Department of African, African American, and

Diaspora Studies

109 Battle Hall, CB# 3395; (919) 966-5496



The Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies is a transnational program that emphasizes the histories, cultures, cultural linkages, and contemporary sociopolitical and economic realities of Africa and the African diasporas in the context of a globalizing world. Included on our faculty are award-winning teachers and recognized scholars whose work in and out of the classroom covers all major regions of Africa, the United States, and increasingly other parts of the Atlantic African Diaspora, including the Caribbean and Latin America. We approach these areas of study from multiple perspectives, and as an interdisciplinary program, our faculty are trained in the fields of anthropology, film, history, international development studies, law, linguistics, music, and political science.

Prospective majors should contact the department's director of undergraduate studies.

African, African American, and Diaspora Studies Major, B.A.–African Studies Concentration

Core Requirements

First-year seminars do not count toward the major.


African, African American, and Diaspora Studies Major, B.A.–African American and Diaspora Studies Concentration

Core Requirements

First-year seminars do not count toward the major.

African Studies Minor

The undergraduate minor in African studies consists of 15 hours.

African American and Diaspora Studies Minor

The undergraduate minor in African American and Diaspora studies consists of 15 hours.


Upon declaring the major in African, African American, and Diaspora studies, students should consult with the director of undergraduate studies, who is also available to students at other times in their academic careers.

Special Opportunities in African, African American, and Diaspora Studies

Honors in African, African American, and Diaspora Studies

Students with an overall grade point average of 3.3 or higher at the beginning of their senior year and who have already completed AAAD 395 are encouraged to apply for candidacy for the B.A. with honors. Students interested in undertaking honors research and the writing of a thesis should consult with the department's honors coordinator no later than in their junior year to discuss the process of applying to the program. Approved candidates will enroll in AAAD 691H in the fall semester of their senior year. Upon completion of AAAD 691H and with the approval of the student's thesis director and the department's honors coordinator, students will enroll in AAAD 692H in the spring semester. AAAD 691H can count as one of the five courses students must take in their concentration of study.

Departmental Involvement

The department works closely with two important research units on campus: the African Studies Center and the Institute for African American Research. These two units provide an opportunity for the advanced study of issues concerning Africa and its diaspora. Two student organizations of note are the Black Student Movement (BSM) and the Organization for African Students' Interests and Solidarity (OASIS). The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History is a resource for students in terms of programming and a library on African, African American and Diaspora studies.

Study Abroad

There are several opportunities for study abroad. Honors Carolina offers a Burch seminar in Cape Town, South Africa, during the fall semester. The department runs summer study abroad programs in Dakar (Senegal) and Durban (South Africa).

Undergraduate Research

The department encourages undergraduate research. The required seminar for majors (AAAD 395) introduces students to research skills and methods in African, African American, and Diaspora studies. The honors program (AAAD 691H and AAAD 692H) offers qualified students the opportunity to engage in a yearlong process of research and writing.

Graduate School and Career Opportunities

The skills and perspectives of African, African American, and Diaspora studies provide an excellent background for students considering careers in international development, education, business, government, or diplomacy. Students go on to a variety of managerial, teaching, and research positions. Other careers for which the major is excellent preparation include law, communication, social work, community development, and public administration.



Kenneth Janken, Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, Bereket H. Selassie.

Associate Professors

Kia Caldwell, Perry Hall, Reginald Hildebrand, Michael Lambert, Margaret Lee, Charlene Regester, Eunice Sahle.

Assistant Professors

Lydia Boyd, David Pier, Ronald Williams II.


Barbara Anderson, Alassane Fall, Donato Fhunsu, Alphonse Mutima, Robert Porter.

Contact Information

Eunice Sahle, Chair, CB# 3395, 109 Battle Hall, (919) 966-5496, fax (919) 962-2694.

Kenneth Janken, Director of Undergraduate Studies,, (919) 962-1519.


