African and African Disapora Studies Department
African and African Disapora Studies Department

In The Department

Afro-Caribbean Politics and Culture in Bluefields, Nicaragua this Summer!

Summer 2014 program participants. Photo Credit: Ana Vidina Hernandez.

Summer 2014 program participants. Photo Credit: Ana Vidina Hernandez.

Congratulations to students recently admitted to the AADS study abroad program in Bluefields, Nicaragua! As part of the Afro-Caribbean Politics and Culture in Central America program, students will spend the Summer II semester of 2016 studying the politics of race, gender, culture, and political mobilization among Afro-Caribbean communities on Central America’s Caribbean Coast. By experiencing the unique culture of Bluefields, Nicaragua, U.S. students will learn about a related but distinct strand of the Black experience in the Americas, which is relatively unknown outside the region. This is a perfect course for students interested in Afro-Latin America, race, gender, class, sexuality, identity, and culture. Specifically, the program seeks to recruit intellectually ambitious students interested in activist scholarship and research.  

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2016 AADS Doctoral Portfolio Candidates

Congratulations to the 2016 AADS Doctoral Portfolio Candidates!

Congratulations to the 2016 AADS Doctoral Portfolio Candidates!

On April 14, 2016, African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) doctoral portfolio candidates Ava Purkiss, Dotun Ayobade, Andrea Roberts, and Maya J. Berry presented on sections of their dissertations for the AADS Doctoral Portfolio Presentations. These presentations marked the successful completion of their requirements for the doctoral portfolio in AADS, under the supervision of AADS Portfolio Administrator Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones. Each candidate presented on the following:

Ava Purkiss, Department of History 

“The Best Antidote for Fat”:
Beauty, Exercise, and Fit Black Womanhood in the Age of Physical Culture, 1900-1930s 
Dissertation Supervisors:
Dr. Daina Berry and Dr. Tiffany Gill

Dotun Ayobade, Department of Theatre & Dance
“We Were on Top of the World!”:
Afrobeat Queens and the Poetics of Space 
Dissertation Supervisor:
Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones 

Andrea Roberts, School of Architecture and Community & Regional Planning Program 
The Freedom Colony Repertoire:
The Role of Memory in Rural, African American Planning Practice
Dissertation Supervisor:
Dr. Michael Holleran

Maya J. Berry, Department of Anthropology 
Afro-Cuban Movement(s): Performing Autonomy in "updating" Havana 
Dissertation Supervisor:
Dr. Edmund T. Gordon

Congratulations to them!

The objectives of the AADS Doctoral Portfolio program are to engage doctoral students in an advanced approach to interdisciplinary studies and to provide tools for mapping the intellectual, political, and creative breadth of African and African Diaspora Studies. Students in the program participate in rigorous dialogue about African and African Diaspora Studies; expand the University's resources through the development of interdisciplinary methodologies; become familiar with the diverse faculty specialties within African and African Diaspora Studies; foster UT-Austin's national and international reputation as a recognized leader in African and African Diaspora Studies; and are instructed in the application of theoretical and conceptual tools of analysis and research on African-descended peoples. The portfolio program is administered by Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, AADS Portfolio Administrator; Yvette Vasquez, Student Program Coordinator; and the AADS Portfolio Steering Committee. For more information, please visit the program website here.

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Devonya Batiste (2nd Lt., Rhetoric and Writing, 2016), Madisun Merrick Stelly (3rd Lt., African and African Diaspora Studies, 2017), Michaela Taylor (Far Rt., African and African Diaspora Studies, 2016), and Fallon Christian (not pictured, Theatre and Dance, 2016)

Students have been selected as Urban Research Fellows in AADS's Domestic Study Program in San Francisco! In this photo, they have been joined by 2014 Urban Research Fellows alum Minerva Zapata (Far Lt., Radio/Television/Film, 2016) They are spending the Spring of 2016 studying gentrification in San Francisco and taking courses at San Francisco State University. By working with activist organizations, attending arts events and community protests, and touring all parts of the city, they are studying how and why gentrification occurs, and developing strategies for addressing it. For details on next year's program, contact Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones,