2014 African American Studies Study Abroad Program Barbados – University of West Indies: Cavehill

The African American Studies Study Abroad Program began in 2012 with Roneka Matheny. During the Maymester, she took a group of students to the island of Barbados. The following academic year, I was asked to continue the program. Instead of organizing a subsequent trip in the summer of 2013, with the assistance of Mary Battle, I had the pleasure of taking a planning trip to Barbados. Prior to my travels, Mary Battle connected me with Rhoda Green, the Honorary Barbados Consul to South Carolina who resides in Charleston, SC.  She provided me with significant information on the history of the connectedness between Charleston and Barbados, along with providing me the names of several individuals to contact and plan to meet while in Barbados. As I embarked to Barbados, I had the privilege of meeting with several stakeholders who were vested in seeing the program continue as it did in 2012. I met with Janet Caroo, Marketing Officer and Regional Student Development at UWI-Cavehill, and Kevin Farmer, Deputy Director of the Barbados Museum & Historical Society. This planning session provided us the opportunity to work out details for the study abroad trip (e.g., costs; classroom space; dorm space; tours, etc.). Upon my return to Charleston, Dr. Conseula Francis and I created a planning committee that included the relaunching of the trip for the summer of 2014. During the 2013-2014 academic year, we actively promoted the trip through the Center for International Education, along with emails to the African American Studies minors as well as other students enrolled in our classes.

We billed the program as a bridge to Rhoda Green’s Carolina-Barbados Foundation, by highlighting the social, economic, political, and cultural link between Charleston and Barbados.  Barbados has a unique cultural history with the low country. From the plantation life to architecture, there are relics of historic Charleston that owes its existence to Barbados.

Our recruitment efforts resulted in securing ten CofC students for the three-week study abroad trip. The program was organized into two sections. The first week students remained in Charleston, SC exploring the local history of Charleston, and its link to Barbados, by visiting Charlestowne Landing and Magnolia Plantation. Students also had an opportunity to meet with Mrs. Rhoda Green, who provided an in-depth history of the Carolinas-Barbados connection. The remaining two weeks were spent in Barbados where students took 6-credit hours (Comparative Black Identity; Blackface in the Global Imaginary); participated in several island tours exploring the local history (e.g., Barbados Museum of History; Mount Gay Rum Tours; St. Nicholas Abbey; Speighstown; walking tour of historic Bridgetown). Additionally, students were also able to explore the island as a group, void of professor oversight. During this time, students were able to shop, meet and interact with the locals, and connect classroom course information with the physical, tangible world of Barbados.

As an assignment, students were required to make daily posts on a created blog to chronicle their group outings and adventures. The videos below are examples of our experiences on the beautiful island of Barbados.

In the upcoming academic year, Roneka Matheny plans to relaunch the AAST Study Abroad program. She plans to create a broader, more comprehensive program where students would spend two weeks in Charleston, again exploring the cultural and historical links to the Caribbean; two weeks in Barbados; and two weeks in Jamaica. Although course proposals are in the preliminary stages, the two purported courses would focus on the use of music as a form of social protest (e.g., Bob Marley) and on the shared Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade History.

Dr. Anthony D. Greene

 

Adeyemi Oduwole's internship at the Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology, at the University of Pennsylvania

In 2013, the remains for 36 likely African and African-descendant individuals were found during renovations at the Gaillard Center.  These burials date to the 1760s-1800.  Dr. Ade Ofunniyin (African American Studies) and Joanna Gilmore (Sociology and Anthropology), adjuncts at the College of Charleston and Gullah Society staff, are now working with Prof. Theodore Schurr and Raquel Fleskes, molecular anthropologists at the University of Pennsylvania, to explore the ancestry of the Anson Street individuals, prior to their reburial and the construction of a monument.

The Gullah Society is supported by the City of Charleston in this project and, with our colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, has applied for a grant from the National Geographic Society, to conduct ancient DNA research to learn more about the individuals buried at Anson Street and to take DNA samples from 36 living individuals to try to find any ancestral ties between those buried at the site and those living in Charleston today. The Gullah Society is currently researching 18th century property owners for the land at George and Anson Street to try to identify and offer DNA tests to living descendants of the deceased.

This summer, a student from the College of Charleston, Adeyemi Oduwole, will complete a four-week internship with Dr. Theodore Schurr & Raquel Fleskes at the Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology, at the University of Pennsylvania.  Adeyemi is a junior, majoring in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry – Pre-medicine.  During his time in Pennsylvania, Adeyemi will learn how to characterize the mitochondrial DNA diversity of 36 contemporary individuals from Charleston.

Spring 2018 – AAST200 Video Projects

Each semester, Professor Roneka Matheny assigns group projects to all of her students. This semester’s videos from her Introduction to African American Studies (AAST 200) classes were very well done!

She tasked the students with creating an engaging, educational video about an assigned topic.  Many of these videos were created with iPads from the Addlestone Library as a part of the College’s Program to Bring iPads into the Classroom.

Congratulations to all the students and their outstanding work!

All of the videos are available to view on Professor Matheny’s YouTube page: www.YouTube.com/ProfessorNeka.

Patrick Crotty – Boren Scholarship recipient

The Asian Studies Program would like to congratulate Patrick Crotty on being awarded a Boren Scholarship. Boren Scholarships are initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Patrick will be spending his time in China learning Chinese until his return in August. His future plans are to work for the United States working to establish positive U.S. – China trade polices.