In the Akan language, Sankofa means “reach back and get it.” It is also graphically represented as an Asante Adinkra symbol of a bird looking back taking an egg off its back or as a stylized heart shape. In the African Diaspora or the Afro-Atlantic world, Sankofa signifies memory, the memory of what came before and of the ancestors who continue to shape our present.
"The Africana Studies minor has provided me with the opportunity to explore the African continent and the Diaspora of the African peoples through multiple disciplines. This is an area of study that is, sadly, often overlooked. By participating in the minor I have been able to focus my curriculum on this area and substantially enrich my college education. Africana Studies has influenced my decision to pursue further education with a focus on contemporary issues facing the African continent."
Shannon Clark, Anthropology major, Africana Studies minor
"In fulfilling the Africana Studies Minor I feel I have gained a balanced cultural understanding and a higher sense of global unity. By learning about the African continent and its Diaspora it has been made clear that countless similarities can be found across cultures nearly anywhere in the world. With regard to music, religion, food, dance, and other elements of each specific culture, traces of inspiration and even the origins themselves can often be linked to the African continent. Now, rather than see the world with a divided, 'us' versus 'them' mentality, I am able to reflect on what I've studied within this minor and find similarities between my life and another's. In learning this, I have gained the valuable skills of knowing how to relate with nearly anyone in the world and carry a conversation with them. Each class has provided numerous life lessons, philosophies, and, of course, valuable facts which I can confidently say have helped shape me into the person I am today. Needless to say, I am incredibly grateful for having my eyes opened in gaining such an improved global understanding."
Gabriel Arrandt, Interdisciplinary Studies major, Africana Studies minor
"I chose the Africana minor after taking a class in comparative slavery with Professor Bly. In that class, I learned that slavery was lot more complicated a subject than I ever imagined. From there, I took the Introduction to Africana Studies, the Afro-Atlantic material culture, and several other courses. All of my professors were passionate and I learned more than I expected. The minor has expanded my perspective of history. I strongly recommend the minor-for its multiple perspectives, engaging professors and for skills that will last a lifetime."
Jane Nesbit, Social Studies major, Africana Studies minor
"The minor broaden my horizons. It changed how I view history. By far, the courses I took for the minor were the most eye opening, intriguing, and engaging. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a field that will challenge you to think, cause you to engage with your peers, and leave you wanting more."
Virginia Johnson, History, Applied & Public major, Africana Studies minor
"Of all the classes I took to earn my certificate in Africana Studies, the class I enjoyed the most was Pretty, Sassy, Cool: African Atlantic Material Culture course. Besides living up to the provocative nature of its name; the class taught me how to critically think about the past, while improving my writing skills and changing my perspective on the modern world. I strongly recommend Africana Studies."
Meagan Johnson, History, Multidisciplinary major
"I came to Appalachian State University knowing that I wanted to major in Recreation and Parks Management. I was a transfer student who just graduated from community college a few months before I made my mind up that App State was the place for me. As a Black young man, I also felt that should also learn much as I could about myself while at App. That led me to the Africana Studies minor and Dr. Bly. Both the intro and the material culture classes are not only a must for students of color at App State, but also for anyone who is interested in thinking outside the box. Having completed both classes and several other classes for the minor, I have learned to look beyond the obvious and to ask questions."
Trey Edwards, Rec Mgt, Recreation & Park Management major, Africana Studies minor
"Africana Studies enriched my understanding of African Diaspora. The classes in minor helped me to understand myself and my culture. Specifically, I particularly enjoyed the intro and material culture courses. Both have helped me to answer practical and everyday questions such as 'why women wear fancy hats in church?' They also helped me answer intellectual and conceptual questions concerning African oral traditions and their connection to the black church in America and the art of the Spoken Word. The minor has also encouraged me to think seriously about what it means to be black in America and in the wider African Diaspora. Ultimately, the classes I have taken have taught me that learning is also a spiritual experience as well."
Antonio Reid, Pol Sci, Int'l & Comparative Politics major, Africana Studies minor
"This minor has expanded not only my mind, but also my heart and soul. To study Africa and the Diaspora is to free one’s mind. Today, now, more than ever, our world needs this kind of mental stimulation. I was challenged to see things beyond myself and by opening myself up to the possibility of a broader world, I became an intellectually richer person. For this I am forever grateful. Because of this I am forever changed."
Jennifer Kershner, History, Applied & Public major, Africana Studies minor