The department has adopted the following numbering system for all AAAD courses numbered above 99:

Foreign language courses have their own subject code: Kiswahili (SWAH), Wolof (WOLO), Lingala (LGLA), and Chichewa (CHWA).

AAAD–African, African American, and Diaspora Studies

AAAD 50 First-Year Seminar: Defining Blackness (3). Blackness and whiteness as racial categories have existed in the United States from the earliest colonial times, but their meanings have shifted and continue to shift. Over the semester we will attempt to define and redefine blackness in the United States.

AAAD 51 First-Year Seminar: Masquerades of Blackness (3). This course is designed to investigate how race has been represented in cinema historically with an emphasis on representations of race when blackness is masqueraded.

AAAD 52 First-Year Seminar: Kings, Presidents, and Generals: Africa's Bumpy Road to Democracy (3). An introduction to Africa's modern history and politics with a special focus on types of leadership involved in governmental institutions.

AAAD 89 First-Year Seminar: Special Topics (3). Special topics course: content will vary each semester.

AAAD 101 Introduction to Africa (3). Introduction to the study of the African continent, its peoples, history, and contemporary problems of development in a globalized world, including a survey of the African past, society and culture, and contemporary political, economic, and social issues.

AAAD 130 Introduction to African American and Diaspora Studies (3). The course tracks the contours of life, societies, cultures, and history in the Atlantic African Diaspora from origins in Atlantic Africa to the present. Emphasis on forces that have created African American and African Diaspora peoples in North America, South America, and the Caribbean.

AAAD 159 The History of the Black Church and Social Change (3). A survey of the historical development of the black church in America, beginning during the antebellum period and continuing to the present day.

AAAD 200 Gender and Sexuality in Africa (WMST 200) (3). Introduction to the study of gender and sexuality in African societies. Theoretical questions relating to the cross-cultural study of gender will be a primary focus. Topics include historical perspectives on the study of kinship and family in Africa and the impact of colonialism and other forms of social change.

AAAD 201 The Literature of Africa (3). An introduction to African literature. In addition to substantive themes, we will identify major stylistic characteristics of modern African literature with particular attention to the ways in which African language, literature, and traditional values have affected modern writing.

AAAD 202 West Africa through Visual Art, Literature, and Film (3). This course introduces students to the rich, complex, and diverse pictorial, oral, and written productions by West African artists, novelists, poets, and singers, through readings, music, and films. It stimulates students' critical thinking skills as they reflect on aspects of West African societies and cultures.

AAAD 210 African Belief Systems: Religion and Philosophy in Sub-Saharan Africa (3). The relationship between religion and society in sub-Saharan Africa is explored through ethnographic and historical readings. The Nilotic, Bantu, and West African religious traditions are examined in detail.

AAAD 211 African Art and Culture (3). Introduction to the plastic arts of sub-Saharan Africa through study of their relationship to the human values, institutions, and modes of aesthetic expression of select traditional and modern African societies.

AAAD 212 Africa in the Global System (3). A seminar that critically examines the historical and theoretical basis of the state's centrality in economic development in African countries. Relevant case studies drawn from sub-Saharan Africa.

AAAD 214 Ethnography of Africa (3). By examining ethnographic texts, students will learn about topics in African studies such as systems of thought, aesthetics, the economy, politics, social organization, identity, and the politics of representation.

AAAD 231 African American History since 1865 (3). Special emphasis on postemancipation developments.

AAAD 232 Black Women in America (WMST 266) (3). An examination of the individual and collective experiences of black women in America from slavery to the present and the evolution of feminist consciousness.

AAAD 237 African American Art Survey (ARTH 287) (3). See ARTH 287 for description.

AAAD 240 African American Politics (POLI 240) (3). A survey of African American political development from emancipation to the present. The course examines the dynamics of minority group politics with African Americans as the primary unit of analysis. Students consider African American politics in domestic and global contexts and issues of local, regional, national, and international relevance.

