African & African Diaspora Studies Program modernizes curriculum

Stephanie Castro/ Assistant News Director

“I can’t breathe,” said Eric Garner.

“What are you following me for?” asked Trayvon Martin.

“I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting” said Michael Brown.

Nearly one in three black people were killed in 2015 were identified as unarmed, according to,

With highly publicized reports of police brutality, universities are now integrating current day social injustices to their curriculum.

“What typically happens is that there are courses such as race and criminal justice where the professor offering it will change their readings and orientations to make it up to date,” said Dr. Percy C. Hintzen, Director of the African & African Diaspora Studies Program. “The names of the courses will not change, but the issues will based on new developments.”

In the spring, Danielle Clealand, professor in the African and African Diaspora Studies Program is teaching a course called “Race and Politics in the Americas,” CPO 4394, which will cover race relations, racial inequalities, activism. It will also follow various movements including the Black Lives Matter Movement, which started in 2013.

The African & African Diaspora Studies Program, located in the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, is dedicated to engaging students in the study of people of continental Africa and the communities of African diaspora throughout the world.

AADS allows students to choose from almost 100 courses ranging from precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial history to African American theory. The courses also span to different sectors such as the Department of English and the Department of History, respectively.

By focusing on one particular group, students are able to learn more about African American culture and history than what they may have been taught before.

“There is the reality of the legacy of race and racial formation in the United States and what you may call the struggle for rights. A particular understanding and justification for that some come to think of persons from African descent as not quite moral, ethical, capable, etcetera,” said Hintezen.

The program offers undergraduate certificates in African Studies, Global Black Studies, and Afro-Latin American Studies as well as graduate certificates in African & African Diaspora Studies and Afro-Latin American Studies.

Additionally, AADS offers a one-year, three semester M.A. degree that can be taken either in an on-campus or fully online program and offers three combined M.A./Ph.D. programs in Global & Sociocultural Studies, AADS and Atlantic History, and AADS and International Relations.

Students in the M.A./Ph.D. programs must apply to both programs and must meet admissions requirements for each.

According to their website, the program hosts multifaceted conferences, colloquia, roundtables, symposia, and lectures throughout the year where scholars and public figures discuss an array of issues pertaining to continental Africa, the United States, and the African diaspora.

The degree grooms graduate students for supplementary study at the doctoral level along with professional positions in the “public, private, non-profit, and international arenas and for employment in education, public policy, public administration, journalism, international organizations and other fields.”

Customarily defined as a dispersion or scattering, diaspora is now a term used for the self-identification of any people who migrated from their original homeland.

Being an international university, the University’s population consists of about 2,500 international students who many now call Miami home.

Hintzen describes these students as having transnational identities.

“In the United States, this is becoming the reality. Where persons are no longer identifying as American, but may identify with particular global networks,” said Hintzen.

Developing transnational identities is connected with how the globalized world is developing, something the courses offered in the program are now evolving with.

“I think that our program allows you to see that,” said Hintzen.

For more information about the African & African Diaspora Studies Program, visit:


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