The 2019 ASA Annual Teachers Workshop

Updated: Mar 31

At the annual African Studies Association Conference in late November, the ASA Outreach Council organizes a teacher workshop that provides area educators with resources, lesson plans, and professional development on topics tailored to specific grade levels, subject areas, and curriculum frameworks.

The 2019 ASA Annual Teachers Workshop was organized by the Boston University African Studies Center and hosted at the Harvard University Center for African Studies on Saturday, November 23rd. Approximately 40 K-12 educators were in attendance. The full 2019 workshop agenda is noted below.





8:30-9:00 Registration & Welcome

Coffee, tea, and light breakfast


9:00-9:15 Opening Remarks

Falou Ngom, Director | Boston University African Studies Center

Alex Taylor, Executive Director | Harvard University Center for African Studies


9:15-10:45 Session 1A: Colonized Women Talk Back

This lesson introduces students to African women who challenged colonial rule. Using a role play activity, participants learn about African women activists from Zimbabwe to Egypt, from the 16th century Kongo Kingdom confrontation with the Portuguese to the apartheid struggle in the 1980s.

Facilitators: Dr. Vanessa Akinyi Oyugi (Howard University) & Dr. Barbara Brown (Boston University)


Session 1B: The ABCs of Teaching about Africa

This workshop will explore and highlight simplified and effective ways for teaching about Africa.  Using comparative perspectives teachers will be introduced to themes that will empower them to teach about the continent more creatively and effectively.  Participants will also receive free copies of Teach Africa: Taking Africa to the Classroom. Facilitator: Dr. Agnes Ngoma Leslie (University of Florida)


10:45-11:00 Break


11:00-12:30 Session 2A: Problematizing the Mask

This presentation will explore the strategies, challenges, imperatives, pitfalls, and potential rewards of including African masking traditions in the k-12 art curriculum, with implications for masks in general. While not a requirement, it is suggested that participants take the session before attending Session 3A: Approaches to Making and Using Masks. Facilitator: Dr. Felice Amato (Boston University)


11:00-12:30 Session 2B: 1619’s Harvest: Stories of Resilience and Resistance

In 1619, the transatlantic world was a changing world; people’s lives were being transformed by forces larger than the individual. This session will focus on examining the lives of people who lived through this transition. Using stories of resilience and resistance, activities will probe the experiences of people who began their lives as free people and analyze how they moved beyond the transitory condition of enslavement. Facilitator: Roberta Logan Masks (Boston University)


12:30-1:00 Lunch & Keynote Lecture:Teaching about Africa: Re-Education for Restitutive and Reparational Justice by Dr. Joyce Hope Scott (Boston University)


1:30-2:50 Session 3A: Approaches to Making and Using Masks

Participants in this session will “think through making,” with the goal to become more comfortable with the tools and techniques of creating cardboard masks. The purpose is to think differently about how to teach masks in the classroom in a way that helps students join in the exuberance and universal appeal of these powerful phenomena without appropriating or decontextualizing. While not a requirement, it is suggested that participants interested in this session also register for Session 2A: Teaching Africa through Art: Problematizing the Mask. Facilitator: Dr. Felice Amato (Boston University)


Session 3B: Collaborative Learning between U.S. and South African Classrooms

This session provides frameworks and tools from a cross-border collaborative project between U.S. and South African teachers. The two presenters (one in the U.S. and one in Johannesburg, South Africa) will discuss their joint curriculum design that brings together civil rights and apartheid struggles. Facilitators will also discuss the benefits and challenges of cross-border collaborations and ways teachers can adapt similar programs in their contexts. Student voices and student work will be featured to showcase the possibilities of transnational collaborative learning and teaching. Facilitators: Thomas Thurston, Waltrina Kirkland-Mullens & Mary Khuduge (Yale University)


2:50-3:00 Break


3:00-3:30 A presentation of local efforts to support children of African heritage followed by a performance by Afro Diamonds from Africano Waltham and Zumix African drum ensemble. Presenter: Juliet Najjumba, Africano Waltham.


Photo Gallery of the 2019 Teachers Workshop





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