The study of Africa is not limited to one continent. Africa itself is entwined with the rest of the world through politics, cultures, foodways, and technologies. Also, over the course of centuries, African and African descendant people have taken root around the world. The story of the African diaspora intersects with the history and legacy of slavery and imperialism but also with the search for economic and educational opportunity. The African diaspora brings into focus the way people survive, adapt, flourish, forge new identities, and take root, even when displaced from an ancestral home. In this episode, we explore the African diaspora, considering its origins and the way communities outside of Africa maintain a sense of Africanness in their forms of expression and communication.
Sean Jacobs is an associate professor of international affairs at the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs at The New School. He is founder and editor of Africa is a Country and author of Media in Postapartheid South Africa: Postcolonial Politics in the Age of Globalization.
Sunn m’Cheaux is a Gullah/Geechee Charleston, SC “binya” (native) speaker. He teaches Gullah in the African Language Program. He’s also fluent in various Afro-Caribbean creoles, including Bahamian Creole English and Jamaican Patois. Sunn is an artist, activist, and social commentator for whom representation and preservation of Gullah/Geechee culture, language and people are integral to his work.
Kevin Toro is a history and social studies teacher at Arlington High School in Arlington, MA and educational consultant working on issues of race and racism.
Free Resources and Featured Books
African Diaspora Consortium provides lesson plans, articles, videos, and guides for integrating the study of Africa and African diasporic experiences.
African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean: Resistance, Culture, and Survival is a resource guide developed by Northwestern University and which provides curated resources on slavery, art, food, gender, memory, and a variety of related topics for the study and teaching of Africa diaspora.
Engaging the African Diaspora in K-12 Education provides pedagogical guidance for the study of African diaspora communities across disciplines, including history, literature, and art.
African Diaspora Fellows Program at Duke University is a professional development opportunity for social studies, world language, and English teachers and also includes digital resources for K-12 educators.
Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission works to preserve, share, and interpret the history, cultural practices, heritage sites, and natural resources associated with the Gullah Geechee people of coastal North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
The Library of Congress Gullah/Geechee History and Culture Research Guide includes first-person accounts, images, maps, sound recordings, and other teaching resources.
Thanks to Sean Jacobs, Sunn m’Cheaux, and Kevin Toro for sharing their insights and expertise.
Thanks to Nico Rivers for audio editing, mixing and mastering this episode.
Special thanks to the Boston University African Studies Center and the Teaching Africa Outreach Program for collaborating and providing support for this podcast.
“Elizabeth’s Hands” by Liz West, under CC BY 2.0.
Photo of Sean Jacobs provided by The New School website.
Photo of Sunn m’Cheaux provided by Harvard University website.
“Bazaruto” by Xylo-Ziko, from the album Polyrhythms, under CC BY-NC 4.0. This track has been excerpted and overlaid with narrative.
“Djerba” by Xylo-Ziko, from the album Polyrhythms, under CC BY-NC 4.0. This track has been excerpted and overlaid with narrative.
“Fogo” by Xylo-Ziko, from the album Polyrhythms, under CC BY-NC 4.0. This track has been excerpted and overlaid with narrative
“Holy Saturday Dub” by Dilating Times, from an unnamed album, under CC BY-NC 4.0. This track has been excerpted and overlaid with narrative.
“Thread Jessup” by Blue Dot Sessions, from the album Textile Caramb, under CC BY-NC 4.0. This track has been excerpted and overlaid with narrative.
“O Holy Still” by Blue Dot Sessions, from the album Vacant Distillery, under CC BY-NC 4.0. This track has been excerpted and overlaid with narrative.
“Myrian” by Blue Dot Sessions, from the album Tyrano, under CC BY-NC 4.0. This track has been excerpted and overlaid with narrative.