Aug 17th 2015

eSankofa: Conversations About the Black Experience (Canvas net)

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eSankofa is a “massive open online community conversation” that invites African American history and heritage to engage with new digital disciplinary studies. This course is designed to increase multicultural viewpoints, foster community collectives of discussion, help you navigate difficult race questions, as well as challenge your thoughts and perceptions about the Black experience. The experience of Sankofa is to give rise to a “call of action” within yourself as a learner to be inclusive of the entire human race.

Have you ever heard anyone say, “I don’t see color”, or “I’m colorblind” when it comes to race, or that we are living in a “post-racial” era? Current events, such as #TravyonMartin #FreddieGray, #SandraBland, #renishamcbride, and movements such as #blacklivesmatter only have served to dismiss these erroneous notions and fictional narratives as a society and have begun to highlight the essential conversations needing to take place all around the world in regards to race. Although Black Studies as a discipline was born out of the radically systemic racial issues of the past century, these issues still blatantly exist in the present day in different forms. MSU professor Donna Rich Kaplowitz recently shared a quote through an opinion letter and on an NPR interview by stating that “we are complicit in perpetuating racism if we are not actively working against it.”

“History is a light that illuminates the past, and a key that unlocks the door to the future.”

— Runoko Rashidi

In the following five weeks, we will take short surveys to gather anonymous feedback on your understanding of Black Studies and your views of race. Participation will involve sharing personal accounts and interviews from family, friends, co-workers, mentors, or even silent heros through audio/digital stories, engaging in Google Hangout On-Air live events with community members and experts on issues and concerns within the Black experience, and interacting in active discussion forums. More importantly, this is a space to share your learning through the experience of storytelling.

Theme 1: Race, Racism, and Black Identity

Theme 2: The Living Consequences of Chattel Slavery

Theme 3: Standing at the Intersection of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Black Community

Theme 4: Black Aesthetics, Art & Culture

Theme 5: A Worldwide Perspective of the Local, National, and Global African Diaspora

The Michigan State University African American and African Studies (AAAS) is a cross-college, university-wide, academic unit hosted by the College of Arts and Letters at MSU. Our curriculum fosters advanced exploration and analysis of the social, cultural, economic, and political experiences of African descendants in the United States, in the Caribbean, and elsewhere in the African Diaspora; as as well as of the diverse peoples and nations of Africa in the Continent. We are dedicated to the production and creation of knowledge and the cultivation of scholars committed to academic excellence and social responsibility in local, national, and global community.