The Department of Africana Studies encourages and facilitiates student involvement in activities that further complement their educational pursuits with social experiences. These opportunities are inclusive to all Pitt students with an interest in Africana culture and study.
The Black Dance Workshop
The Black Dance Workshop presents, from an African American perspective, the ethnicity of dance styles and techniques such as jazz, African, spiritual, and Dunham. Its educational component consists of workshops, guest lecturers, dance conferences and interaction with other dance companies and college dance groups.
Invited professional dancers share their ideas, concepts, techniques, and styles with the students to enhance the dance perspective from year to year.
The Black Dance Workshop is open to all University students who are serious about dance.
Shona Sharif African Drum and Dance Ensemble
The African drum and dance ensemble was founded in 1982 by Willie Anku as a diverse performing arts group. The ensemble, under the direction of Oronde S. Sharif, promotes educational and creative presentations, performances, and workshops inform the community about the culture of Africa and the Diaspora.
The ensemble aims to:
- Learn and perform African music and dance as they occur in their authentic settings.
- Create new forms of African and African derived presentations in a new theatrical context.
- Help students gain a broader understanding of traditional and contemporary life in Africa through music and dance.
- Create opportunities for students and other interested people to experience the music and dance of the African (both at home and in the Diaspora).
- Promote the study of Africa in global perspective through collaborations with other area-studies programs, international centers, professional institutions, departments, organizations, and public schools in the University of Pittsburgh and beyond.
- Promote the interdisciplinary study of Africa and African culture in the University.
- Study and perform music and dance in their cultural and social contexts.
- Create an environment of cooperation and collaboration among students, faculty, the university, and the larger Pittsburgh community that will lead to increased opportunities for research, teaching, and learning.
Students of the Africana Studies Department (SODAS)
Students of the Africana Studies Department (SODAS) is the student organization of the Department of Africana Studies.
SODAS' mission is to:
- Serve as the recognized organization for addressing the concerns, needs and interests of students majoring and/or double majoring in Africana studies.
- Create an environment that nurtures and enhances the academic and social development of the students of the department of Africana studies.
- Establish a sense of community and to promote interaction among students within the Department of Africana Studies, at the University, and the other colleges and universities with a similar mission.
- Communicate the concerns, needs and interests of students majoring and/or double majoring in Africana studies to the administration of the department and administration of the university as well.
- Enrich the academic satisfaction of students of the department by providing educational, political, and social programming relative to the departmental curricula.
- Maintain a working relationship with the general community in order to inform them of important issues pertaining to students of the Department of Africana Studies.
- Establish a functional relationship with the faculty, administration and staff, and draw upon their experience, knowledge, assistance, support, and participation in SODAS activities.
- Commit to ensuring fair and equitable policies and practices in SODAS.
Membership in the Students of the Department of Africana Studies shall be open to all undergraduate students at the University of Pittsburgh who are majoring or double majoring in Africana studies and adhere to the mission of the organization.
A student member is for those students pursuing a degree in Africana studies at the University of Pittsburgh. An associate member is a student with expressed interest in becoming a major of Africana studies or expressed interest in the goals and mission of SODAS.
Student members are required to complete a registration form that entitles them to:
- Vote in SODAS election.
- Run for SODAS elected offices.
- Serve on any appointed or selected position of SODAS.
- Serve on SODAS committees.
- Utilize services provided by SODAS.