AAAD 250 The African American in Motion Pictures: 1900 to the Present (3). This course will analyze the role of the African American in motion pictures, explore the development of stereotypical portrayals, and investigate the efforts of African American actors and actresses to overcome these portrayals.

AAAD 252 Blacks in the West (3). Blacks in the West is a survey course that examines the origins, migration, and development of African descended peoples in the United States west of the Mississippi River.

AAAD 254 Blacks in North Carolina (3). This course is an overview of the black experience in North Carolina with special emphasis on Chapel Hill and Wilmington.

AAAD 257 Black Nationalism in the United States (3). This course traces the evolution of black nationalism, both as an idea and a movement, from the era of the American Revolution to its current Afrocentric expressions.

AAAD 258 The Civil Rights Movement (3). An examination of the struggle by black Americans for social justice since World War II and of the systemic responses.

AAAD 259 Black Influences on Popular Culture (3). This course examines the influence of African American expressive culture, particularly popular music, on American mainstream culture.

AAAD 260 Blacks in Latin America (3). The majority of people of African descent in this hemisphere live in Latin America. This course will explore various aspects of the black experience in Latin America.

AAAD 278 Black Caribbeans in the United States (3). This course will look at the experiences of black Caribbean immigrants in the United States and the activities in which they participate, as well as their shifting senses of their identities.

AAAD 284 Contemporary Perspectives on the African Diaspora in the Americas (3). An interdisciplinary survey of African-descendant communities and the development and expression of African/black identities in the context of competing definitions of diaspora.

AAAD 286 The African Diaspora in the Colonial Americas, 1450–1800 (3). Explores the experiences of Africans in European colonies in locations such as colonial Mexico, Brazil, the Caribbean, and mainland North America. Lecture and discussion format. The major themes of inquiry include labor, law, gender, culture, and resistance, exploring differing experiences based on gender, location, and religion.

AAAD 290 Topics in African, African American, and Diaspora Studies (3). Subject matter will vary by instructor. Course description available from department office.

AAAD 293 Individual Internships for Majors and Minors (1–3). Students work internships and develop, in conjunction with a faculty supervisor, an academic project relating to their internship experience. Permission of the director of undergraduate studies required.

AAAD 298 Blacks in British North America to 1833 (3). This course looks at blacks in the British world to 1833, with particular attention on the 13 colonies and the lands that would eventually form the Dominion of Canada.

AAAD 300 Cultures of Health and Healing in Africa (3). This course explores contemporary economic, political, and social factors influencing the health and welfare of African peoples. Emphasis is placed on understanding the cultural perspectives that shape non-Western experiences of health, disease, and notions of spiritual and physical well-being. Readings draw from the fields of anthropology, history, and public health.

AAAD 301 Contemporary China-Africa Relations (3). The course examines the contemporary relationship between China and Africa. This includes China and Africa's history; China's economic, trade, strategic, and foreign policy towards Africa; as well as the relationship between China and the Africans who live and work there.

AAAD 307 21st-Century Scramble for Africa (3). Examines the 21st-century global competition for African resources and compares it to the 19th-century "scramble for Africa." Major actors include the European Union, the United States, and China.

AAAD 315 Political Protest and Conflict in Africa (3). This course surveys contemporary forms of political conflict and protest in Africa. The nature, causes, and consequences of these conflicts will be examined.

AAAD 316 Policy Problems in Africa (3). A course on policy making in African states concerning development and/or other issues.

AAAD 318 Politics of Cultural Production in Africa (3). Explores the role that the cultural realm plays in legitimizing, reproducing, resisting, and uncovering dominant structures of power in Africa.

AAAD 319 African Masquerade and Ritual (ANTH 343, ARTH 353) (3). See ARTH 353 for description.

AAAD 320 Music of Africa (3). An introduction to African music new and old, focusing on the continent's distinctive techniques and concepts, and on its musical interactions with the rest of the world. The politics of music making in various historical settings will be explored. Prior musical experience is helpful, but not required.

