AAI’s 7th Annual State of Education on Africa Conference

Thank you for attending AAI’s 7th annual State of Education on Africa conference, and a special thanks to all the educators and students who attended that are helping to transform the way Africa is taught in K-12 education.

Check back next week to watch the full conference, individual presentations and a highlight reel.

We encourage all attendees to continue the conversation on social media.

@aaiafrica       #SOE2021

We appreciate your continued support and look forward to seeing you at next year’s SOE conference.

Our annual SOE conference is a space for learning and dialogue between students, parents, teachers, leaders, and innovators interested in transforming K-12 education by infusing it with scholarly and unbiased knowledge about Africa and the worldwide Diaspora through effective teaching that supports student academic achievement.

This year’s SOE, “Teaching Africa in the World,” explored recovered histories that center the contributions of Africa and its worldwide Diaspora in the making of the modern world.

Based on the responses by educators to last year’s post-conference survey, this year all conferees will receive a Professional Development Certificate. This commemorative certificate evokes the conference theme of centering Africa in antiquity and the modern world.

Following the conclusion of the conference, all participants who registered before the day of will also receive an ebook of the widely acclaimed Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora, by Michael A. Gomez

2021 State of Education Conference Program

1:00PM – 1:10PM
Welcome & Program Introduction

Greetings and overview of the conference program, features, and theme: “Teaching Africa in the World.”

Kofi Appenteng
President, Africa-America Institute (AAI)
Mora McLean
AAI Historian
1:10PM – 2:10PM
Historical Memory and Exclusion of Africa and Blackness from “the Classics“ and “Western Civilization”

This session will illuminate how and why dominant mainstream (white European and American) conceptions of classical antiquity—in pedagogy and popular culture—exclude Africa from (or present it as antithetical to) the Greco-Roman empires, “Western civilization,” and the creation of the modern world.

Lyra Monteiro, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of History and Graduate Program in American Studies, Affiliate Faculty Member, Department of African American and African Studies, Rutgers University-Newark
2:10PM – 2:25PM
The Hansberry Society: Doing the work to recover, and learn from, the history and legacy of Africa’s ancient past

How can we recover knowledge about Africa in ancient and medieval times? What new research tools and methods make it possible to expose students to African peoples’ many contributions to the modern world?

In this session three members of the Hansberry Society—a trans-continental network of emerging scholars—share the personal journeys and research passions that led to and inspire their ongoing work. They’ll also talk about Society’s mission to make the study of antiquity more inclusive and welcoming to students of African descent, and in doing so open up new vistas.

The Society was formed in 2020 to build on the intellectual legacy of AAI co-founder, William Leo Hansberry, the pioneering black scholar who created the first African studies program anywhere in the United States, at Howard University in 1922.

Discussion and Q&A with:

Debora Heard
Doctoral candidate in Anthropology (Nubian Archaeology), at the University of Chicago, whose research spans the intersection of archaeology, anthropology, Nubiology, Egyptology, and African Studies
Shayla Monroe
doctoral candidate in Anthropology at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), who specializes in faunal analysis, the social zooarchaeology of Sudan and Egypt, the archaeology of ethnicity in the ancient Nile Valley, and African pastoralism
Sewasew Haileselassie Assefa
Bioarchaeologist-biocultural anthropologist and Ph.D. student at Washington University in St. Louis, whose research explores the effects of sociopolitical and economic factors on health and dietary adaptations employed to combat social and environmental stress during the medieval period.
2:25PM – 3:20PM
The Howard School of International Relations and the Racial Foundations of the Discipline

Focusing on the pathbreaking efforts of black intellectuals and scholars at Howard University from the 1920s through the 1950s—a group that included Alain Locke, Ralph Bunche, Merze Tate, E. Franklin Frazier, Rayford Logan, and Eric Williams—this session examines instances of historical erasure and how assumptions of racial hierarchy inspired the creation of international relations as an academic discipline.

Keynote and Q&A with:

Pearl T. Robinson, PhD
Associate Professor of Comparative Politics, Africa, and African American Politics, Tufts University
3:20PM – 3:30PM
Who should learn about and teach the history of Africa and it’s worldwide diaspora?

In this clip, Howard French, author of ‘Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War’, explores this question with Sean Jacobs, founder and editor of the opinion and analysis website, Africa is a Country. This program was originally offered by the Brooklyn Public Library’s Center for Brooklyn History, in connection with their major public history initiative, Brooklyn Resists.

3:30PM – 3:40PM
Intermission
3:40PM – 3:50PM
Student Voices

Young people share their views and reflections on the role and meaning of Africa.

3:50PM – 4:45PM
Black Students Aren’t Lost – The Question is, Do We See Them?

This conference session will aim to illuminate the transformational potential of centering black students in curricular design and discuss ways to address barriers to developing efficacy in this pedagogical practice.

Keynote and Q&A with:

Jamila Dugan, PhD
Educator, Author, Equity-Centered Leadership Coach
4:45PM – 5:30PM
Africa and African Diaspora Centered Teaching and Learning In Action

This is a conversation between the Africa America Institute (AAI) and University Preparatory Charter Schools (U – Prep) in Detroit, Michigan about their collaboration to promote and implement a culturally responsive Africa and African diaspora-centered teaching and learning initiative for student achievement, equity, and justice.

Discussion and Q&A with:

Olivia Lynch, Ed.D
AAI Teaching Africa Program Coordinator/Director
Sharon Hopkins
Director of Curriculum & Instruction, K-12 Social Studies, University Prep Schools
5:30PM – 5:45PM
Reflections and Closing

Kofi Appenteng
AAI President
Lester W. Young, Jr., Ed.D.
Chancellor, Board of Regents
University of the State of New York