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.

Spring 2023 Courses
Core Course Offerings

AAAD 200: Introduction to AAAD

Section 0001 | Kathryn Hobson | TR 11:10am - 12:25pm

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.

AAAD 200: Introduction to AAAD

Section 0002 | Sombo Muzata | MF 9:35am - 10:50am

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.

AAAD 200: Introduction to AAAD

Section 0003 | Jaimee Swift | TR 12:45pm - 2:00pm

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.

Elective Courses

ARTH 426: Advanced Topics in Cross-Cultural Studies (New African Diaspora Art)

Section 0001 | Aderonke Adesanya | TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM

The course focuses on the works and experiences of New African Diaspora artists (NADA) in Africa and in western locations notably, America, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, and in Africa. It examines the artists’ condition of being simultaneously local and global, their processes and productions, their critique of and responses to race, politics, identity, migration, decolonization, and other experiences. Other course highlights include the avenues for exhibition and circulation of their works, the ways that the artists straddle traditions and spaces (Africa and Euro-American), navigate and mediate the politics of art making. Their intersections with intermediaries and institutions, the local and global art markets are also considered. 

ARTH 424: Art of Ancient Egypt

Section 0001 | Wren River Stevens | TR 3:55PM - 5:10PM

A study of the arts and culture of Ancient Egypt (c. 3000 B.C. to c. 300 B.C.). This course will focus on the art and architecture of the Old and New Kingdoms and also examine the enduring fascination with this unique artistic heritage from the excavations of Napoleon to the present.

HIST 401:Fueling Growth with the Blood of Africans: Illegal Slave Trading and the Rise of Capitalism 

Section 0002 | William C. Van Norman | TR 9:35AM - 10:50AM

The focus of this class builds on my own research over the last several years and my current book project on this topic. My work traces how two different historical developments were intertwined with the common thread connecting them of the banned trade in enslaved Africans from the African coast. The two different threads are the rise of transnational networks of trade that were empowered by illegal commerce and the transformations this trade wrought to the people caught up in the trade and to the people of the island of Cuba. Cuba was the most important destination for illegal slave trading during the nineteenth century. 

Students will learn about the period (1808-1867) and what marks it as distinct from the previous era of slave trading. They will learn about the plantation boom in Cuba and the transnational connections that emerged and reached in all directions from the Caribbean throughout the Atlantic World. The research focus of the class will then pull them down to the ship level to research a specific ship, its voyage, and all the people it touched in some way from owners, ship-builders and outfitters, officers and sailors, traders on the African coast, enslaved Africans, and the people who acquired and worked the enslaved in Cuba. 

SOCI 336: Race and Ethnicity

Section 0001 | Bethany Bryson | Asynchronous Online

Course Description per the catalog: SOCI courses are restricted to sociology students during early registration and this course always fills during that time. I will offer five overrides to AAAD students who can register before the class fills. Please contact me before your registration window. Your messages should say that you are a AAAD minor hoping to enroll in SOCI 336, and it should also include your appointment time. If you are not among the first five students requesting overrides, add yourself to the waiting list for potential access during open enrollment. 

JUST 328: Race, Class and Justice

Section 0001 | Gianluca De Fazio | TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM

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. The instructor has reserved 5 seats for AAAD minor students; they can contact Prof. De Fazio at 

HIST 470: Modern Africa 

Section 0001 | David Owusu-Ansah | MW 8:00AM - 9:15AM

A history seminar that focuses on the theories of economic development for emerging nations. We engage in the critical review of how African countries have reacted to these International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) funding-attached recommendations. Thus, what has been the history of African governmental responses to addressing its development challenges since the 1960s?

HIST 322: Jim Crow South

Section 0001 | Steven Reich | MWF 10:20AM - 11:10AM

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—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. 

GEOG 339: Geography of the Caribbean

Section 0001 | Mary Kimsey | MWF 12:40PM - 1:30PM

This course is designed to give students a general geographical overview of the islands states and territories surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. Students will study physical landforms, weather and climate, environmental issues, population characteristics, history, local and regional politics, and economic aspects of political units in the region.

ENG 260: Survey of African American Literature

Section 0001 | Mollie Godfrey | MWF 1:50PM - 2:40PM

This course introduces students to major authors, literary forms, and movements in African American literature. 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. By way of readings made up entirely of literary works by Black authors, this course also interrogates systems of power, oppression, and discrimination, and introduces foundational theories of Black resistance, resilience, intersectionality, and liberation.  

HIST 472: Human Trafficking in African History 

Section 0001 | Etana H. Dinka | TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM

This seminar examines several key themes in the history of human trafficking in the entire sweep of African history: the trans-Saharan trade, Africa and the Red Sea trades, Africa and the Indian Ocean trade, Africa and the Mediterranean world, the Atlantic world trade, systems of African slavery and slave trade, and religions and slave trade. In exploring these themes, students will recognize that the history of human trafficking as a significant global economic factor defies racial boundaries, connecting water bodies and continents, and develop familiarity with competing historiographical interpretations, debates and theories. Students will have opportunities to appreciate the historical roles of human trafficking in transforming societies, economies, cultures, polities, religions, and people’s perceptions and worldviews. While Africa remains the focus of the course, most of the themes open up discussions about the history of human trafficking from global perspectives. The course will also involve improving essential skills of using sources of African history.     

ENG 362: African American Womyn's Poetry

Section 0001 | L. Renée | TR 2:20PM - 3:35PM

How have African American poets who identify as women described their experiences in the United States? What role has Black feminist and womanist thought played in the crafting of their work? And what themes have been raised, remixed, or renunciated across, at least, the last three centuries when we hold the lines of these poets and writers up closely to the light? In this course, we will learn the basics of poetic craft and use these craft tools in our analysis of both individual poems and poetry/hybrid collections. We will examine Black feminist and womanist thought through prose articles, contextualized with relevant history, and probe how these principles impacted the publishing of African American poets and writers from Phillis Wheatley to Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez to Nikki Giovanni, and Claudia Rankine to Tiana Clark, among others. While this is a literature course, we will use multimodal learning methods. This means, in addition to our readings, we'll be listening to audio recordings, watching short videos, taking trips to the library's special collections to engage with archival material, and chatting with class guests. Be prepared to read closely, to collaborate with care, and lean into creative thinking.

REL 300: Islam in Africa

Section 0001 | Cyril Uy | MW 5:00PM - 6:15PM

This course will explore approaches to Islam in Africa from the medieval period to the present day. Through a critical attention to both primary and secondary sources, we will analyze a rich diversity of African Muslim perspectives while grappling with the thorny theoretical questions these perspectives provoke. Possible themes include: embodied pedagogies, abstract metaphysics, gender and authority, occult science, jihad and colonialism, competing epistemologies, Islam Noir, and Sufi music videos. 


ANTH 395: Women, Culture and Power in Africa 

Section 0001 | Miriam Kilimo | MW 3:25PM - 4:40PM

How did women access political power in precolonial Africa? What role did African women play in liberation struggles? How are African women today agitating for increased political spaces? This course invites students to explore African women's experiences in light of cultural, economic, and political transformations on the continent. Students will engage with African feminist thought and explore African women's writing and histories. We will examine how the experiences of African women were influenced by forces such as colonialism, independence struggles, women’s movements, political activism, human rights discourses, development aid, among others. Throughout the course, we will see how African women have shaped their communities and cultivated spaces for agency, autonomy, and renewal amidst hegemonic cultural and political forces.

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