcolonial writers go about using English for their own purposes, occupying a potentially treacherous literary ground?

ENG 239: Studies in World Literature: African Oral Literature

Section 0003 | Besi Brillian 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-today structures and operations of African communities. May be used for general education credit.

ENG 260: Survey of African American Literature

Section 0001 | Mollie Godfrey | MWF 12:20pm-1:10pm

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 332/WGSS 300: African American Women in/and the Media

Section 0001 |  Besi Brillian Muhonja | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

The course will examine the positioning and representation of Black women in the media in the USA. The course will critically engage forces that have contributed to identified representations and the transitioning narrative of the African American. Exploring media literacy, students will take on the roles of media producers, consumers and critics as we navigate the worlds of movies, TV, magazine and other forms of advertising, electronic, digital, print and new media.

ENG 335: African-American Children’s Literature

Section 0001 | Danielle Price | TuTh 9:30-10:45am

How do we define African-American children’s literature: 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 such genres as the picture book, realistic and fantasy fiction, and the graphic novel. We will also discuss the position of African-American children’s works within the wider world of children’s books, book publishing, and popular culture.

ENG 423: Advanced Studies in Gender and Sexuality: Gender, Sexuality and Ubuntu in African Literature

Section 0001 | Besi Brillian Muhonja | TuTh 9:30-10:45am

Outlining the major developments in African literary studies, this course challenges students to engage critical thinking perspectives beyond normative western and Eurocentric paradigms. Through an exploration of theoretical works and novels by African and Africanist writers, the course will introduce students to African-centered perspectives and philosophies including critical African queer theories, critical African feminisms, Ubuntu, decolonial thought, Afrofuturism, and Afropolitanism. Journeying through different geographical, historical and cultural contexts, we will explore composite themes that intersect with and impact identities and performances of gender and sexuality: the colonial encounter, decolonization, cultural nationalism, modernity, cultural imperialism, and African cultural traditions, to mention a few.

ENG 433: Studies in Arabic Literature: Space and Place: North African Novels

Section 0001 | Sofia Samatar | M 4:00-7:00pm

This course examines the representation of space in North African novels. Our selected texts address human experience in a variety of spaces, from interiors and villages to the open desert. Reading these novels in comparison with others from outside the region will allow us to explore a number of rich topics, including the difference between space and place, the role of storytelling in spatial experience, and how a particular type of storytelling—the novel—helps shape our idea of the world. The course is taught in English; no knowledge of Arabic is necessary. 

ENG 374: Contemporary Global Anglophone Literature: Alternative Modernities

Section 0001 | David Babcock | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

Since the era of decolonization, many newly independent nations in Africa, South Asia, and the

Caribbean have been faced with the question of what "modernity" means to them going forward. Does it mean embracing technologies, economic structures, and cultural norms based in the global North? Or would this merely amount to a new form of colonial exploitation? How do communities formulate their own versions of "modernity," ones which would best serve their own interests and flourishing? These questions have preoccupied postcolonial novelists for decades, and this course will explore the literary strategies they have used to forge a range of new perspectives on this vexed issue.

HIST 263: Introduction to African History

Section 0001 | David Owusu-Ansah | MWF 8:00-9:00am

Course introduces students to the history of the African past--from evidence of discoveries and analysis of paleoanthropological finds through the colonial period. Particular attention is paid to the development of political structures, religious institutions, and socioeconomic patterns that are the foundation of African civilization in the global context.

HIST 307: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Section 0001 | William Van Norman | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

This course explores the origins, processes and outcomes of the infamous trade. By studying participants’ lives in Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America, the course helps students understand people’s inhumanity to each other and the ways in which slavery and the trade in slaves forever altered the development of the Atlantic world.

HIST 489: Pandemics in African History

Section 0001 | Etana Dinka  | TuTh 9:30-10:45am

This course explores histories of pandemics in the entire sweep of African history. By examining histories of pandemics on the continent, beginning with the earliest recorded pestilence, the Athenian Plague, to the recent Ebola epidemic, the course offers students the opportunity to understand diseases historically and examine how pandemics shaped economies, societies, cultures and politics. The 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 discussion in the longer context of African history. The history of pandemics, and more generally of diseases, falls under environmental history. Since pandemics are natural forces occurring beyond human control, 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 and helps 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 major pandemics that had prevailed on the continent, including the Athenian Plague, the Black Death, Cholera, 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.

HRD 123: Developing Multicultural Competency for Effective Facilitation

Section 0001 | TBA | TBA

This course will provide students with a deeper understanding of social identities, and they will gain the necessary skills to facilitate training, programs and dialogues focusing on areas of diversity, multiculturalism, inclusion and access. Students enrolled in this course will be prepared to become a diversity educator in the Diversity Education Empowerment Program sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Student Services at James Madison University.

JUST 301: Refugees and Humanitarian Response

Section 0004 | Daniel Beers | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

This course will examine the political, ethical and practical challenges facing refugees and humanitarian actors assisting them. We will explore patterns in global refugee flows and the causes behind them, the policies and institutions that facilitate or inhibit refugee movement, and the challenges that refugees face throughout their journey, from border crossings, to refugee camps, to resettlement communities.

POSC 353: African Politics

Section 0001 | Melinda Adams | MWF 9:05-9:55am

A comparative study of the institutions and social, economic, and global processes that affect contemporary African states. Political developments explored include the construction and transformation of postcolonial states, ethnic conflict, economic crisis and reform, and regime change.

SOCI 336: Race and Ethnicity

Section 0001 | Bethany Bryson | Online

This course examines the social construction of race and ethnicity around the world and how they influence social processes, institutions, change and ideology. The course will include discussions concerning the intersection of race and ethnicity with other aspects of social inequality such as class, gender, sexuality and nationality in contemporary society.

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