AAAD 330 20th-Century African American Art (ARTH 387) (3). See ARTH 387 for description.

AAAD 331 African America: Contemporary Issues (3). This course will allow students to research, analyze, and engage pressing political, economic, and social issues confronting black people in North America and elsewhere in the diaspora.

AAAD 332 Remembering Race and Slavery (3). The course provides an examination of the ways that the past plays out in the present. Specifically this course examines memorials, monuments, and museums that remember and reinvent slavery and race in the United States and throughout the rest of the Diaspora.

AAAD 333 Race and Public Policy in the U.S. (POLI 333) (3). Exploration of the relationship between race and public policy in the U.S. Primary focus on African Americans, but other racial groups also studied. Key areas include reproductive justice, health care, employment, labor, welfare, education, housing, environmental justice, policing, criminalization, foreign policy, immigration, and war.

AAAD 334 Performing African American History (3). Taking an issue of current or historic importance to African American communities, students conduct archival research and collect and/or analyze oral histories and work to create a documentary play that will be publicly performed.

AAAD 340 Diaspora Art and Cultural Politics (3). Examines the sociopolitical dimensions of African Diaspora art and culture with a focus on African Americans in the 20th century.

AAAD 341 Law and Society (3). This course explores the intersection of law and societal developments drawing from the disciplines of history, political science, anthropology, feminist legal studies, and constitutional law. The themes of the course will vary depending on the training, research interests, and geographical concentration of the faculty teaching the course.

AAAD 356 The History of Hip Hop Culture (3). Examines the emergence and impact of Hip Hop music and culture and its broad influence in mainstream culture, as a global phenomenon and as a vehicle embodying formative ideas of its constituent communities.

AAAD 385 Emancipation in the New World (HIST 371) (3). See HIST 371 for description.

AAAD 386 Comparative Studies in Culture, Gender, and Global Forces (WMST 386) (3). Prerequisites, AAAD 101 and 130. Examines participatory development theory and practice in Africa and the United States in the context of other intervention strategies and with special attention to culture and gender.

AAAD 387 HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Diaspora (3). This course explores the history and contemporary politics of HIV/AIDS in African communities and across the Diaspora. The differing trajectories of the epidemic on the continent, in the West, and in the Caribbean and Latin America will be explored.

AAAD 395 Undergraduate Research Seminar (3). Permission of the instructor for nonmajors. Subject matter will vary with each instructor. Each course will concern itself with a study in depth of some problem in African, African American, or diaspora studies.

AAAD 396 Independent Studies (3). Permission of the director of undergraduate studies. Independent study projects defined by student and faculty advisor. Majors only.

AAAD 400 The Challenges of Democratic Governance in Africa (3). An in-depth examination of trends and theories on democratic governance since the end of the Cold War, together with the implications of these trends and theories for Africa.

AAAD 401 Ghanaian Society and Culture (3). This course examines the societies, cultures, and history of Ghana. Emphasis on the many forces converging to shape the lives of West African peoples, with a focus on Ghana. This course also offers opportunities to assess issues arising from Ghana's role in the slave trade to its postcolonial condition.

AAAD 402 African Media and Film: History and Practice (3). This course explores forms of filmic and photographic representation of and by Africans. An introduction to key concepts in social theory and their application to the field of media studies and ethnography is a primary focus.

AAAD 403 Human Rights: Theories and Practices in Africa (3). This course explores major conceptual debates in the field of human rights. Further, it examines human rights practices and struggles in selected countries in Africa.

AAAD 404 Music of African Diasporas (3). An exploration of musical articulations of African diasporic identity focusing on aesthetics, social fields of production, and the historical development of the diaspora concept around music.

AAAD 405 Contemporary African Art (ARTH 488) (3). See ARTH 488 for description.

AAAD 412 Regional Seminar in African Studies (3). Seminar focuses on history, politics, and economic development challenges of a single region or major country of the African continent, with emphasis on contemporary issues. Region, country, and topics vary by semester and instructor.

