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March 17, 2018 - 7th Annual Black Women Rock

Black Women Rock flyer

February 26, 2018 - Food for Thought with Ebony Coletu, Ph.D.

Ebony ColetuEbony Coletu, Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies and Affiliate Faculty, Center for Democratic Deliberation, will present "Chief Sam and the Undocumented Origins of African American Migration to Ghana."

217 Willard
12:30-1:30 p.m.

February 24, 2018 - The Origins

Origins flyer

February 22, 2018 - "A Good Day to be Black and Digital:  Praxis and Pitfalls" Workshop with Jessica Johnson

Jessica JohnsonJessica Marie Johnson, Assistant Professor in the Center for Africana Studies and Department of History at Johns Hopkins University


216 Willard
2:30-4:00 p.m.

February 15, 2018 - The Barbara Jordan Lecture with Kimberle Crenshaw

Kimberle Crenshaw
Kimberle Crenshaw, Civil Rights Activist and Feminist

"Intersectionality 101: Race & Gender in Work, Life & Politics"

“Intersectionalilty,” a term coined by speaker Kimberlé Crenshaw, calls attention to the multiple forces that create and sustain power and privilege in American society—and contribute to the discrimination and oppression of minority groups. One-dimensional approaches to social justice advocacy continue to divide key constituencies into distant and sometimes competing interests. Nowhere is this division more clearly visible than in discourses surrounding racial and gender bias in the workplace, where one-dimensional approaches often render the experiences of women of color unintelligible.

A leading authority in the area of civil rights, black feminist legal theory, race, racism, and the law, Crenshaw shares her groundbreaking work on "intersectionality" in this fascinating keynote, explaining how our inability to view oppression in society in terms of interrelated categories instead of separate ones—for example, separating gender from racial inequality, instead of merging the two—results in greater oppression for those who stand at the intersection of these categories—such as black women.

111 Forum
6:00-7:30 p.m.

February 12, 2018 - Blaxploitalian:  100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema

Fred Kuwornu, Ghanian-Italian Documentary Filmmaker, presents "Blaxploitalian:  100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema.

Blaxploitalian flyer

Sponsored by the Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese Department in Collaboration with the Africana Research Center. 

112 Borland
4:00 p.m.

February 5, 2018 - Emerging Scholar Speaker Series (Week 3)

9:00-9:45 a.m.

Maisam Alomar, Ph.D. Candidate, Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego

“‘A Double Handicap’: The Racial Politics of “Special Needs” in Contemporary Adoption”

This talk offers an analysis of the racial politics of the "special needs" designation in adoption law, which in practice categorizes all black babies, and in some states other non-white babies within a category that is often used outside of the adoption context as a synonym for “disabled.” We will situate this development within broader political attacks on black motherhood that emerged out of the War on Crime of the 1970s and the War on Drugs of the 1980s in order to address how racialized discourses of debility implicit in the mythical figures of the “crack baby” and the “welfare queen” inform this present-day categorization.

9:45-10:30 a.m.

Nicole Morris Johnson, Ph.D. Candidate, English Literature, Emory University

"Afro-Creole Bodies: Zora Neale Hurston's Liberatory Maps"

Afro-creole spaces have long inspired Black women artists and continue to do so, as evidenced in Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album Lemonade. Arguably, early 20th century artists such as Zora Neale Hurston helped to highlight the appeal of these cultures. Hurston’s early ritual initiations into Haitian Vodou had an undeniable impact on her literary work. While these influences have been thoroughly explored, the presence of other Afro-creole traditions such as the Gullah/Geechee have been less discussed. This talk will explore the ways in which Hurston’s Haitian Vodou initiatory experience shaped her artistic philosophy. I argue that an understanding of this philosophy helps to reveal the presence of additional Afro-creole maps to liberatory ritual practices that Hurston embeds in her work, such as the seekin’ ritual in Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937).

10:30-11:15 a.m.

Zebulon York Dingley, Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology and History, University of Chicago

“Rituals of Enclosure and Exposure in South Coast, Kenya”

This talk presents an overview of the scalar levels (person, household, and village) at which suspicions of “witchcraft” are expressed and managed among the Digo and Duruma peoples of Kwale County, Kenya. I argue that these suspicions are mediated by a dialectic of concealment and revelation, in which persistent efforts to expose what others may be hiding are combined with an imperative to hide from others. Suspicion manifests acutely around acts of witchcraft perpetrated by close kin and neighbors, and is addressed through rituals designed to render the surfaces of bodies and houses opaque and impermeable to others. These rituals simultaneously delineate an enclosed and protected interior space against a threatening exterior, and symbolically represent objects and processes at other scalar levels. Further, they involve either the private creation and concealment (or public exposure and destruction) of objects whose materiality, temporality, and scale of operation are closely linked.

216 Willard
9:00 a.m.-Noon

January 29, 2018 - Emerging Scholar Speaker Series (Week 2)

9:30-10:15 a.m.

Alisha J. Hines, Ph.D. Candidate, History, Duke University

“‘To Make Her Own Bargains with Boats:’ Gender, Labor, and Freedom in the Western Steamboat World”

The talk will first provide a brief overview of my dissertation entitled “Geographies of Freedom: Black Women’s Mobility and the Making of the Western River World.” The dissertation examines how black women engaged the physical geography of the antebellum middle Mississippi River valley as well as the social, legal, and political terrain of the region to pursue freer lives. I will also highlight one chapter of the dissertation which illustrates how black women used river work to earn money, reunite their families, or escape to freedom.

