African Diaspora Studies in New Orleans and Ghana
Planning to run this program again in Summer 2024
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, Prairie View and A&M College, and other institutions. 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 interest that were involved in the 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.
The program begins in New Orleans, which 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 a 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.
In addition to 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.
To learn more about this program, watch the brief documentary produced by student journalist Francis O’Conner, on the purpose and experiences of the African Diaspora program, as part of his 2019 Media in Ghana capstone project.
Scholarship Opportunity: Scholarship funds are available for students accepted to this program, and all students are encouraged to apply for scholarship funds. If interested, please start an application and refer to the questionnaire titled "African Diaspora Studies Scholarship Application" in the program application.
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All students will participate in the following course:
- ES 388: Seminar in African American and Diaspora Politics (6 UO quarter credits / 4 Semester Credits)
The course is 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.
For UO students: This course will count as six credits towards Indigenous, Race and Ethnic Studies and may be approved by other concentrations and/or departments with appropriate approval from academic and department advisors.
UO students: please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.
Non-UO students: 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.
The application process is competitive and based on all of the factors in the application process, including GPA, a short interview, and a short essay. The application is open to all students 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. In order to be accepted into the program, students will be required to participate in an interview conducted by faculty.
Scholarship Opportunity: Scholarship funds are available for students accepted into this program, and all students are encouraged to apply for scholarship funds. If interested, please start an application and refer to the questionnaire titled "African Diaspora Studies Scholarship Application" in the program application.
We will start reviewing applications and scholarships after the program deadline, on February 15.
All program participants will be required to obtain a Ghanaian visa. You will receive more information about this during the application process.
This program has a rolling admission application process: GEO staff (and the program faculty leader, if applicable) will complete a review of the application materials of complete applications in the order that they are submitted (“first come, first serve”). Decisions about acceptance will be made shortly after you submit a complete application. There are some programs that fill fast, some even before the deadline. Students are encouraged to complete applications and commit to programs early.
Acceptance is based on a holistic review of your application. This includes a review of your GPA, transcripts (including courses taken and in-progress), any additional requirements or prerequisites (see section "Additional Requirements"), and the short statement. Some programs require a letter of recommendation from a faculty that is not the program's faculty leader. If a letter of recommendation is required, you will find more information in your GEO application portal.
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 or at a GEO Center in Accra. 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.
Note: For 2022, host families may not be provided. If host families are not available, students will be provided space at the Aya Centre - the University of Oregon's main partner in Accra.
GEO programs are under continuous review during this period of global uncertainty and limited travel. All program details outlined on this page, including program cost, are subject to change if global or location-specific conditions require modifications to program structure.
To learn more about COVID regulations while studying abroad, visit our FAQ page.