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Faculty Development Seminar Alumni Lead NEH Summer Institute at Montgomery College

The Global Humanities Institute at Montgomery College is hosting an NEH Summer Institute for Higher Education Faculty on the topic ofConcepts of Black Diaspora in the United States: Identity and Connections among African, Afro-Caribbean, and African American Communities.’ The summer institute will take place on June 12-25, 2022, and the program is currently accepting applications.

Several members of the project team behind this new program became connected through a CAORC Faculty Development Seminar to Senegal. Cinder Cooper Barnes and Ellen Olmstead, both Professors of English at Montgomery College, were participants in the very first CAORC-WARC Faculty Development Seminar to Senegal. Cinder also now serves as the Montgomery College liaison to CAORC and co-leads CAORC’s seminars to Senegal. Mbye Cham served as the Director of the Center for African Studies at Howard University until 2020 and he has been directing the CAORC’s Faculty Development Seminars to Senegal since they were first launched.

The CAORC Faculty Development Seminar program began in 2017 with a seminar in Senegal in partnership with the West African Research Center and is continually expanding to include more trips to countries with overseas research centers. The seminars enable faculty and administrators from U.S. community colleges and minority-serving institutions to gain international experience to develop international courses, curriculum, and teaching materials at their home institutions.

“Traveling to Senegal with CAORC’s FDS program in 2017 was my first experience in Africa. The connection I feel to the country and people is palpable. From that moment, I strove to learn and teach more about the Black Diaspora, particularly the cross-pollination of culture—from literary themes, liberation movements, religious and linguistic traditions, and foodways. My time in Senegal led directly to the creation of the NEH institute. Though Senegal is not one of the countries we focus on in the institute (because we focused on largest Black immigration numbers in the US), the lessons gleamed from my experiences there will certainly be felt throughout the program.” - Cinder Cooper Barnes

Institute description:

Out of many, one. Charleston, South Carolina recently erected a monument to soldiers from Saint Domingue (Haiti) who traveled to the area in 1799 to make common cause with the American Revolutionary War. Jamaican immigrants contributed to the Harlem Renaissance, the cultural movement that cross-pollinated ideas of African Americans and Afro-Caribbean creatives into a uniquely American flowering. A cause célèbre of Harlem Renaissance was support for Ethiopian resistance to Italian incursions. Decades later, with the end of quotas in 1965, Ethiopians and Nigerians would make up the largest groups of African immigrants. Tapping into Montgomery College, Howard University, and Washington, DC’s wealth of resources, and interrogating the terms “African American,” and “Diaspora,” this institute will feature scholars from a range of disciplines sharing their research with participants who will acquire insights and resources to support publication or diversification of their curricula.


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