10:15-11:00 a.m.

Dexter J. Gabriel, Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies, University of Connecticut, Storrs (Ph.D., 2016, State University of New York, Stony Brook)

“A West Indian Jubilee in America”

On August 1, 1834, the British Abolition Act freed by proclamation 800,000 slaves in the West Indies. In the coming decades, August First became one of the largest abolitionist celebrations in America, commemorating the day as a transnational triumph against slavery. But these annual events did not occur in a vacuum. In newspapers, in pamphlets and books, in broadsides and bulletins and hymns, in poems and art, and numerous print ephemera, abolitionists utilized British Emancipation in their everyday writings, their rhetoric, their discourses and their propaganda against American slavery. My research examines the impact of British Emancipation on American abolitionism and free African-American communities from the 1830s through the American Civil War, and the ways in which debates on what was called the “experiment” of freedom in the British West Indies migrated between the United States, England and the emancipated Caribbean.

11:00-11:45 a.m.

Dara Walker, Ph.D. Candidate, History, State University of New Jersey

“‘To teach the true savage history of America’: Black High School Youth and the Making of Education for Liberation in Detroit, 1967-1972”

While black Americans migrated to Detroit with visions of better schools, neighborhoods, and jobs, their offspring encountered racial violence and discrimination that blacks had hoped to escape in the South. During the Black Power movement, the children and grandchildren of these migrants organized school building takeovers and walkouts to resist the Eurocentric high school curriculum and to fight vigorously for their own vision of liberatory education. This research looks beyond the heady moments of desegregation battles to examine the role of liberatory education in the making of black youth politics, and reveals the significance of multigenerational study spaces, which included Black Marxists and Black Nationalists, to this process. It argues that students marshaled their experiences with racist violence and segregation, and the intellectual rigor of Detroit’s black radical tradition to introduce into the curriculum a vision of education that was culturally and politically relevant to their lives as black youth.

216 Willard
9:30-11:45 a.m.

January 22, 2018 - Emerging Scholar Speaker Series (Week 1)

9:00-9:45 a.m.

Sam Tenorio, Ph.D. Candidate, African American Studies, Northwestern University

“Practices of Black Anarchism”

When witnesses and historians of slavery and the Middle Passage speak of the enslaved jumping ship, they often describe it as a case of madness or mindlessness, resulting from the terrible consequence of horrific conditions, or as a suicide that was antithetical to ‘true’ rebellion. This talk considers the problem of politically conceptualizing practices that challenge the constitutive relationships of the colonial racial order but run counter to the dominant definition of political opposition. Thinking through the unrecognizability of black anarchism, Tenorio will move to shift our conceptual frames away from formal politics and consider the practices that enunciate the limits of our political understandings while offering a glimpse at the antagonism of black anarchist protest to the Western liberal tradition.  

9:45-10:30 a.m.

J. Marlena Edwards, Ph.D. Candidate, African American & African Studies and History, Michigan State University

"West Indian and Cape Verdean Community Practices and Transnational Strategies in Early Twentieth Century New England"

According to Sociologist Roy Simon Bryce-Laporte, Black immigrants “suffer double invisibility in fact as blacks and as black foreigners.”  Though approximately 145,000 African-descended people voluntarily migrated to the United States between 1899 and 1936, African and Caribbean immigrants are underrepresented in American and African American historical scholarship. Employing a community level study of residential enclaves in New England, this presentation engages the strategies of West Indian and Cape Verdean immigrants in New Bedford and Providence as they reformatted community networks, created ethnic-based organizations, and established transnational institutions that maintained connections with their homeland. The community-level micro study provides valuable insight into the ways these African-descended communities, as neighbors, experienced and adapted to their diaspora condition differently. While West Indians altered their community landscape and eventually assimilated into the African American community, Cape Verdeans retained a Cape Verdean ethnic identity bolstered by their transnational shipping fleet and the constant flow of people, goods, and ideas from the homeland. This presentation is part of my dissertation entitled, “To Do Credit to My Nation, Wherever I Go”: West Indian and Cape Verdean Immigrants in New England, 1890-1940. 

216 Willard
9:00-10:30 a.m.

December 8, 2017 - Black Men on the Rise

Black Men on the Rise


Hosted by Ka'lee Strawbridge

Guest Speaker:  Leon Ford

Doors open at 5:30pm

Event starts at 6pm

Heritage Hall, HUB
2:00-4:00 p.m.




December 8, 2017 - Neelima Jeychandran's Manuscript Workshop

Beheroze Shroff, Lecturer, University of California, Irvine, and Mark Auslander, Museum Director, Michigan State University

217 Willard
2:00-4:00 p.m.

December 7, 2017 - 9th Annual Ashe Awards

Ashe Awards flyer

The Ashe Awards is held to recognize and commemorate the vast achievements in the community to we serve. We focus on categories like academics, athletics, and community service for our awards. The event also features several performances and gives a platform for members of our community to continue to develop their various talents.

Alumni Hall, HUB
6:00-9:00 p.m.

Co-sponsored by the Africana Research Center.

November 13, 2017 - Food for Thought with B. Stephen Carpenter II, Ph.D.

Steve Carpenter

B. Stephen Carpenter, Professor of Art Education and African American Studies, will present, "African Diaspora Water Curriculum Project: Stories, Collaborations, and Possibilities".

