Called A Tour of the Book: Homegoing and the Challenge of Diasporas, this course will allow students to interact with some of the specific sociohistorical, cultural, and political contexts discussed in Yaa Gyasi’s award winning novel, Homegoing. In the course, students will rigorously engage with the text, traveling to the scenes and sites referenced in the book. These on-site activities will give students the opportunity to experience firsthand the continuing effects of what many scholars describe as the “afterlives of slavery and colonialism” and to record their experiences daily in a travel journal. By being in these scenes, it is hoped that students will be inspired to articulate the ways in which history writes itself back into the present moment, a process, which Yaa Gyasi thematizes in her novel.
Based in Accra, we will travel to locations specified in Homegoing: Kumasi, Cape Coast, and Elmina, which feature prominently on the map of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
A Tour of the Book: Homegoing
(AAS 3500; 3 credits)
- Experience firsthand the continuing effects of what many scholars describe as the “afterlives of slavery and colonialism”.
- Acquire a better understanding of terms such as “home” and “diasporas,” and the ways in which they are mobilized in the construction of identities.
- Intercultural exchange as students will have the opportunity to interact with students and faculty from the University of Ghana, as well as locals at the sites to be visited.
This course is open to undergraduate students from all schools with a keen interest in African American and African Studies or related discipline. Applicants to the program should have taken at least one course in African American and African Studies. Coursework activities, involving student faculty engagement, will be similar to the three-credit courses offered on grounds, including participation in oral discussion, essays, short reflection papers, journal entries, and blog posts.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Saltwater Slavery by Stephanie Smallwood
Lose your Mother by Saidiya Hartman
Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage by Sowande Mustakeem
Kwame Otu | firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Otu is Assistant Professor of African American and African Studies at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies. Dr. Otu’s research investigates the anthropologies of race, sex, and gender in the Black Atlantic, with specific focus on Ghana. At the Woodson Institute, he teaches Introduction to African American and African Studies (AAS 1010) and various courses on Africa and its myriad diasporas.
Deborah McDowell | email@example.com
Professor McDowell is Alice Griffin Professor of English and Director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute.
Accommodation and Meals
Students will stay in centrally located hotels or lodges in each location, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
One of the exciting things about travel is the opportunity to explore a new cuisine! Expect to see a lot of cooking with plantains, fish, rice, and stews (including groundnut, or peanut), and spices like chili pepper and ginger. Learn more about Ghanaian food here.
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. Site visits on this program include some walking and standing. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.
Passport and Visa
All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. Participants must already have a valid passport by the October 15 commitment deadline. US passport holders will need a visa to participate in this program. The ISO will assist with the visa application process (students will submit their passport as part of the visa application). International students should consult https://www.ghanaembassydc.org/visa-who-qualify for visa and entry requirements, and meet with their International Student Advisor in the International Studies Office for information about re-entering the U.S. at the conclusion of the program.
Health and Safety Information
Documentation of yellow fever vaccination is required to enter Ghana. There are also additional recommended immunizations and medications for travelers to Ghana. For more information about the yellow fever vaccine and other vaccines/medications, check out the CDC website: www.cdc.gov. Supply permitting, the ISO will set up a clinic on Grounds to facilitate receipt of the vaccine.
All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.