This program will explore the transformative journey of Africans to Africans living in America. The program will examine the broad spectrum of the human experience related to the African diaspora, as well as a dedicated emphasis on the relationship between Louisiana and West Africa. The program is designed to take students on a realistic journey through one of the most significant markers in the relationship between America and Africa. The program will be comprised of students from the University of Oregon and from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) Xavier University and Southern University. The program will begin in New Orleans with lectures, trips, and visits to historical landmarks, plantations, and other important cultural sites in Louisiana. The second part of the course will be spent in Ghana, attending Ghanaian guest lectures, experiencing Ghanaian culture while living in homestays, and going on excursions to modern day open-air markets. The program will also visit several historic markers of interests that were involved in transatlantic slave trade. Course lectures will continue throughout the Ghana portion of the program to expand on the emotional, cultural, and socio-economic impact of forced migration and displacement on people of African descent.
New Orleans is often referred to as the most African American city in America. The history of New Orleans spans several tenures under the flags of other countries however the authenticity and experience of New Orleans is like no other. As the first port of entry for the majority of slaves coming to America, the impact of slaves and free people of color left an indelible mark and to this day continues to pulse through the music, the art, and the people themselves. New Orleans offers museums, annual festivals, landmarks, and history makers that attest to the reality of what slavery once was but also gave birth to.
In Ghana the group will visit Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast. The first stop will be the capital city Accra, where students will go on daily excursions and live with host families. Accra, a city of about two and half million people, is the administrative, economic and cultural center of Ghana. Accra is well known for its traditional and contemporary arts, vibrant music scene, and bustling outdoor markets.
After a week in Accra, the group will travel to Kumasi and Cape Coast. In Kumasi, the Garden City and ancient capital of the Ashanti kingdom, the group will watch artisans weave traditional cloth and explore Kejetia, one of the largest open-air markets in Africa. In Cape Coast, the group will visit “slave castles” that were used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
The last night of the program will be in Accra with a drumming and dance demonstration and a farewell dinner.
Please Note: This program is only open to students from the University of Oregon, Xavier University, and Southern University.
The application process is competitive and based on all of the factors in the application process, including: GPA, an academic recommendation, and two short essay questions. The application is open to all students from the University of Oregon, Xavier University, and Southern University who meet the academic standing and GPA requirements listed above.
First-generation students and students who have never traveled abroad are encouraged to apply. Students with these backgrounds and students interested in diversity and diaspora studies will be given preference in the selection process. Please highlight this in your essays.
Applications will be considered after 3/15/2019. In order to be accepted into the program, students will be required to participate in an interview conducted by faculty from their home university. An equal number of students from each of the three universities will be selected for the program. If one university does not meet minimum enrollments, waitlisted students from other universities may be eligible to participate.
All program participants will be required to obtain a Ghanaian visa. You will receive more information about this during the application process.
The courses are designed to generate critical and analytical thinking about each student’s identity as a member of American society and as a member of the “global village.” Students will gain an understanding of the major issues across multiple disciplines that have impacted the African / African American Diaspora Experience. Students will critically evaluate major themes, concepts, and issues that impact the lives of Black Americans, i.e. persons of African Descent living in America.
Faculty and Staff
Brian L. Turner, Ph.D., is a native of New Orleans, LA and completed his undergraduate studies at The Southern University at Baton Rouge. He completed his doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology at Jackson State University. Dr. Turner serves currently as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in his private practice, Moments of Truth, L.L.C., he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Xavier University of Louisiana, and he serves as the Director of the African American Diaspora Studies Program at Xavier University of Louisiana. Dr. Turner has worked with a diversity of clients but most ardently has worked with black males from adolescence to adulthood on a wide spectrum of issues. Dr. Turner’s work as a professor and clinician is grounded in his multicultural training which examines the impact of culture on mental health. During his time at Xavier University of Louisiana his research has focused on Black Male Experiences in Higher Education, Black Women and Risky Behaviors, and Mental Health and HBCU’s.
Dr. Cynthia Bryant is Dean of Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. An English professor at heart and by training, her research continues to focus on trauma and healing in the contemporary literature of African American women writers. One of her most cherished near future projects is the development of an Africana Studies program at Southern University. Thus, participating in the African American and Diaspora Studies in New Orleans and Ghana Study Abroad Program will be an exciting step in the right direction.
Yvette Alex-Assensoh is the vice president of the Division of Equity and Inclusion and a professor of political science at the University of Oregon. Her professional expertise is in racial and ethnic politics; political behavior; West African immigration; equity; inclusion and diversity in higher education; and scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL). She served as the chair of the American Political Science Association’s Ethics Committee (2012 – 2015), on the Editorial Board of American Politics Review (2003-2015) and is chair of the University of Oregon Black Student Task Force (2015 – present). She is the author/co-author of five books, most recently co-authoring the book Malcolm X and Africa. Her many published articles include “Getting to No” on women of color in the academe published in Inside Higher Education (2017) and “In Tumultuous Times, Colleges Can Do What They Do Best,” in the Chronicle of Higher Education (2016). She is a trained lawyer and registered mediator.
A.B. Assensoh (PhD, New York University) is Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University and Courtesy Professor at the University of Oregon. Prior to this, he was the Richard A. Bernstein Research Professor (Endowed Chair) at the University of Maryland. Dr. Assensoh's publications include African Military History and Politics, 1900-Present , African Political Leadership, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and America's Quest for Racial Integration.
In New Orleans, you will live in Xavier University housing and have a meal plan provided through the University’s dining. During the Accra portion of the program, you will be placed with another student in a local host family. Host families will provide you with breakfast and dinner, a private room with study area and light laundry. While visiting Kumasi and Cape Coast, students will share double rooms in hotels. Group meals will be provided while traveling.
Dates and Deadlines
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Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.
UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.