217 Willard
12:15-1:15 p.m.

November 7, 2017 - The Nelson Mandela Lecture with Albert Sachs

Albert Sachs

Albert Sachs, Freedom Fighter Against Apartheid, and Judge, Constitutional Court of South Africa (Ret.) 1994-2009

"The Triumph of Humanity and Social Justice"

As a young law student Albie Sachs would visit the office of Mandela and Tambo, the only black firm of attorneys in apartheid South Africa. Within a decade, Mandela was to lead resistance in South Africa and on his capture be sentenced to life imprisonment. Meanwhile, Tambo was sent abroad to organise international opposition to apartheid. Albie Sachs will describe working with Tambo in exile preparing for a new non-racial democratic Constitution, being blown up by a bomb placed in his car by South African security agents; then when Mandela was released, working with Mandela on the drafting of the Constitution and ultimately being appointed by Mandela to be a Justice on South Africa’s top Court.

A book signing will follow the presentation.

Watch a film about Albie Sachs called Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa by visiting this link:

Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
6:00-7:00 p.m.

November 7, 2017 - "Building a Constitutional Court on the Ashes of Apartheid" with Albert Sachs

Albert SachsAppointed by Nelson Mandela to South Africa’s first Constitutional Court, Albie Sachs will describe why the court decided to locate its new building in the heart of the Old Fort Prison where both Gandhi and Mandela had been locked up; how the court invented itself as an institution; and how it decided pathbreaking cases on capital punishment, rights of women under customary law, the enforcement of social and economic rights, same-sex marriage, and restorative justice.

A book signing and reception will follow the presentation.

Sutliff Auditorium, 118 Lewis Katz Bldg.
12:30-1:45 p.m.

November 4, 2017 - "The Joke is Mightier Than the Sword" with Bassem Youssef

Youssef flyer

November 3, 2017 - Race in the Americas Conference - "Space/Place/Race: Geography and Power in the Americas"

The Second Biennial Race in the Americas (RITA) Conference will be held November 3-4 at University Park. The plenary speaker, Micol Seigel (Indiana University), will be giving a presentation titled “Always Already Military: Police, Public Safety, and State Violence”. This talk is open to the public.

Is “militarization” the source of some of the horrific police violence the U.S. has suffered in recent years?  This question can be answered in the affirmative only if one restricts the analysis to violence within U.S. borders.  A transnational perspective on U.S. state violence provides a different picture of the relationship between the military and the police.  Drawing from my forthcoming Violence Work:  State Power and the Limits of Police, this talk explores the history of the Office of Public Safety, a U.S. federal body created to train foreign police in the mid-Cold War.  This globe-trotting police agency shows that while American police are certainly influenced and changed by contact with the U.S. armed forces, the relationship is less one-way influence than a process of constant and mutual exchange enhancing the lethality of both.  The concept of “militarization” requires a U.S. nationalist preoccupation with domestic, ultimately ceding the ground on which to oppose not only U.S. empire and military action abroad but also the unexceptional racist brutality of police at home.

RITA 2017 is a graduate student conference organized by the graduate students of the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, and sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, the Latinx Studies Program, the Africana Research Center, and the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

102 Oak Building
12:00 p.m.

October 28, 2017 - Undergraduate Research Exhibition 2017

The Africana Research Center will host an Undergraduate Research Exhibition in recognition of undergraduate students who have conducted outstanding research on issues affecting the African Diaspora.  The public is invited to attend the presentations from 11 a.m. to noon. 

2017 ARC Scholars

Humood Alanzi --

“A Review of the Negritude Movement and its Role in the African Liberation”

Brian Davis --

“The Evolution of Slavery and Freedom from the 17th Century to Emancipation”

Maia A. Hill --

“Our Education System Needs a Fixing:  The Effects of Ineffectively Financing Education in Urban Communities”

Elizabeth Hopta --

“Stokeley Carmichael:  Dialectic Terms Shaping Whiteness at Berkeley”

Christiana Nisbet --

“Economic Influence”

Lydia Strawser --

“The Role of Religion in the Traditional Healing Practices of the Himba Ethnic Group of Namibia”

Seamus Wagner --

“Language Policy in Education:  Tanzania's Use of Swahili and English”

Xiaoji Zhou --

“How Traditional Mural Art Reveals the Present”

Nittany Lion Inn Alumni Ballroom AB
10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

October 18, 2017 - "How to Submit a Manuscript to a University Press" Workshop

Chuck GrenchChuck Grench, Executive Editor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Press

"How to Submit a Manuscript to a University Press"

217 Willard
10:00 a.m.-Noon

October 16, 2017 - Food for Thought with Jenna Christian

Jenna ChristianJenna Christian, dual-degree doctoral candidate in Geography and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, will present "A Geopolitics of Youth:  Race, Citizenship, and a School-to-Military Pipeline in Houston, Texas".

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

September 20, 2017 - "Issues Confronting African Americans in the Academy" Workshop

Keith GilyardKeith Gilyard, Senior Faculty Mentor, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English and African American Studies

"Issues Confronting African Americans in the Academy"

217 Willard
Noon-1:30 p.m.

September 12, 2017 - "How to Submit a Journal Article" Workshop

Bill BlairBill Blair, Director, George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, and Walter L. and Helen P. Ferree Professor of Middle American History

"How to Submit a Journal Article"

217 Willard
3:00-5:00 p.m.

September 11, 2017 - Food for Thought with Carla Pratt, Ph.D.

Carla PrattCarla Pratt, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Educational Equity and Nancy J. LaMont Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law, will present "Using Social Dominance Theory to Understand Why Anti-Discrimination Law Fails to Achieve Racial Equality".

