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 2022 Courses
Core Courses

AAAD 200: Introduction to Africana Studies

Section 0001 | Besi Muhonja | MW 1:50-3:05pm | Synchronous Online
Section 0002 | Biruk Haregu | TuTh 12:45-2:00pm | 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.

AAAD 489: African, African American, and Diaspora Studies Senior Research Experience

Section 0001 | Kathryn Hobson | TBD | In-Person

AAAD 489 is a one-credit hour, culminating experience for those in the African, African American, and Diaspora (AAAD) Studies minor program. AAAD 489 requires a substantive research paper and/or other approved project(s), as well as a public presentation, that demonstrate the student’s ability to synthesize learning gained throughout the minor program. Students work with one or more AAAD faculty members to determine the topic, research methods, and project structure. The public presentation must occur at an approved academic venue. Students may build upon coursework that they have completed at the 300 and 400 level.

Note: It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that they are registered into the AAAD 489 course.

Elective Courses

AAAD 401: Internship in AAAD Studies

Sections 0001; 0002; 0003 | Case Watkins | TBD | In-Person & Online

This internship course provides the student with the opportunity to apply knowledge learned in the classroom in a practical/real-world setting(s). It prepares students for working independently in the field. Any internship experience must be approved by the internship coordinator in advance, and details of supervision and evaluation should be spelled out in advance by the supervising faculty member. If the internship is through an academic unit, it must be approved for credit by the African, African American and Diaspora Studies internship coordinator in advance of the experience. Opportunities for Spring 2022 include working with individual professors, the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project, AAAD-CGE Virtual Internships Abroad, and more. To learn more, email the Director of AAAD Internships Dr. Case Watkins at watki2ac@jmu.edu.

ANTH 395: Women, Culture, and Power in Africa

Section 0003 | Miriam Kilimo | MW 3:25-4:40pm | In-Person

How did women access political power in pre-colonial 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.

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

Section 0001 | Aderonke Adesanya | TuTh 11:10-12:25pm | In-Person

The course focuses on the works and experiences of New African Diaspora artists (NADA) 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.

EDUC 310: Teaching in a Diverse Society

Sections 0001; 0002; 0004 | Diana Meza (1-2) & Kristofor Wiley (4) | TuTh 11:10-12:25pm (M) & MW 9:35-10:50am (W) | 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 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 | Allison Fagan | MWF 12:40-1:30pm | In-Person

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. Students can expect to complete in-class reading and comprehension quizzes, group discussion board writing assignments, a midterm and final exam.

ENG 385: Race and Hollywood

Section 0001 | Mollie Godfrey | MW 9:35-10:50am | In-Person

Since its inception at the turn of the 20th century, the American film industry has fostered ideals and images of American identity, often via its fortification or interrogation of America’s Black/white color line. Indeed, from the rise of film through the Civil Rights movement, Black Power, and the rise of independent Black cinema, representations of Blackness and whiteness have proven crucial both to the content of American films and also to the perspectives from which they are made and viewed. This course will investigate the conceptualization of race and both the perpetuation of and resistance to racism in popular American culture by examining representations of Black and white Americans in Hollywood films—as well as the public reception of those films—from the birth of film to the present day.

ENG 408: African American Theater & Performance

Section 0001 | Matthew Rebhorn | MW 1:50-3:05pm | In-Person

This course offers a brief literary history of African American theater and performance from the early nineteenth century to today.  Beginning with blackface minstrelsy, “Uncle Tom Mania,” and the first published play by a Black artist, this course will trace out the ways that these initial tropes, characters, and ideas have continued to affect and inflect the genealogy of Black theater history and the trajectory of Black performative practices.  We will trace the way the Black American theater tradition has both embraced and rechanneled the theatrical developments of realism, absurdism, modernism, poststructuralism, and avant-gardism, even as it has responded to the historical lived experience of Black Americans, from chattel slavery to the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter.  To do this, we will touch on familiar artists, such as Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson, Langston Hughes, and Eugene O’Neill, as well as less familiar—but no less radical—artists, such as Suzan-Lori Parks, Lynn Nottage, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.  We will experience some of these works as recordings, and will most likely attempt to see at least one production in the area.  

Note: This course fulfills the “Identity, Diversity, Power” overlay requirement for the English Major.

HIST 341: Militarism in Africa

Section 0001 | Etana Dinka | TuTh 11:10-12:25pm | In-Person

Selected themes are studied in depth. Course may be repeated when content changes. Only courses with significant content outside of Europe will count toward the world history requirement. See MyMadison and the history department website for information on current classes.

HIST 436: Afro-Latin America: Black Radical Thought in the Caribbean and Latin America

Section 0001 | William Van Norman | TuTh 2:20-3:35pm | In-Person

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 descent 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 Migrations

TBD | Tatiana Benjamin | Tu 3:55-6:25pm | In-Person

This course surveys human migration in relation to questions of justice. Students will analyze interdisciplinary literature on human migration, settlement, and diasporas while studying flows of people across various historical, geographic and political contexts, and from global to local perspectives. The first part of this course explores larger concepts and theories that shape the historical and political dimensions of migration. Part two dives deeper by exploring the process of migration by focusing on the experiences of migrants from different parts of the world. Lastly, part three centers immigration policies, economics, and resistance. Taken together these parts will demonstrate the relationship between human migration with historical and  contemporary conversations on justice. 

We will read and discuss a wide range of academic and popular writings related to migration. In addition to readings, we will scrutinize films, podcasts, and other digital media each week, honing our critical analytical and writing skills. Topics include the peopling of continents, settler colonialism, the African diaspora, immigration to the US, transnational communities and identities, and contemporary migration policies at local, national, and international levels. 

POSC/WGSS 383: Women & Politics in Comparative Perspective

Section 0001 | Kristin Wylie | TuTh 12:45-2pm | In-Person

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. 

SOCI 354: Social Inequality

Section 0001 | Bethany Bryson | 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.  

STAD 322: Equity, Access, and Inclusion in Education and Performance

Sections 0001 & 0002 | Rachel Rhoades | WF 1:50-3:05pm & TuTh 8-9:15am | In-Person

This course examines the role of education and the performing/applied arts in two major tasks:  

  1. Opening space for all peoples to participate in dismantling systems of oppression, specifically through artistic cultural production  
  1. Enhancing access to resources and opportunities for artists from non-dominant identity groups  

In this course, you will learn a range of critical theories (e.g. Black Feminism, Critical Disability Theory, Critical Race Theory, Indigenous Theory, Latinx Critical Theory, Marxist Feminism, Queer Theory) and their foundational relevance to school- and community-based critical education, performing arts contexts, and in arts-based, youth-led social movement activism. 

You will examine current issues around equity, access, and inclusion in education and the arts. In addition, you will become familiar with and imagine new forms of arts-based resistance to injustices. We will explore case studies such as: the BIPOC Demands for White American Theatre #WeSeeYou document and the recent 7-month follow-up Accountability Report; anti-colonial, anti-capitalist youth arts “colectivos” in Venezuela; Indigenous climate justice music videos galvanizing policy change across the US; and Chilean college students utilizing “carnival strategies” such as public dance performances to challenge the egregious state of education. 

You will develop academic, professional, and interpersonal skills to prepare you as an advocate, educator, and artist- all of us can use our individual and collective agency in any of these roles to demand justice! In all aspects of my teaching, my goal is to engage in the exchange of knowledge and collective inquiry on urgent issues as a means to unite students and myself as, what critical education pioneer Paulo Freire (1973) calls, “co-investigators in dialogue” as we work together towards “critical intervention in reality” through lenses of critique and renewal. 

Course Directives (Request from Minor Coordinator)

ENG 360: Introduction to Ethnic American Literature

Section 0001 | Allison Fagan | MWF 10:20-11:10am | In-Person

Emma Lazarus’s poem, “The New Colossus,” was published in 1883, but in 2021 we still find it cropping up everywhere: from cable news to cartoons, from protest signs to quotations from public officials, and from newspaper ads to Instagram posts, its words resonate with some of the most pressing questions of the present: how do we decide the price of admission to a nation? This semester, ENG 360 will take up the question of immigration by focusing on narratives of arrivals and departures written by 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century immigrants from around the world. We’ll focus on stories AND silences, tracing the various routes to the United States these writers have carved into history and paying attention to the vision of America these immigrants bring with them. We’ll study short works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as well as oral histories archived in Special Collections at JMU’s Carrier Library. But we won’t just be studying stories; we’ll also be making them. This class will be dedicated not only to researching existing oral histories of local immigrants, but also to recording new oral histories of immigrants currently living in the Harrisonburg community. We’ll be blending these past and present oral histories into episodes of a class-produced podcast, gaining research, interview, digital production, and narrative editing skills along the way. We will use our understanding of the value of immigrant narrative to help begin to amplify the narratives of the immigrant communities of Harrisonburg. Join us as we produce season three of the Harrisonburg 360 Podcast. 

