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HDFS Study Abroad Experience: Ghana

Proposed: HDFS 379/AFRO 3##

Spring 2018 (Second 8 weeks) and Summer 2018 (3 weeks)


Course Description

This course focuses on family and ethnic identity development of Africans and people of African descent. We will explore established and emerging theories related to African American extended family structure and identity development within the context of extended families. Recognizing the historical connections between Africa and the African diaspora, Ghana’s first president referred to Ghana as the gateway to Africa for people of African descent who wanted to return “home”. We will examine how learning about family, identity, and history in Ghana can provide insight into identity development for African Americans in the U.S.

This course has 2 major components:

  • The preparation component (Spring 2018, 2nd 8 weeks) will prepare students for engagement in course activities in Ghana. This component consists of lectures and course exercises to familiarize students with Ghanaian culture and history, family theories, identity theories, and research practice.
  • The study abroad component (Summer 2018) is an intensive guided fieldwork component in which students will engage in qualitative research methods and peer review with Ghanaian students and community members in Ghana. This component consists of site observations, interviewing, reflexivity exercises, discussions, research writing workshops, and participation in social and cultural events.

Course Objectives:

  • Learn about African and African American family and identity development
  • Learn by interacting with Ghanaian community members in Ghana
  • Develop and practice interview-based research skills
  • Increase cultural awareness and global knowledge/competencies
  • Explore personal identity as it relates to Africa

Christy Lleras, Associate Professor
2026 Christopher Hall
904 W. Nevada Street
Urbana, IL 61801

LaKisha David, PhD Student
201 Child Development Lab
1105 W. Nevada Street
Urbana, IL 61801

For more information, contact Associate Professor Christy Lleras at clleras@illinois.edu or PhD Student LaKisha David at ltdavid2@illinois.edu.