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African Diaspora

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The African Diaspora in the Americas: Constructing Identity

The syllabus is a conceptual and thematic exploration of the forces that have shaped African-Diasporic identities and communities in the Americas and parts of Western Europe after Emancipation and during the 20th century. The comparative approach that the course adopts also exposes students to common issues that descendants of enslaved Africans in various parts of the Americas and Western Europe have confronted in their attempts to construct Africa-Diasporic identities. Students will leave the course with a deeper appreciation of the commonalities and divergences between various African-Diasporic populations in the Americas and Western Europe today. Professor Linda Heywood Boston University Visit the PDF version of the African Diaspora in the Americas: Constructing Identity to access the full syllabus.

The State of Black Art and Life: A Conversation with Photographer Iris Dawn Parker

By Stephanie Shonekan, Contributing Editor, Art, Music, & Pop Culture

Throughout the month of November, the Praxis Center website is featuring the stunning photography of Iris Dawn Parker. An African American whose lens has been focused on the everyday lives of Black folk across the Diaspora, Parker has done more than just take the shots. She has embedded herself in the experiences of the people she cares most about, living in cities and townships, mentoring and engaging young Africans and African Americans to dig deeply into their identities to find the treasures that are essential to building self worth and collective freedom. Armed with the trappings of formal education—she has an MFA from Ohio University—and years of experience as a practicing artist, Parker is uniquely positioned to capture the evolving landscape of Black life. From her upbringing in North Carolina to her current life in Johannesburg, South Africa, she has documented many facets of Black life, including Zulu weddings, Mouride Muslims, South African musicians, and everyday life in a South African township. She was even able to photograph Nelson Mandela a few weeks before he passed away. In this interview, I had the chance to ask Iris about what drives her as an artist and as a human being.

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