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

Section 0001 & 0002 | Kara Kavanagh | W 2:30-5:20pm | In-Person

This course guides students in critically examining their own perspectives regarding diversity in our society. Through this course, students will expand their awareness and understanding of individuals and groups apparently different from themselves. Students will explore pedagogical issues and practices in the classroom that embrace the whole community of learners and their families.  

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

Section 0005 | Kara Kavanagh | M 11:30-2:15pm | In-Person

This course guides students in critically examining their own perspectives regarding diversity in our society. Through this course, students will expand their awareness and understanding of individuals and groups apparently different from themselves. Students will explore pedagogical issues and practices in the classroom that embrace the whole community of learners and their families.

ENG 405: Advanced Studies in Anglophone Literature. Epidemics in Global Anglophone Fiction

Section 0001 | David Babcock | MW 1:50-3:05pm | In-Person

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. Likely authors include John Edgar Wideman, Amitav Ghosh, Mary Karooro Okurut, Jamaica Kincaid, Colson Whitehead, and Kazuo Ishiguro.

HIST 436: Afro-Latin America: Black Radical Thought in the Caribbean and Latin America

Section 0001 | William Van Norman | TuTh 2:20-3:35pm | In-Person

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 descent 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 356: Refugees & Humanitarian Response

Section 0001 | Daniel Beers | W 4:10-6:40pm | In-Person

This course will examine the practical and ethical challenges facing refugees and humanitarian actors in the contemporary world. We will survey the causes of forced migration, explore global trends in displacement and humanitarian aid, and analyze the laws and institutions that facilitate (or inhibit) refugee protection. We will consider the challenges that refugees face throughout their journey, from border crossings, to refugee camps, to resettlement communities, as well as the difficult tradeoffs that humanitarian actors must weigh in providing assistance and protection. 

JUST 376: Global Social Movements

Section 0001 | Gianluca De Fazio | TuTh 9:35-10:50am | In-Person

his course introduces justice studies students to the origins, development, and outcomes of global social movements. It involves an in-depth examination of the main theories explaining the rise of social movements, as well as an empirical focus on global dynamics of popular mobilization. Special attention will be devoted to the examination of the global justice movement and recent transnational anti-racist mobilization. AAAD students have to focus on a AAAD topic for their final research paper. 

POSC/WGSS 383: Women & Politics in Comparative Perspective

Section 0001 | Kristin Wylie | TuTh 12:45-2pm | In-Person

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. 

SOCI 395: The Black Family

Section 0001 | Deborwah Faulk | TuTh 9:35-10:50am | TBD

This course approaches the study of the Black family through the context of neighborhoods, schools, work, and other social spaces. Students will discuss how racial status intersects with class, gender, and place and how these forces manifest in the lives and stories of Black families. Students will also design, write, and present a research project which addresses a question pertaining to the Black family. 

SOCI 395: Sociology of Higher Education

Section 0002 | Deborwah Faulk | TuTh 2-3:15pm | TBD

 Higher education is at the center of research, policy, and public discourse in the U.S. While the assumption is often that education is a public good and the "great equalizer", some scholars suggest that higher education only exacerbates existing social inequality. In this course, we will engage theoretical and empirical arguments about the relationship between higher education and inequality. Through in-depth interrogation of sociological theories; close reading and analysis of text; and discussion of real-world issues related to Higher Ed, we will explore this relationship. This course approaches higher education through three avenues: 1) pathways to Higher Ed; 2) experiences during college; and 3) social outcomes post-entry.

SOCI 480: Visual Sociology

Section 0001 | Stephen Poulson | TuTh 9:30-10:50am | In-Person

This is a special topics course that explores methods of visual sociology. This field often uses visual artifacts such as pictures, films, paintings and drawings in order to understand past historical periods. It also includes using visual methods, such as photography, to explore the social world. During the semester, as students explore different strategies used in visual research and collect (or create) visual data for individual projects that will be presented at a research symposium. One of the primary texts for this course is: W. E. B. Du Bois's Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America. This is a writing intensive course required for graduation from the sociology program, but can be taken by advanced undergraduates with an interest in the topic. 

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