AAAD 414 Senegalese Society and Culture (3). This course provides an overview of Senegalese culture through movies, literary works, and scholarly books and articles. The course examines the geography, population, ethnic composition, thoughts and religious beliefs, arts and music, polygamy, status of women, and the impact of the tariqas or Sufi orders on people's daily lives.

AAAD 419 African Studies Colloquium (3). This course will equip students to analyze critically cutting-edge issues concerning Africa today through readings, lectures, and research. For junior/senior majors and students with interest in Africa.

AAAD 421 Introduction to the Languages of Africa (3). This course is an introduction to the languages of Africa. No linguistics background is required. Topics include classification, characteristic linguistic features of Africans languages, and their role in their respective societies.

AAAD 430 African American Intellectual History (3). An examination of the principal intellectual trends in black life during the 19th and 20th centuries as well as the life and work of the intelligentsia.

AAAD 431 DuBois, Howard Thurman, and Malcolm X (3). Examines the ideas of the scholar W. E. B. DuBois, theologian Howard Thurman, and political theorist Malcolm X. Major issues will be conceptualized from the distinct perspectives represented by those leaders.

AAAD 432 Vernacular Traditions in African American Music (FOLK 610) (4). See FOLK 610 for description.

AAAD 449 Black Women in Cinema: From the Early 1900s to the Present (3). This course interrogates the diverse representations that black women personified on screen, investigates intersections between their off-screen lives and on-screen images, and explores what and how they contributed to the cinema industry. This course is a theoretical, critical, and historical examination of the black woman's cinematic experience.

AAAD 450 The Harlem Renaissance (3). This course explores outstanding themes of the Harlem Renaissance through readings, prints and photographs, lectures, and class discussion.

AAAD 451 Orality, Literacy, and Cultural Production: African Americans and Racial Modernity (3). Examines the divide between literacy- and orality-based modes of self-expression and cultural production, and the effects of this fault line on the African American struggle for inclusion and self-definition in the United States.

AAAD 460 Race, Culture, and Politics in Brazil (3). Examines race, culture, and politics in Brazil from historical and contemporary perspectives. Focuses on dynamics of race, gender, class, and nation in shaping Brazilian social relations.

AAAD 485 Black Atlantic Crosscurrents (3). This course explores theoretical issues concerning historical, cultural, sociopolitical, and intellectual formations, connections, and movements between Africa and its Atlantic diaspora.

AAAD 486 Africa in the American Imagination (ARTH 453) (3). See ARTH 453 for description.

AAAD 487 Intellectual Currents in African and African Diaspora Studies (3). Prerequisites, AAAD 101 and 130. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. In this seminar students will examine primary documents of engaged scholarship written by Africans and peoples of African descent in the Americas, Europe, and elsewhere in the African Diaspora.

AAAD 488 Human Rights and Democracy in African Diaspora Communities (3). This course examines how questions of democracy and human rights have been conceptualized in African Diaspora communities in the Americas and Europe.

AAAD 489 African Diaspora Theory and History (3). This course examines the cultural and political formation of the African Diaspora in the Americas and Europe from the 15th century to the present. Course materials focus on the development of communities in Western Europe, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

AAAD 491 Theorizing Race (3). This course examines the evolution, transformation, and sociopolitical implications of the concept of race, with particular emphasis on blackness and whiteness in the United States.

AAAD 691H Honors Research I (3). Permission of the department. Beginning of mentored research on an honors thesis. Required of all candidates for graduation with honors in African, African American, and Diaspora studies.

AAAD 692H Honors Research II (3). Permission of the department. Completion of an honors thesis under the direction of a member of the faculty. Required of all candidates for graduation with honors in African, African American, and Diaspora studies.


CHWA 401 Elementary Chichewa I (3). The course introduces the essential elements of the Chichewa language. Emphasis is on speaking and writing grammatically acceptable Chichewa and on aspects of central African culture.

