Xavier University of Louisiana is adding a program to its roster that will help illustrate the cultural conditions that led to the establishment of the university with the launch of its African American and African Diasporic Cultural Studies Program. The new program will carry the name of the current minor, African American Diaspora Studies (AADS).
The AADS Program is a new major offered at Xavier University starting in the spring of 2024. However, a “soft launch” of the program in August made select courses available to
students during the fall 2023 semester. Spearheaded by Dr. Sharlene Sinegal-Decuir, the former head of the history department and a Xavier alumna, the program will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the African American Diasporic experience in a global world, allowing Xavierites to learn and understand the development of social, political and economic structures of several countries. Funded through a grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the new program will help students understand historical and cultural shifts in the Black experience and teach the necessary facts about a history that is essentially their own.
“Today, it is evident that students are not receiving knowledge [about Black history] as school systems tend to remove the African American Diasporic experience from history and learning. Students are entering HBCUs with little to no knowledge of the value and contributions of the diaspora,” said Dr. Sinegal-DeCuir.
“I created the major with flexibility so that a student could easily double-major in AADS and another subject,” added Dr. Sinegal-DeCuir, “I know here at Xavier, parents send their kids to major in STEM. The AADS major essentially allows a student the flexibility to do both, they can satisfy their parents and themselves, it is the best of both worlds.”