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

August 21, 2017 - ARC Post-Doctoral and Dissertation Fellows' Orientation and Luncheon

The ARC welcomes 2017-2018 post-doctoral fellows, Neelima Jeychandran and Alaina Roberts, and dissertation fellow, Joshua R. Deckman.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m. Orientation
1:00-2:00 p.m. Orientation Luncheon with mentors/advisors

April 27, 2017 - ARC Fellows' Awards Reception

The Africana Research Center's annual ARC Fellows' Awards Reception in recognition of our 2016-2017 post-doctoral fellows, Amira Rose Davis, Olivenne Skinner, and Sarah Stefana Smith, and dissertation fellows, Veronica Hicks and Laura Vrana.

Entertainment will be provided by Urban Fusion.

Nittany Lion Inn, Alumni Lounge
3:00-4:30 p.m.

April 20, 2017 - Ngugi wa Thiong'o Public Lecture

Ngugi flyer

April 16, 2017 - Black Family Reunion

Black Family Reunion

April 1, 2017 - The Diaspora and Africa's Future:  Making a Difference through Research

PAN-APA flyer

March 27, 2017Luncheon Series with Jeanine Staples, Ph.D.

Jeanine StaplesJeanine Staples, Associate Professor of Literacy and Language, African American Studies, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

"The Scope and Sequence of White Oblivion (and How It Hurts and Kills People): Identifying & Dismantling White Supremacy Through an Endarkened Feminist Epistemological and Ontological Framework"

Black feminists and womanists have provided a means through which to examine not only the scope and sequences of black women's identities and lived experiences, along with various iterations of sociocultural, socioemotional, and sociopolitical impact, they have also paved ways for deeper revelations about these citizens' countermanding knowledge frameworks and ways of being. These methodologies are often established within antagonistic relational and social circumstances and contexts. An endarkened feminist epistemological and ontological framework, derived from the aforementioned frames, adds depth to these examinations, and understandings of implications. This happens by clarifying a triumvirate of knowing and being that resounds from spiritual, material, and emotional phenomena (re)produced by variations of blackness and femininity. An unintended outcome of these wisdoms points also to the scope and sequence of white oblivion - immaturity within, or detachment from the particular complexities of knowing and being cultivated by Black girls and women and other marginalized members of society. In this talk, I will show the establishment of these cooperating phenomena: how they form and function as the evolution of endarkened feminist ways of knowing and being; their affordances in generating and navigating contentious social and academic terrain; and, as importantly, the results of their omission, i.e. white oblivion. This talk is particularly timely as it also provides a way of interpreting the sociocultural and sociopolitical nuances of the rising Trump Era. 

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

March 20, 2017 - The Nelson Mandela Lecture with Nontombi Naomi Tutu

Naomi TutuNontombi Naomi Tutu, Human Rights Advocate

"Truth and Reconciliation: Healing the Wounds of Racism"

Whether in personal life or in the larger society, we have wounds that block our ability to be the wonderful gifts that we are meant to be in the world. We too have inflicted wounds unto others, but all these wounds can be healed. However, it takes courage and the willingness to speak and hear the truth. That first step to healing is so often the hardest. We are afraid to speak our truth for fear of judgment, rejection and anger. We are also afraid to hear truths that might question our images of ourselves. Yet the pain is only the first step, what comes after that is healing and wholeness. Using South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a starting place and model, in this presentation Tutu talks about how we can heal and be healed as individuals and a society.

Nittany Lion Inn, Board Room 1
6:00-7:30 p.m.

Co-sponsored by Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity.

March 18, 2017 - Black Women Rock!


BWR flyer

March 17, 2017 - Public Seminar with Nancy E. Hill, Ph.D.

Nancy HillNancy E. Hill, Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Envisioning a Meaningful Future and Perceptions of the Economy: Supporting Youth to Succeed"

With an ethnically diverse sample of adolescents (N=624), perceptions of the job market and envisioning a meaningful future were tested as mediators of the relations of school relationships and parenting practices on academic engagement.  Using Structural Equation Modeling, job market pessimism and meaningful future mediated the relations between school relationships and engagement. However, parenting practices moderated the relation between job market pessimism and academic engagement.  Students’ reports of increased concern about the job market, coupled with parental emphasis on the importance of education, providing educational advice, and scaffolding autonomy, were associated with lower levels of students’ academic engagement.  Across grade level, school relationships were more strongly related to job market perceptions for 9th graders, compared to 10th & 11th graders; whereas parenting practices were more strongly related to academic engagement for 10th and 11th graders, compared to 9th graders.  Across parent education levels (a proxy for SES), school relationships were more strongly related to job market perceptions and engagement for those whose parents did not have a college degree; whereas parenting practices were more strongly related to academic engagement for those whose parents had a college degree.

Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson
1:15-2:15 p.m.

March 17, 2017 - Workshop with Nancy E. Hill, Ph.D.

Nancy E. Hill, Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, will lead a workshop for our fellow, Olivenne Skinner.

