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Spelman ADW Faculty and Scholars Featured in Journal of Global Postcolonial Studies

August 2020

Spelman's African Diaspora and the World

The voices and scholarly research of Spelman College faculty past and present are well reflected in the special edition of the Journal of Global Postcolonial Studies: Frontiers and Frameworks in African Diaspora Teaching and Scholarship (Volume 8, Number 1 Spring 2020). The publication serves as the first formal collection of scholarly and pedagogical articles on African Diaspora and the World (ADW) courses at Spelman and is a fitting way to honor the work of one of the College's signature programs which recently celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2018-2019.

"...The issue marks both a trajectory in a specific historically Black college as well as the intentional move towards internationalizing the educational enterprise in the United States," said Pushpa Naidu Parekh, Ph.D., professor of English, director of Spelman's African Diaspora and the World Program, and guest editor of the journal.

ADW History

In 1992, Spelman faculty, Drs. Michael Gomez (history), Jean Billingslea (English), and Jontyle Robinson (art), under President Johnnetta Cole, initiated a new two-semester course sequence to replace World Literature and World Civilization courses. The mission of the ADW program was to offer a gender-informed, interdisciplinary study of Africa and its diasporas and to emphasize the intersections and connections among the various com-munities of African descent globally.

Journal Contributions From the Spelman Community

Dedicated to the memory of ADW Program professors, Drs. Paul Jackson and Bruce Wade, "who served the program over the years by imparting their intellectual insights, scholarly expertise, and courageous humanity," the journal features the following articles by Spelman’s ADW faculty and scholars:

  • Implementing an Intervention in the Spelman College African Diaspora and the World Course by Francesina R. Jackson, Jimmeka Guillory Wright, A. Nayena Blankson, Angelino Viceisza, and Bruce Wade

  • Mental Marronage on the Metacognitive Mountain: Teaching Critical Analysis, Historical Awareness and Social Activism to ADW Student Writers by Lana N. Lockhart

  • The Pedagogy of Performing Learning and Teaching to Increase Students' Success in the African Diaspora and the World Class and Beyond by Soraya Mekerta

  • Toward an Understanding of Ashé as an Aesthetic Criterion by Arturo Lindsay

  • Decoding Black Iconography: The Art Museum and the Acquisition of Visual Culture Literacy in Diaspora Studies in College by Alix Pierre

  • Race and Representation in Twenty- First Century America by Robert Brown

  • Book Review Essay by Anne F. Carlson

  • Black Skin, White Tourists: Race, Queerness, and Sex Tourism in Dominican Film "Sand Dollars" by Anastasia Valecce

  • Identity Negotiation and Alien Residency Caribbean-American "In-Betweenity" in Elizabeth Nunez's "Anna In Between, Boundaries," and "Not for Everyday Use" by Kathleen Phillips-Lewis

In addition to Dr. Parekh's introduction, the journal also includes the following from past ADW directors:

  • My Time as ADW Director” by Dr. Kathleen Phillips-Lewis (ADW Director, 2001– 2004)

  • My Spelman Years” by Dr. Sheila S. Walker (ADW Director, 2004–2005)

  • Contribution” by Dr. Beth- Sarah Wright (ADW Director, 2005– 2008)

  • My Involvement with the Beginning of ADW and Beyond” by Dr. Soraya Mekerta, ADW Associate Director (2008– 11) and Director (2011– 16)

A Timely Intervention

Dr. Parekh, who has been teaching ADW courses (since 1993, with breaks) and directing the ADW Program (since fall 2016) said, "I believe this issue is a timely intervention, especially when we read headlines like: “Americans need to Learn More about World outside America” (Gibbons) and “Why Many Americans Are Simply Clueless About Global Events” (nelson). Eschewing neoliberal trends, the ADW story is a deliberative journey that dismantles false narratives of frontiers by embracing critical and analytical pedagogical frame-works and scholarship.

About the African Diaspora and the World Program

The African Diaspora and the World (ADW) Program at Spelman College is centered on the experiences of African descended people. ADW 111 and 112 courses are required the first year, a two-semester course sequence that speaks to students’ experiences as Black women. Students learn about themselves, their history, and place in the African diaspora and the world. Many alumnae who took the ADW courses refer to them as being the most formative educational influence in their lives.

"A cadre of twenty-six plus faculty currently teach the course every semester, and it is kudos to their hard work, diligence, and vision (as well as of our founding directors, Drs. Michael A. Gomez and Alma Jean Billingslea, and founding faculty, Jontyle Robinson) that we continue to maintain the reputation of the program as challenging, rigorous, and meaningful for our students, poised to embark on their diverse academic and life journeys," added Dr. Parekh.

In addition to the ADW program, students can deepen their knowledge of the diaspora by exploring Spelman's African Diaspora Studies (ADS) minor.

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