Studying African Diaspora Studies at Kenyon
Students concentrating in African diaspora studies explore the variety of cultural types in the African diaspora as well as the connections between African studies and African American studies. Intensive, discussion-based seminars led by faculty from multiple disciplines promote an intellectual give-and-take, exploring a range of topics, from ethnomedicine to the history of the civil rights era to the literature of Richard Wright and Toni Morrison.
The Crossroads Seminar
Taught by an interdisciplinary group of faculty interested in engaging with others in the discussion of issues pertaining to African diaspora studies, this seminar is a colloquium, where Crossroads professors offer lectures that explore the cultures of the African diaspora and their influences on the global culture.
August Wilson and Black Pittsburgh
The great African American playwright August Wilson set his Pittsburgh Cycle of plays in that city’s once-dynamic and historically Black Hill District. We’ll read several of Wilson’s works, including “Fences,” locating them in time and place in history. The class includes a three-day fieldwork experience in Pittsburgh.
“Pleasurable” doesn’t seem like a word that would apply to the harrowing story of a mother who kills her child rather than allow her to be enslaved. Yet Morrison writes prose so beautiful, one could describe reading such a story as, in some sense, pleasurable, even as this beauty deepens the power and pain of her words.
Black British Cultural Studies
Black British cultural studies offers us intellectual tools used to think about race, ethnicity, gender, class and nationality in a rapidly changing world. Authors include Hazel Carby, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall and others. We’ll also read the work of thinkers who critically engage black British cultural studies.