217 Willard
10:00-11:00 a.m.

March 15-16, 2017 - Every 28 Hours - A Series of One-Minute Plays


Every 28 Hours flyer 2

February 13, 2017Luncheon Series with Hsin-Yu Chen

Hsin-Yu ChenHsin-Yu Chen, Ph.D. Candidate, Recreation, Park and Tourism Management

"Exploring the Perceptions of Skin Color and Sun-Related Behavior among African-American Female College Students"

Skin color is a physical trait that plays a powerful, persistent, and influential role in the lives of African Americans (Bond & Cash, 1992; Neal & Wilson, 1989). While well-recognized as a social trigger for racism across different races, skin color also has significant implications within African American populations (Jablonski, 2012). Lighter skin color is deemed as social capital for social status, social mobility, and networking opportunities, which can be converted into economic or educational capital (Hunter, 1998, 2002). Skin color is also a criterion that affects African Americans’ perceptions of beauty and may relate to mate selection and marriage (Bond & Cash, 1992). Because of the privileges and advantages historically bestowed upon African Americans with lighter skin, the preference for lighter skin has persisted across generations and has developed modern colorism, which greatly influences the lives of African Americans, especially women (Coard, Breland, & Raskin, 2001; Keith, 2009; Tatum, 1999). In addition to skin color preference boosting the practice of skin bleaching, African American girls and young women are often advised not to play outside because sun exposure may darken their skin (Golden, 2004; Jablonski, 2012). However, perceptions of skin color, and skin color’s associated meanings, vacillate over time and are shaped by sociocultural contexts (Craig, 2009; Cross, 1991). Therefore, the purpose of this presentation is to explore current perceptions of skin color, whether there is still a preferred skin color within the African American community, and potential relationships between skin color preferences and sun-related behaviors among African American female college students.

217 Willard
12:00-1:00 p.m.

February 8, 2017Emerging Scholar Speaker Series (ESSS)

Carolyn Roberts, Ph.D. Candidate
Harvard University - African American Studies

“Medical Terror and African Healing in the Atlantic Slave Trade”

The Atlantic slave trade was system that thrived on terror and profound dehumanization. The wastage of human life permeated its existence leaving millions of dead in its wake. Yet, health was a vital commodity in eighteenth-century human trafficking. Biology and economics were cruelly conjoined in the enterprise. Merchants needed African captives to arrive alive in the Americas, and slave traders relied on West African and European drugs, medical care, and medical knowledge to meet this fundamental objective.

This presentation explores the intercultural medical world that developed in the West African slave trading zones and illustrates how British and African medical knowledge and practice adapted to the trade in human flesh. We will discuss how British doctors became human traffickers and how African captives became healers. In the process, the cruel contours of the slave trade changed medicine in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world.

217 Willard
12:00-1:00 p.m.

February 6, 2017Emerging Scholar Speaker Series (ESSS) - Week 2

9:00-9:45 a.m.
Delia Wendel, Ph.D.
Harvard University - Urban Planning

“Reconciliation Taking Place? Conflict and Neighborliness in Post-Genocide Rwanda”

In the last 23 years, the government of Rwanda and its international partners have, through their priorities and projects, maintained that peace is a matter of development. This connection is evident in the country’s villagisation program, which became state policy after the 1994 genocide. The significant ruptures of the genocide would seem to affirm the relevance of villagisation to restore homes, political order, and livelihoods for those that survived and returned to the country. However, these new villages have also produced contested environments that reproduce state interests and locate exceptional challenges to living together after mass violence. To explore the nexus of state peacebuilding priorities and the lived experience of post-genocide cohabitation, this paper centers on a government model village in western Rwanda. The village reveals how people and place intersect to build and un-build peace in rural Rwanda. Three “jurisdictions”—architectural, secular, and religious—are explored as both physical spaces and domains of influence and control. I follow residents’ uneasy contemplations of forgiveness across these domains, illustrating the concept’s force in reconciliation processes and its withdrawal as a sociopolitical act. Residents narrate a range of public and private spaces that foster reconciliation—from community meeting places and churches to the sharing of water tanks and the tending of neighbors’ cooking fires. They employ forms of religious devotion to restore self and home, address memories of violence, cultivate neighborliness, and imagine futures. These practices develop through and against government intervention: in new settlements designed to order relationships between neighbors and a co-opted religious language of “confession” and “forgiveness” in judicial trials and civic education. This case study is part of a larger project, which employed two years of ethnographic and historical research in 36 villages throughout the country, and aims to understand reconciliation as a long-term process that is activated and contravened by rural development.

9:45-10:30 a.m.
Neelima Jeychandran, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles - Culture & Performance

“African Memoryscapes in India: Memorial Shrines, Guardian Spirits, and Sacred Landscapes”

In this talk, I discuss how histories of African presence in India are remembered and reinvented through memorial shrines and repertoires of ritual performances of the Afro-Indian communities and by other marginalized groups in the western Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Gujarat. I focus on two different kinds of religious shrines and associated ritual practices: Hindu shrines dedicated to deceased Africans found along the Malabar and Konkan coasts and Siddi dargahs or tombs dedicated primarily to the Abyssinian Sufi saint Bava Gor and other African martyrs in Gujarat. Well before Europeans ventured into the Indian Ocean World, thriving trade relations with the Swahili Coast brought African seafarers and slaves to port cities along the western coast of India. I demonstrate how shrines for African ancestral spirits and saints provide sites for subaltern heritage at which marginalized peoples perform obfuscated historical pasts of African communities in the present.

10:30-11:15 a.m.
Allison S. Curseen, Ph.D.
Duke University - English

“Four Little Girls: Ante-Development, Blackness & Unruly Dependent Objects”

Taking the mulatta child Frado in Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig as an exemplary illustration, this talk focuses on how considering the physical movement of minors enables us to consider modes of relation and sociality that run apposite the narrow space of normative personhood and American freedom. I regard passing depictions of quotidian physical movements as one might regard depictions of dance, which is to say as expressive articulations that, though indexed by the text, move in excess of the text. Diverging from the tradition of reading Wilson’s novel as a narrative of black development, I posit that these pranks issue forth not the sound of the subject (or even a subject-to-be) but rather the sound of the dependent object. Emphasizing collectivity and the corporeality of the unseen, the pranks ask us to hear underneath the progressive chords of self-improvement, the radical possibilities of dependency and a discordant illegibility.

