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New African Studies minor to be offered fall 2014

Flier for the "Information and Brainstorming Session for Students" panel where the new minor in African and African Diaspora Studies was discussed.
Flier for the “Information and Brainstorming Session for Students” panel where the new minor in African and African Diaspora Studies was discussed.

Beginning Fall 2014, Mills College will be offering the African Studies/African Diaspora minor. The focus is to study and explore the history, politics and cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora in the United States and throughout the world. Diaspora is a Greek word meaning “scattering” or “dispersion” and is used to refer to the populations that have been scattered from a common origin. 

“It’s very exciting because students increasingly want to push beyond the boxes,” said Dr. Julia Oparah, Ethnic Studies Department head. “They don’t want to be narrowly constrained within one way of thinking, or one way of approaching knowledge.”

Students can choose classes from the ethnic studies, literature, sociology, francophone studies, political science, history, music and dance departments.

“What it does is gives us a range of tools to think about how [we are] social change agents that can learn from those struggles,” said Oparah.

The minor will allow students to learn critical knowledge that will engage with current Mills majors and later occupations.

“You don’t have to be somebody who has a history within the black community to be interested and passionate about racial justice issues and the experiences of African-Americans and folks within the diaspora and the continent,” Oparah said.

Oparah encourages students to think about how a further understanding of African and the African diasporic communities can help and enhance future careers, as well as daily interactions.

“There are so many ways in which […] this minor can enhance the experience of a lot of students across campus,” Oparah said.

There will be an information session on April 22 from 12:15-1:15 in the Faculty Staff Lounge near the Tea Shop where students can learn more, meet the faculty and socialize with other students who have similar interests. Attendees can also offer suggestions and ideas about future related programming and events.