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URI student at the African shore


Dr. Vanessa Wynder Quainoo, Director

Africana Studies
Associate Professor
102H Lippitt Hall
p. 401.874.2536

Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
M.A., Western Illinois University, Illinois
B.A., Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois

Dr. Vanessa Wynder Quainoo is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Departments of Communication Studies and Africana Studies. Dr. Quainoo's primary interests are social rhetoric and race discourse. She has a profound regard for the power of the spoken word and the speaker's ability to create community and shared justice. Along with her Communication degrees, Dr. Quainoo has a degree in theology and sustained interest in the African American Church. She is an ordained minister and serves as a consultant for many Church organizations within the African American Faith Community. An international director for a West African women's empowerment organization, Dr. Quainoo travels extensively to West Africa. At present, her research includes the analysis of sermonic texts by African American women clergy and the role of the African American spiritual in the works of Maya Angelou.

Cry Elmnia

She is also the author of CRY ELMINA, an exploration of the socio-psychological and personal stresses of Africans who were captured and held in the dungeon imprisonment of the Elmina Castle in Elmina, West Africa. Those who survived Elmina were shipped on the trans-atlantic journey to the Americas and Europe and sold into slavery. Dr. Quainoo has performed excerpts of CRY ELMINA at several universities, conferences and most recently in Ghana at the Elmina Castle as a part of the 50th year independence celebration of the nation of Ghana.

In Her Own Words

This means welcome in Twi, a West African language of Ghana.

This is a very exciting time for African and African American Studies. As a program, we offer a unique vibrancy to a campus community which values diversity and inter-disciplinary scholarship. From historical explorations of the African slave trade, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's, the rhetoric of Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X to the Obama presidential campaign and the effects of our economy on today's students of Color, AAF is as relevant today as ever! With a strong representation of students from Communities of Color...Bermuda Cameroon,Cape Verde, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, traditional African American communities throughout the U.S. and many other nations, AAF seeks to connect students with the scholarship and experiences of the African Diaspora. To accomplish this, AAF offers an ambitious list of courses, a diverse faculty with joint appointments in a wide variety of disciplines, opportunities to study abroad in several nations (Most recently, Bermuda and Ghana).

The AAF Office is now located in 102 Lippitt Hall. With many resources, a data base for scholars of Africana Studies and coming soon... an extensive library of books of African and African American subjects dedicated to the department by former AAF director and esteemed colleague, Dr. Cynthia Hamilton. So, stop in and see us.

AAF is here for the entire URI community and we welcome all students. Exploring the richness of African culture is exciting and rewarding for everyone.