11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Imani D. Owens, Ph.D.
Columbia University - English / Comparative Literature

“Imperial Crossroads: U.S.-Caribbean Literature Literature and the Uses of Folk Culture”

This talk considers the specter of U.S. expansion and its implications for black literary production in and beyond the Harlem Renaissance. In their quests for citizenship and artistic expression, how do writers engage events such as the construction of the Panama Canal (1904-1914), the U.S. Occupation of Haiti, (1915-1934), and ongoing intervention in Cuba? Deeply attuned to the upheavals around them, black writers participate in, challenge, and transform imperial ways of knowing by turning to the innovations of black folk culture—including music, folklore, and embodied ritual. Through readings of several interwar texts, I show that folk culture functions not only a source of inspiration, but also a site of anti-imperial critique. Ultimately I argue that by engaging U.S. imperialism’s various technologies of violence, black writers redefine what it means to be a modern subject in a rapidly changing hemisphere.

12:00-12:45 p.m.
Erin Gray, Ph.D. Candidate
University of California, Santa Cruz - History of Consciousness

“The Incendiary Third Image of Lynching: Santiago Alvarez’s Now! and the Red Summer of 1965”

In 1965, in the immediate aftermath of the Watts uprising, Cuban cineaste Santiago Álvarez circulated a gesture of hemispheric solidarity to the emergent black power movement in his experimental newsreel, Now! Composed of found documentary photographs and film footage and set to the tune of a 1963 civil rights anthem by Lena Horne, the newsreel intervened in the mainstream media response to the L.A. rebellion by framing the insurgency as a political response to anti-black terrorism. Focusing on Alvarez’s incineration of a photograph of the public burning of William Brown in Omaha, Nebraska in 1919, I argue in this talk that Now! turns upon the material and affective power of fire to alter the readability of images of black revolt. Through contradictory image-sound relations and in the physical destruction of the lynching photograph, Álvarez employs a filmic strategy influenced not only by the materialist tradition of Marxist cinema but also by the emergent assemblage aesthetic developed by black artists in the U.S. Álvarez’s employment of what I call photo-dissemblage pushes the newsreel into an expressive genre that sparks in viewers a critical memory of the black international that had long opposed the politics of law and order that were ascendant in the 1960s.

216 Willard
9:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

February 2, 2017Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Chas Brua and Larkin Hood, Ph.Ds

"Preparing a Teaching Demo"

217 Willard
10:00-11:30 a.m.

January 30, 2017Emerging Scholar Speaker Series (ESSS) - Week 1

9:00-9:45 a.m.
Shannon C. Eaves, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - U.S. History

“Caught in a Web of Pain and Contempt: Consequences of the Sexual Exploitation of Enslaved Women
on Slaveholding and Enslaved Communities”

In my current book project, Illicit Intercourse: How the Sexual Exploitation of Enslaved Women Shaped the Antebellum South, I argue that a culture of rape and exploitation influenced the day-to-day interactions and negotiations between slaveholders and the enslaved. This culture was created and reinforced by the commodification and sexualization of black bodies, resulting in a southern economy that thrived on enslaved people’s sexual reproduction and viewed enslaved women’s bodies as a conduit for economic security. As a result, the South’s legal system, along with cultural attitudes, made it socially permissible, if taboo, for white men to rape, coerce, and sexually harass enslaved women with little legal or social repercussions. The collective consciousness of enslaved women’s vulnerability to this sexual exploitation created a web of pain, insecurity, jealousy, and contempt that entangled both slaves and slaveholders. This talk will illuminate some of the consequences of this tangled web on slaveholders and slaves’ intimate relationships, households, and struggles for power.

9:45-10:30 a.m.
Marcus P. Nevius, Ph.D.
The Ohio State University - History

“‘Born free’: Southside Virginia’s Antebellum Free Black Communities and Petit Marronage”

Since the 1970s, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians have developed two terms – grand marronage and petit marronage – to distinguish between different groups of absconders who fled from slavery. Generally, grand marronage refers to those groups who formed long-standing communities recognized by treaties with colonial powers; this form of marronage existed primarily in the Caribbean and South America. More recently still, historians have examined evidence of marronage in different North American contexts. This talk, drawn from my recent book project “a city of Refuge”: Petit Marronage and Slave Economy in Virginia and North Carolina, 1790-1860, centers petit marronage within the historiography of North American maroons. Through a presentation of my preliminary findings in the Norfolk County (Virginia) Register of Free Negroes and Mulattoes, this talk reveals the ways in which petit marronage reflects yet another facet of slavery and freedom’s complex relationship. While penned in the hand of county clerks, this register reveals the vital statistics of an important free black population in Southside Virginia, a region dominated by the Great Dismal Swamp, and a landscape in which maroons hid and slaves labored concurrently.

