Dr. Romanus Ejiaga, Director
Established in 1989, the Center for African and African American Studies (CAAAS) seeks to provide innovative African and African American studies programs in teaching, research, and public service as part of the University’s mission of promoting excellence in international studies and multicultural education for students, faculty, and the public. The Center’s curriculum supports an interdisciplinary minor and a concentration in African/African American Studies.
The Center’s Africana Studies minor provides an interdisciplinary study of the global Black experience of African people. The CAAAS faculty are internationally visible in their field and have extensive experience in Africa and the African Diaspora. Community and national outreach are an integral part of the Center’s activities and include programming for K-12 schools, post secondary educators and students as well as for business, media, government and the general public.
The Center boasts being the holder of one of the only state-owned collections of African art in Louisiana. The collection features rotating exhibits of East, West, Central African and pre-Columbian pieces. The exhibit includes funerary arts and divination implements as well as royal cloth collections and other more commonly exhibited pottery, headrests, and weaponry. Visitors also find authentic African musical instruments crafted from tree trunks, goat skin and other natural materials indigenous to the African milieu.
Particular focus is granted to artwork portraying the heritage of the powerful African woman. Sculptures yielding prominence to fertility and motherhood are plentiful. Other icons or “Arts of Status” represent a more masculine display of power and authority and major inter cultural exchanges in African history.