The 2016 Mellon Faculty Seminar in Paris, France

July 5-15, 2016

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 2016 Faculty International Seminar in Paris, 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 second of a three-part series as we query the role of France as a global colonial power, with a focus on West Africa, North Africa, and the Caribbean. The 2016 Seminar in Paris continues the conversation begun in Nantes in 2015 that featured France’s role in the transatlantic slave trade as well as slavery in the Caribbean, examining the period from the end of legal slavery in the mid-nineteenth century until the dawn of independence movements in French-controlled territories in the 1950s and 60s. The period would see a transition in the nature of empire, as the French proceed from pursuing “legitimate commerce” with West Africa (in turning from slave trading) to imposing regimes of political authority throughout significant portions of the African continent that would include Djibouti, Madagascar, the Seychelles, the Comoros, Réunion, and Mayotte; while continuing to control Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Saint-Barthélemy, and French Guiana in the Caribbean. The Asian experience (especially Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam) will also provide context. This will be an interdisciplinary endeavor, bringing to bear various analytics that include literature, cinema, theater, music, etc. The mechanisms by which colonial rule was established, the structure of colonial administration within the metropole itself, the responses to that imposition by indigenous communities as differentiated along lines of status, the nature of colonial economies, forced regimes of labor, world war and military conscription, the introduction of formal western education and its relation to existing systems of learning, colonial service and the rise of western-educated elites, missionary activity, western and local concepts of health care, the rise of organized labor, anti-colonial movements, and the impact of these and other influences on African and Caribbean societies and family life will all be examined, unpacking the colonial experience and its ongoing effects and legacies. Faculty interested in advancing their scholarship and teaching are invited to apply.


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.