10:30-11:15 a.m.
Alaina E. Roberts, Ph.D. Candidate
Indiana University - Philosophy / History

"Defining Freedom: Emancipation in the Chickasaw Nation”

The end of the Civil War brought the former slaves of Chickasaw Indians relief that their involuntary labor was coming to an end, but also a predicament—would they stay in the nation in which they had toiled? Or would they strike out on their own, venturing into other Indians nations or the United States? The choices Chickasaw freedpeople made were symbolic of the geographic and ancestral ties they felt to the Chickasaw Nation. Unbeknownst to them, their choices regarding mobility during and directly after the war would have a crucial bearing on the nationality they could claim, and the practical benefits they could obtain from membership in an Indian nation—land and suffrage. As Chickasaw freedpeople’s family members, support networks, and spaces of memory remained in the Chickasaw Nation, so too did the majority of Chickasaw freedpeople, regardless of the prejudice and instability they faced in the West.

11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Stephanie J. Gomez-Menzies, Ph.D. Candidate
University of California, San Diego - Literature

“Performing Antigone: Afro-Puerto Rican Resistance in Public Memory and Local Myth in the tale of Adolfina Villanueva”

On February 6th, 1980, Adolfina Villanueva was murdered by police as she attempted to protect her family from eviction in Loíza, Puerto Rico, a municipality with a large Afro-Puerto Rican population. Adolfina’s protection of her home encapsulates the struggle of race, class, and police brutality for Loíza. Her stand echoes what many in the community see to be their battle: the struggle and sacrifice of Black citizens against the reality of a detached government. This talk, drawn from my dissertation Antigone’s Ghosts: Performance, Thanatopolitics and Citizenship, examines why we should understand Adolfina’s transformation into local myth in the public memory as a performance of Antigone. Adolfina’s life and death has become mythologized in the local community and commemorated by various theatre artists. Specifically, I consider Zora Moreno’s Coqui corihundo vira el mundo (1981) and Rosa Luisa Márquez’s La pasión y muerte de Adolfina Villanueva (1989). In Moreno and Márquez’s rememberings of Adolfina, they espouse a decolonial and transnational feminist perspective that affirms not only a Black woman but a Black mother as a producer of knowledge for the community. The transformation of Adolfina into myth seeks to destabilize the patriarchal myth of the gran familia puertorriqueña by centering a Black, matriarchal figure as the source of strength and resistance in the Puerto Rican public memory.

216 Willard
9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

January 23, 2017 - Luncheon Series with Vernelle A. A. Noel

Vernelle NoelVernelle A. A. Noel, Ph.D. Candidate, Design Computing

"Reinterpreting Cultural Design Practices through Technology: Wire-bending and Design in the Trinidad Carnival"

French planters introduced Carnival to Trinidad in the 1780s, but it was reinvented by slaves in the 1830s. Through the Carnival, slaves celebrated their freedom from enslavement, expressed their creativity and aesthetic sensibilities. The carnival articulates cultural practices; forms and sustains local communities; brings different generations and people together; and positively impacts local and global economies. These important aspects of the carnival are in danger however, due to a decline in the production of mas’ by local communities; the lack of advancement in skills essential to design in carnival; and the impending death of one of its major cultural crafts - wire-bending. This work seeks to expand our understanding of this dying craft, help us reinvent how we use technologies to engage with cultural practices largely dependent on embodied and tacit knowledge, and bring technology-conscious publics closer to Trinidad's artistic traditions and its strong ties to the African Diaspora. The term “Trinidad Carnival” does not define its geographic location, but instead its origin and the main elements defining the carnival.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

November 14, 2016 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Keith Gilyard, Distinguished Professor of English
"Negotiating the Job Offer"
217 Willard

10:30 a.m.-Noon

November 11, 2016 - Public Seminar with Tina Campt, Ph.D

Tina Campt

Tina Campt, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana and Women’s Gender and Studies, Director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and Chair of the Africana Studies Department at Barnard College, Columbia University

"Striking Poses: The Tensions of Black Refusal in a Photographic Frame"

"Striking Poses: The Tensions of Black Refusal in a Photographic Frame" stages an embodied encounter with a collection of images intended to regulate and literally ‘arrest' the movement of a class of individuals deemed criminal by the state: convict photos. It juxtaposes two archives of incarcerated black subjects: convict photos taken between 1897 and 1907 of inmates at Breakwater Prison in Cape Town, South Africa and mid-twentieth century mug shots of African American civil rights activists in the US South. It theorizes these images through the analytic framework of ‘refusal,’ which is used to redefine the range of creative responses black communities have marshaled in the face of racialized dispossession. In this context, refusal is not a response to a state of exception or extreme violence; it theorizes instead practices honed in response to sustained, everyday encounters with exigency and duress that rupture a predictable trajectory of flight.

118 Willard
4:00-5:00 p.m.

November 11, 2016 - Dissertation Workshop with Tina Campt and Huey Copeland, Ph.Ds

Tina Campt, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana and Women’s Gender and Studies, Director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and Chair of the Africana Studies Department at Barnard College, Columbia University, and Huey Copeland, Associate Professor of Art History, Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, The Graduate School, Northwestern University, will lead a dissertation workshop for our fellows.

