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Richie Harper leading a community sing at Harlem Stage at Aaron Davis Hall^46 Discussion at a Community Sing at Harlem Stage at Aaron Davis Hall^46 Sekou at work at the Arab American National Museum with Detroit poets and staff during a semester long residency at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor ^46 Michaela Angela Davis and Carl Hancock Rux in conversation at the NYC premiere screening of finding the 51st (dream) state. Photo by Vaughn David Browne.^46

The America Project

The America Project: A Teaching Method for Collaboration, Creativity and Citizenship is a multi-media guide to arts-based and artist-driven public exploration of the meaning of engaged citizenship.  The publication documents The America Project course developed and taught by Sundiata at New School University's Eugene Lang College in 2006-07; a course that combined intellectual inquiry with practical experience in the research and creation of new artistic work. A Teaching Method references syllabi, readers, discussions, projects and papers from that course and includes tools to create an improvisational and collaborative classroom, and provides models for connecting students to communities outside the university in ways that help foster dialogue and civic engagement. 

As Sundiata designed it, The America Project course engages students with world events by exploring the intersection between the academy, the arts and the community.  Sundiata engaged different subjects and genres: social change, race and history; poetry, music and theater; the spoken and the written word.  The class enabled him to combine his roles as teacher, writer, performer, advisor and mentor and allowed him to bring his active art-making process into the classroom. Central tenets of the methodology include:

  • The study of a large idea;
  • collaboration across departments and beyond the university;
  • an intersection of art, humanities, public engagement and action;
  • student work paralleling an artist's own creative process; and
  • artistic public manifestations of students' own learning experiences.

The America Project: A Teaching Method for Collaboration, Creativity and Citizenship is packaged with two DVDs: a documentary: finding the 51st (dream) state: Sekou Sundiata's America Project; and a film of Sundiata's major theatrical performance, the 51st (dream) state.

To obtain a print copy, please contact Ann Rosenthal at ann@mappinternational.org