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Professor selected to study African Diaspora in Barbados

Jarvais Jackson, Ph.D. and his team pose during a visit to the Barbados parliament.
Jarvais Jackson, Ph.D. and his team pose during a visit to the Barbados parliament.

Georgia Southern University assistant professor of elementary education and culturally responsive pedagogy Jarvais Jackson, Ph.D., spent four weeks this summer traveling throughout the Caribbean nation of Barbados. He attended lectures at a host institution, the University of West Indies, to become familiar with the country’s history, politics and culture. The trip included tours of historic sites like the Newton Slave Burial Ground and the St. Nicholas Abbey as well as visits to schools throughout Barbados to engage with teachers and students.

The trip was a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program grant recipient, and Jackson was part of a 14-member Curriculum Development team composed of educators from University of South Carolina, Voorhees University, South Carolina State University, Claflin University, and Georgia Southern University. The team was made up of K-12 educators, preservice teachers, and higher education faculty that all had a background in African Diaspora Literacy.

As a scholar of African Diaspora Literacy who has spent time in Ghana, Nigeria and South Carolina, Jackson was most interested in exploring the connections between Barbados, Africa and the United States. He says, “It was eye-opening to see the similarities in the African diaspora there and other places I have visited.” For example, one tour guide told the story of an enslaved person in Barbados who planned a revolt, and Jackson could make connections between that story and expressions of resistance in different African cultures.

After returning July 17, Jackson began work to apply his findings not only through academic literature but also in a non-academic video series that can be used in classrooms and communities. He says, “It is Sankofa–learning from the past to move forward. My task is to make sure black histories aren’t lost or mistold.”


Posted in Faculty Highlights