Learning Expeditions

The AAAS Learning Expeditions were started in 1999 with the help of a seed grant from the President's Office to increase students' awareness of the rich and multi-faceted nature of the Black Experience around the United States and the world.

Paris 2007

The African and African American social and historical experience in Paris is explored as a dynamic dialogue between local and diaspora, with past and present critically repeated and revised through the interaction, conflict and meaning making of not only how race “works” in Europe, and Paris in particular, but also how peoples of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Americas, live in, visit and imagine Paris with varying notions and practices of diaspora. As a major metropolitan center of French Empire, the Parisian landscape reveals multiple articulations of "blackness" via spacial residential configurations, cultural activities, and political activity that reflect differing diasporic origins, and dissimilar hierarchical relationships with the French State and its expressions.

Harlem 2006
Students, staff, and faculty spent one week in Harlem, exploring various culturally and historically significant sites. With Professor Larry Bobo and Associate Directory Vera Grant, they pondered change over time, including contemporary gentification. The toured the Abyssinian Baptist Church, toured neighborhoods with architect John Reddick, who pointed out such landmarks as the Lenox Lounge (and Billie Holiday's table in the lounge's Zebra Room); the Apollo Theater; the site of the studio of Harlem photographer James Van Der Zee; and the old Blumstein's Department Store.

They had a narrated a history of hip-hop, spent time at the offices of the New York City Bar Association, and at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, beheld artwork inlaid in a lobby floor where lay ashes of the poet Langston Hughes. “For many participants, the emotional and intellectual centerpiece of the trip was at the Ted Weiss Federal Building downtown, the site of the African Burial Ground. In 1991, the remains of hundreds of African Americans who died in the 17th and 18th centuries were discovered when construction crews were doing pre-construction excavation.” http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2006/april19/harlem-041906.html

Belize 2003
A major focus of the Belize trip, and the winter quarter preparatory course that preceded it was the Garifuna (pl. "Garinagu") descendants of an Antillean Carib people (the Callinago or Kalinago) who mixed with hundreds of African slaves in St. Vincent after their slave ship ran aground in 1675.

Highlights of this expedition included informative lectures from local experts on Garifuna history, religion, drum-making and cassava bread manufacture, and their newly created fishing cooperative, a meeting with the Governor General of Belize, visits to Mayan ruins, a present-day Mayan village, and a site on which plants and herbs used in their traditional healing were cultivated, and several cultural performances.

Ghana 2001
Highlights included:

Lectures: The Election in Ghana by Professor E. Gyimah Boadi, Executive Director, Center for Democracy and Development ; Traditional Education in Ghana by Mr Kofi Agyekum, Linguistics Department, University of Ghana; African Traditional Religion by Dr. Elom Dovio, Head of Religions Department, University of Ghana; Puberty Rites in Ashanti.

Visits and Tours: Accra; Kumasi; Bonwire (Kente village); Ashanti royal palace/museum; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; Cape Coast Castle; village of Agona Duakwa; Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum/Arts Center.

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