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. 

Fall 2021 Courses:

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

Section 0001 | Etana Dinka | TuTh 11:20AM-12:35PM | In-Person

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 400: The Antiracist Gen Ed Project (A JMU X-Labs Class)

Section 0002 | Tolu Odumosu (co-taught by Amy Lewis, Allison Fagan, and Carah Whaley) | TuTh 9:40-10:55AM | In-Person

Join students from across campus to redefine and reimagine “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion” in the General Education curriculum. What broad skills does a college graduate in 2026 need to have? Whose knowledge should count as important enough to teach to the leaders of tomorrow? Whose stories should we tell? Are you interested in joining a diverse team of multidisciplinary faculty from across campus to critique the syllabi of yesterday and shape the courses of tomorrow? Are interested in rethinking the Gen Ed experience from an anti-racist perspective? If so, join the conversation and sign up for this class. Admission is by instructor permission only. Apply here by Wednesday, April 14:

Course Cross-Listed with LAXC 495, POSC 351, MUS 490, ISAT 480, HON 300, UNST 300E, ENG 302

AAAD 401: Internship in African, African American and Diaspora Studies

Sections 0001 (one credit hour), 0002 (two credit hours), 0003 (three credit hours) | Case Watkins | TBD | Multiple

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 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. Students should seek out their own internship opportunities, respond to opportunities posted by the Director of AAAD Internships, and/or work with AAAD faculty and partners to develop internship opportunities.Questions? Contact Director of AAAD Internships, Dr. Case Watkins, at

AMST 200: Introduction to American Studies

Section 0002 / 0003 | H. Gelfand | MW 3:55-5:10PM / MW 5:35-6:50PM | In Person/Hybrid

This course examines representations of the United States in literature, history, philosophy, religion, popular culture, music, and art through the concepts of Identity, Place, and Activism with a strong emphasis on People of Color and people of all abilities, economic backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities.

EDUC 310: Teaching in a Diverse Society

Section 0001 / 0003 | Diana Meza (0001) or Ruthie Bosch (0003) | MW 9:40-10:55AM (0001) / TuTh 9:40-10:55AM (0003) | 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

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

Section 0003 / 0004 / 0005 | Kara Kavanagh | M 11:45AM-2:30PM / M 8:00-10:45AM / W 8:00-10:45AM | 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 239: Studies in World Literature: Literatures of Global English

Section 0002 | David Babcock | TuTh 9:40-10:55AM | In-Person/Hybrid

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 260: Survey of African American Literature

Section 0001 | Mollie Godfrey | MWF 1:00-1:50PM | In-Person/Hybrid

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 335: African American Children's Literature

Section 0001 | Danielle Price | TuTh 2:40-3:55PM | In-Person

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 and then consider its history and expression in various genres including the picture book, poetry, historical fiction, realistic 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 496: Advanced Creative Writing: Life Writing

Section 0004 | Joanne Gabbin | TuTh 9:40-10:55AM | In-Person

Creative life writing class organized around readings in memoirs and autobiographies written by Black American authors, including Maya Angelou, Richard Wright, Barack Obama, James McBride, Jesmyn Ward, and Edwidge Danticat.

HIST 263: Introduction to African History

Section 0001 | David Owusu-Ansah | MWF 8:00-8:50AM | In Person

History 263 introduces students to topics in the African past. The course begins with presentations about the African past as evidenced in paleanthropological discoveries and continues through the colonial period. articular attention is given to the development of political structures, religious concepts/institutions, and socio-economic patterns within the continent. Contacts with the outside world—the Arabia world and Europe—examine Africa in global history.

HIST 341: A History of Modern Africa

Section 0001 | Etana Dinka | TuTh 4:20-5:35PM | In-Person

This course examines selected key themes in the history of modern Africa. It
explores historical transitions and challenges in society, economy and politics in the 19th and 20th centuries. The major themes of the course include the 19th-century transformations in the west and southern Africa, East Africa and the Indian ocean, Islam in Africa, conquest and colonialism, Africa and the two world wars, the process of decolonization and the eventual departure of European colonial rule in parts of tropical Africa, and independent Africa's politics and economies. The course is organized chronologically and thematically, providing students with a broad knowledge of modern Africa that will prepare them for further in-depth learning of the continent's contemporary history. Lectures, class discussions, films, and historical significance issues in selected African countries from different geographical zones will be employed to illustrate the key themes of discussions in the course.

HIST 355: African American History to 1865

Section 0001 | Andrew Witmer | TuTh 11:20AM-12:35PM | In-Person

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.

IDLS 395/ENVT 300: Environmental Thought and Activism

Section 0003 | H. Gelfand | Th 4:20-6:50PM | In-Person/Hybrid

This course examines the development of environmental thought in the United states, including environmental protection, environmental activism, environmental justice, urban adaptations to environmental degradation and poverty, land use, ecopoverty, and the impacts of resource extraction and refining, with a particular emphasis on People of Color and economically challenged populations.

JUST 355: Solutions to Global Poverty

Section 0001 | Daniel Beers | W 6:30-9:00PM | In-Person

This course will analyze the root causes of global poverty and critically examine a range of approaches designed to improve conditions for the world’s poor. Topics include nutrition and agriculture, healthcare, education, gender equality, water and sanitation, environmental management, and microfinance. Throughout the course, we will read policy documents, work with poverty-related data, and analyze a variety of real-world case studies to
illustrate key ideas. Prerequisites: JUST 200 and one other 200-level JUST course, not including JUST 225. (Limited availability; pre-reqs waived for AAAD students).

JUST 357: Environmental Justice

Section 0001 | Case Watkins | TuTh 2:00-3:15PM | In-Person

This course provides students with an interdisciplinary introduction to
environmental justice. Emphasizing how contemporary environmental issues are profoundly rooted in social, political, and economic conditions, students will apply principles and conceptions of justice to ecological challenges and sustainability efforts in local, national, and global contexts. Class Notes: Students are divided into subgroups and attend alternating face-to-face and remote classes on a schedule set by their instructor. Prerequisites: JUST 200 and one other 200-level JUST course, not including JUST 225. (Limited
availability; pre-reqs waived for AAAD students).

POSC 340: Politics of Development

Section 0001 | Melinda Adams | TuTh 11:20AM-12:35PM | In-Person

What is development and what strategies successfully promote it? This course examines questions related to development--what it is, what factors promote or obstruct it, and the ways that academic and practitioner-based approaches to it have changed over time. Throughout the semester, we will pay significant attention to issues of governance, institutions, strategies of development and poverty alleviation, and foreign aid and conflict.

POSC 341: Social Movements in the US & Abroad

Section 0001 | Kristin Wylie | MW 2:15-3:30PM | In-Person

In recent decades, social movements have mobilized people concerned about issues ranging from the rights of ethno-racial minorities, women, sexual minorities, and immigrants to the environment, human rights, and world peace. This course will examine the origins, modes of action, and impact of such movements. We will apply the comparative method to analyze social
movements in the United States and abroad, investigating how different socioeconomic and political contexts shape social movements based on common issues. The course will emphasize how social movements emerge and function within and alongside existing structures of formal politics.

PSYC 402: Independent Readings in Black in America

Section 0001 | Pam Gibson | M 11:00AM-12:15PM | Synchronous Online

This course reads and discusses 7 books and 2 reports by Black authors that deal with being Black in the United States. Some emphasis is put on identity and students will write a paper on their racial identity. Students will also explore their own implicit biases with an exercise designed by the instructor. Books will include: When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Kahn-Cullors (co-founder of Black Lives Matter); The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander; The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin; Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, "Overpoliced, and Underprotected" by Kimberle Williams Crenshaw with Priscilla Ocen and Jyoti Nanda (African American Policy forum and Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies.; "Say Her Name Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women." African American Policy forum. On Canvas and at www.aapf.orgWhy Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum; Whistling Vivaldi by Claude M. Steele; White Rage by Carol Anderson; and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This course is handled via override. Please email instructor at

REL 300: Race and Religion

Section 0001 | Emily Gravett | MW 9:40-10:55AM | In-Person

Both race and religion are interwoven into who we are and how we inhabit our various worlds, even if we don’t think of these as important or relevant parts of our lives. This class will explore the complicated and long-standing intersection of these two concepts, wondering: What do they each mean? How have these terms functioned, throughout history? How do race and religion interact? How has one informed or shaped our understanding of the other? When differing racial and religious identities converge for individuals and communities, what happens? With the foundation provided by the course and our time together, you will also have the opportunity to explore your own various identities as well as case study of your choosing that involves an intersection of race and religion.

SCOM 248: Intercultural Communication

Section 0001 / 0002 | Kathryn Hobson | TuTh 11:20-12:35PM / 1:00-2:15PM | In-Person

The study of human communication in a variety of cultural settings and contexts. Emphasis on developing understanding and analytical skills regarding communication between people from different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds in both domestic and international settings. Consideration of relevance and application to social, business, and political environments

WGSS 200: Introcution to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Section 0002 | Besi Muhonja | MW 9:40-10:55AM | In-Person

This course offers an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies from a critical, transnational, intersectional and cross-cultural perspective. Participants will interrogate intersections of gender, nationality, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, age, and other identities through the lenses of production and reproduction, public and private
concepts/spheres, margins and centers, privilege and subordination, cultural realities, resistance, colonialisms, decolonial knowledges, globalization and neo-colonialisms.

Back to Top