AISHIA MOGRE wants to challenge and transform college curriculums, and is doing so with Africana Studies at Kensington and Chelsea College.
Africana Studies is an expansion of the “only African and Caribbean studies module available in Europe at Level 3” says the London-based course lecturer and director.
Developing a full ‘black studies’ diploma makes Africana Studies pivotal in the development of British education – not only do you gain an Access to Higher Education qualification but it also reinforces your ability to research and write academically.
“Quite often, we are taught to consider Africa and the diaspora as an isolated phenomena,” said Mogre. “However, throughout the course and from the onset, we battle such Eurocentric worldviews.”
Africana Studies is a field of study that focuses on an inter- disciplinary and critical examination of Africa, the diaspora and the wider world. Mogre’s involvement in the course began after she studied the course herself.
“I studied on the same Access to Higher Education course after much self-study. I started in 2006, and in 2011, I returned to teach the African and Carib- bean Studies module.”
With the spirit of Marcus Garvey’s ‘Each One, Teach One’ philosophy, the young lecturer expanded the module to a full diploma, which allows for a greater exploration of key topics. She recalled: “The great thing is it also coincides nicely with the inaugural Black Studies degree being offered at Birmingham City University. “I started as an Access student. I went away to study at university and now I have the opportunity to teach and share our history”.
The pan-Africanist’s passion for the course stems from its rarity and its ability to provide a space for people to transform themselves on a personal, academic and professional level. Mogre continued: “Sure, there are university courses on this topic, but most of the black community do not have the qualifications to get to that level. “So, this is a supportive gateway towards that, and it really does have a host of benefits to it.”
Some of those benefits include broadening one’s intellectual horizons by focusing on aspects of human and cultural development otherwise rendered invisible, along with expanding beyond the normative ‘black history’ discourse in mainstream curriculums. “This course isn’t limited to just black students. I’ve had Euro-Australian, Chinese and Indian students — it’s actually quite international,” said Mogre.
“But you do find that black learners really go through a different process because they are expanding beyond their consciousness, and I am there to support them every step of the way.”
Delving deeper into self-consciousness is an important aspect of Africana Studies and the diploma aims to provide learners with a broad foundation and deeper contextualisation of the contributions of Africa and Africans to humanity, along with the rich and diverse cultural landscape of the continent and the continuity of Africa in the Americas. “The course is expansive so you really get a feel for every- thing,” Mogre said.
“We not only deal with classical aspects of ‘black history’ but we also delve into contemporary culture, politics and economics. I ultimately want people to know the real heart of the black community and appreciate it, whilst gaining a qualification at the same time.”
Source: The Voice|| By Leah Sinclair

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