CHWA 402 Elementary Chichewa II (3). Prerequisite, CHWA 401. Emphasis is on speaking and writing grammatically acceptable Chichewa to a proficiency level that will enable the student to live among the Chichewa-speaking people of central southern Africa.

CHWA 403 Intermediate Chichewa III (3). Prerequisite, CHWA 402. Continued instruction in Chichewa following the materials introduced in CHWA 401 and 402.


LGLA 401 Elementary Lingala I (3). Introduces the essential elements of Lingala structure and vocabulary and aspects of African cultures. Aural comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing are stressed.

LGLA 402 Elementary Lingala II (3). Prerequisite, LGLA 101. Continues the introduction of the essential elements of Lingala structure and vocabulary and aspects of African cultures. Aural comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing are stressed.

LGLA 403 Intermediate Lingala III (3). This course increases language learning ability, communicative proficiency, and proficiency in the cultures of the Lingala-speaking people.

LGLA 404 Intermediate Lingala IV (3). This course reinforces language learning ability, communicative proficiency in the culture of the Lingala-speaking people through gradual exposure to more challenging tasks, with emphasis on poetry and prose reading, and creative writing.


SWAH 112 Intensive Kiswahili 1–2 (6).The 112 course covers the material in the SWAH 401 and 402 sequence in a single semester.

SWAH 234 Intensive Kiswahili 3–4 (6). Prerequisite, SWAH 112 or 402. The course covers the material in the SWAH 403 and 404 sequence in a single semester.

SWAH 401 Elementary Kiswahili I (3). Introduces the essential elements of Kiswahili structure and vocabulary and aspects of African cultures. Aural comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing are stressed.

SWAH 402 Elementary Kiswahili II (3). Prerequisite, SWAH 401. Continues the introduction of essential elements of Kiswahili structure and vocabulary and aspects of African cultures. Aural comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing are stressed.

SWAH 403 Intermediate Kiswahili III (3). Third-semester Kiswahili, designed to increase reading and writing skills. Introduction of literature. Aural comprehension and speaking skills stressed.

SWAH 404 Intermediate Kiswahili IV (3). Prerequisite, SWAH 403. Fourth-semester Kiswahili, designed to increase reading and writing skills. Introduction of more compound structures. Emphasis on literature, including drama, prose and poetry, and creative writing. Aural comprehension and speaking skills stressed.

SWAH 405 Advanced Kiswahili V (3). Prerequisite, SWAH 404. This course is offered to students who have completed SWAH 404. It is taught in Swahili and aims at enabling students with grammatical and communicative competence.

SWAH 406 Advanced Plus Kiswahili VI (3). Prerequisite, SWAH 405. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. This course reinforces and expands the grammatical, cultural, and communicative competence achieved in SWAH 405.

SWAH 408 Swahili across the Curriculum Recitation (1). Prerequisite, SWAH 403. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Swahili recitation offered in conjunction with selected content courses. Weekly discussion and readings in Swahili relating to attached content courses.


WOLO 401 Elementary Wolof I (3). This course enables students who have no previous experience in Wolof to develop speaking, listening and understanding, writing, and reading skills in Wolof. Students will also be exposed to Wolof culture.

WOLO 402 Elementary Wolof II (3). This course is for students who have already acquired the basics of Wolof to reinforce their ability to learn speaking, listening and understanding, writing, and reading Wolof. Evidence of basic knowledge of Wolof is required.

WOLO 403 Intermediate Wolof III (3). This course is intended for learners who have already acquired Wolof proficiency in WOLO 401 and 402. It increases communicative proficiency and language learning ability as well as proficiency in cultures of the Wolof people.

WOLO 404 Intermediate Wolof IV (3). Prerequisite, WOLO 403. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. This course reinforces students' communicative and cultural skills via gradual exposure to increasingly challenging tasks. Reading poetry and prose, and introduction to creative writing will be stressed.