The 2015 Mellon Faculty Seminar in Nantes, France

July 5-13, 2015

Interrogating the French Empire: Exploring the Historical and Contemporary African Diasporic Engagement and Experience in France

The UNCF/Mellon Programs are pleased to offer the 2015 Faculty International Seminar in Nantes, France. The working theme for the Seminar is Interrogating the French Empire: Exploring the Historical and Contemporary African Diasporic Engagement and Experience in France. This Seminar will be the first of a three-part series as we discuss the role of France in the transatlantic slave trade and the attendant consequences of French colonization throughout the world, particularly in the Caribbean and North and West Africa. The 2015 Seminar in Nantes will explore French involvement in the transatlantic slave trade as well as slavery in the Caribbean, focusing on those economic, cultural, and political factors that shaped French participation through slavery’s abolition. Nantes serves as an important point of entry because of its history as a port city that benefited greatly from its role in the 18th century slave trade with Africa. It is the first city in France to publicly acknowledge its role in the transatlantic slave trade by erecting a museum that chronicles France’s role as an important player in the capture, transportation and relocation of enslaved Africans throughout the Caribbean, North America, South America and Europe. The seminar will generate questions, informed by the most recent scholarship, that include: How was the transatlantic slave trade organized, and what were its principal components? How did slavery in the Caribbean influence political and cultural developments in France, and vice-versa? How are we to understand the relationship between the Haitian and French Revolutions? What factors led to France’s abolition of slavery?

2014 UNCF/Mellon Domestic Faculty Seminar

Please click here to be directed to the 2014 UNCF/Mellon Domestic Faculty Seminar Folder.  


Please click here to access an article entitled, "Victim, Risque, Provocateur: Popular Cultural Narratives of Rihanna's Experience of Intimate Partner Violence," co-authored by Dr. Sharon Raynor. Dr. Raynor participated in the 2013 International Seminar in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

Faculty Opportunities

Please click here for more information about the Research Symposium, “The African Diaspora from an Afrocentric Perspective” sponsored by Claflin University and National Association of African American Studies & Affiliates.

UNCF/Mellon Faculty Seminar

Photographs courtesy of the UNCF/Mellon Programs Office, Dr. Marco Robinson, Ms. Brenda Tindal, Dr. Pamela Waldron-Moore and Brazil Cultural.



The 2015 UNCF/Mellon Faculty Seminar took place July 5-13, 2015. This Seminar was held in Nantes, France. Faculty representing Clark Atlanta University, Dillard University, Morehouse College, Spelman College and Xavier University were selected as participants in this Seminar. The theme of the 2015 Seminar, facilitated by Dr. Michael Gomez, Professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University, was “Interrogating the French Empire: Exploring the Historical and Contemporary African Diasporic Engagement and Experience in France”.

2015 UNCF/Mellon International Faculty Seminar Participants

  • Dr. Leah Creque-Harris, Morehouse College
  • Dr. Frederick Knight, Morehouse College
  • Professor April Lundy, Clark Atlanta University
  • Dr. Soraya Mekerta, Spelman College
  • Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy, Dillard University
  • Dr. Pamela Waldron-Moore, Xavier University
  • Dr. Jerry Wever, Spelman College



Six members of faculty from six UNCF institutions were selected to receive Faculty Residency grants for the 2015-2016 academic year. Five faculty completed their residency during the 2015 summer and one will complete her residency during the 2016 spring semester.

Summer 2015 Residency Award Recipients
  • Dr. Florence Anoruo, Claflin University
  • Dr. Lean'tin Bracks, Fisk University
  • Dr. LaToya Jefferson-James, Rust College
  • Dr. Ross Louis, Xavier University
  • Dr. Sharon Raynor, Johnson C. Smith University
Spring 2016 Residency Award Recipient
  • Dr. Asia Leeds, Spelman College



Two UNCF Institutions were awarded funding for Teaching and Learning Institutes which occurred during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Claflin University hosted a Teaching and Learning Institute entitled, Preparing Global Leaders by Enhancing Student Engagement with World Literature and Culture.

Spelman College hosted a Teaching and Learning Institute entitled, Educating for Sustainability: Greening the Curriculum at Minority Serving Institutions.