A Reading Group for the African Diaspora

December 16, 2014

This fall, the English Undergraduate Association launched a new student group – the African Diaspora Reading Group, ADRG.

The mission of the group is to explore and contribute to African Diaspora writing and educate others about this important body of literature.

Brittany Brown, President of ADRG, decided to start the group after taking several classes on African American literature. By the end of the courses, she had “a strong passion for African American literature and a thirst to explore literature from other cultures.”

ADRG Kickoff Party 10-29-14Dr. Mary Helen Washington, ADRG’s advisor, and many other professors and faculty, including Dr. Thomas Moser and Amy Merritt, have helped make ADRG a success.

So what exactly are topics relating to African Diaspora?

“Topics of the African Diaspora are ideas, themes, and subjects that relate back to the children of Africa and what those of the diaspora are feeling and thinking. Some ways that we find this can be through black literature, theater, art, and just black life in general,” said Jenne Siaka, member of ADRG.

Some examples Siaka gives are recent events, such as the Ferguson verdict or the thought process behind Dear White People, a movie which examines the lives of the diaspora to help better understand what it means to be a part of it.

The group meets once per week and their schedule changes month to month. For access to ADRG’s schedule, join their mailing list: adrgumd@gmail.com

ADRG LogoAt their meetings, students are encouraged to discuss not only topics relating to the African Diaspora, but also sexism, education, sexual orientation and the military. “We never shy away from anything anyone wants to talk about,” said Agyeiwaa Asante, member of ADRG.

“Don’t let the ‘African’ in the title fool you. This isn’t a group just for Africans or African Americans,” Asante said. “To have a truly honest and open discussion we need all kinds of voices from all ethnic groups, races and genders.”

Outside of regular meetings, ADRG goes to art shows, plays, movies and poetry readings. They also attend events hosted by Nyumburu to get more involved with other similar organizations on campus.

“Many students across majors have joined us as we study the literature and culture of the African Diaspora. ADRG has the important discussions that WE all need to have,” Brown said. “Not just black students, but all University students. We all need to be culturally aware... we are now in a global age. It's time for ALL students to be represented.”