217 Willard
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

November 7, 2016 - Luncheon Series with Khanjan Mehta

Khanjan Mehta

Khanjan Mehta, Director of Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) Program and Assistant Professor of Engineering Design

"The Double Disease Burden and Community Health Innovations"

By the year 2020, noncommunicable diseases will compose eighty percent of the global disease burden. These challenges along with already high rates of infectious diseases contribute to the "double disease burden" in the developing world. In East Africa, where I have been working on telemedicine systems and Community Health Worker (CHW) Programs for the past decade, hundreds of innovative solutions have been developed and field tested to address these healthcare challenges. These solutions range from innovative technologies and educational regimens to entrepreneurial activities, policy interventions and new organizational systems. This multiplicity of approaches reflects the complicated and multi-dimensional nature of the problem with deep roots in the cultural context. Alongside building the Mashavu healthcare system and deploying several other health innovations, my team has spent considerable time studying other projects and approaches. We found that while most ventures fail, a common thread amongst the successful ones is that they are lean, designed for scale, and most importantly, engage the community in a practical and holistic fashion. The community is really pivotal to success and large-scale impact. Many of these observations and lessons learned in Africa are actually just as relevant at home in the United States. Specifically, there is a real opportunity for community-engaged approaches to improve access to healthcare while improving livelihoods and creating jobs. This seminar will focus on such "reverse innovations" -- practical, innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities that can be intelligently translated from the developing world to address some of our most persistent healthcare challenges.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

October 29-November 1, 2016 - Every 28 Hours - A Series of One-Minute Plays

Every 28 Hours flyer

October 28-29, 2016 - Celebrating African American Literature and Language:  Race and Resistance

CAALL flyer

October 11, 2016 - The Barbara Jordan Lecture with Ben Jealous

Ben JealousBen Jealous, Civil and Human Rights Leader, Former NAACP President, Venture Capitalist & Author

"Beating Injustice: Police Killings, Mass Incarceration, and Making Real Change Happen Right Now"

A Rhodes scholar and the youngest person ever to lead the NAACP, Ben Jealous is known for being one of the most effective civil rights leaders of our day. However, it was not always clear that he would follow this path. In this speech, Jealous tells the inside history of more than 50 years of great civil rights battles, both known and unknown. He offers insight both into what our nation's greatest change agents have in common, and shows how we can all dramatically increase our capacity to make the world a better place.

6:00-7:30 p.m.
Foster Auditorium in the Paterno Library

Co-sponsored by Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, Council of College Multicultural Leadership, The Rock Ethics Institute, Department of African American Studies, Department of Philosophy, Institute for the Arts & Humanities, The McCourtney Institute for Democracy, and the Richards Civil War Era Center

October 10, 2016 - Luncheon Series with Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Ph.D.

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Associate Professor of English, Penn State Altoona

"The Creative Writer/Scholar as Ambassador: What I Discovered When I Brought My West African Voice to East Africa"

This was my first visit to East Africa, a part of Africa so far away from my homeland of Liberia that a flight from New York City to Monrovia is faster than one from Monrovia to Nairobi non-stop. Yes, I knew that we are all Africans, East and West Africans, but I did not know how different we are as a people despite our many similarities as I brought my poetry and my memoir to read at three of their largest universities. My scholarly/creative journey to present at the Kistrech International Poetry Festival as a featured poet began on the morning of August 4, 2015 due to long airline delays, and ended on August 12. I read my poetry and prose and presented a paper at Jomo Kenyatta University, at The University of Nairobi, and later that week, in the far away city of Kisii’s Kisii University, where for five days, I presented talks, read poetry and parts of my memoir, visited remote villages and spoke to school children, interacted with village people and other poets from around the world. Walking through the streets of Nairobi, through Kisii, and speaking at the nation’s premier radio station, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), I discovered things about the Kenyan people and about myself that I never knew. I discovered that I was not only a voice for my original homeland of Liberia and of my adopted homeland of America, but that somehow, to many I met, I was more than a voice, but also an ambassador of that far away world that I came from. I will engage you in conversation on what I discovered when I brought my West African voice to East Africa.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

October 5, 2016 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar with Charles Grench and Patrick Alexander

Chuck Grench

Chuck Grench, Executive Editor at UNC Press
"Basic Elements of a Good Book Proposal"

Patrick Alexander, Director at Penn State University Press
"What Academic Editors Want:  An Insider's View on How to Submit a Book Proposal"

10:00 a.m.-Noon (Individual 15-20 minute session with fellows followed by Q&A)



October 1, 2016 - Undergraduate Research Exhibition

The Africana Research Center will host an Undergraduate Research Exhibition in recognition of undergraduate students who have conducted outstanding research on issues affecting the African Diaspora. Please join us for these presentations!

2016 ARC Scholars

Emma Behr
Hurricane Katrina Victims: Citizens or Aliens?

Elizabeth Catchmark
Kindred Spirits: Reading Interracial Love Relationships Through Embodied White Supremacy

Trevor Dennehy
Segregation at Rocky Springs Park

Cherish Harper
Institutional Racism

Linda S. Kao
Tambú and Cultural Identity: Performative Folk Art of the African Diaspora in Curaçao

Janelle Kelly
Being Black and Male In America: Racialized Violence Against Black Males in U.S. Society

Keely Londino
Rhetorical Analysis of Malcolm X’s “The Black Revolution”

Sarah McKenna
A Memorial for Change: Roy Wilkins Speaking in
Remembrance of Rev. George W. Lee

Jessica Trent
A Correlational Study of Attitudes Toward Trending Racial Topics and Political Affiliation

Seamus Wagner
The Arab Slave Trade in East Africa and its Impact on the Coastal Peoples of East Africa

Nittany Lion Inn Faculty Staff Club Room
10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

September 23, 2016 - African Feminisms around the World:  Cartographies for the 21st Century Conference


African Feminisms flyer

September 12, 2016 - Luncheon Series with Susan Weeber

Susan Weeber

Susan Weeber, Ph.D. Candidate, English

“In Search of a Post-Revolutionary Politics:  Langston Hughes's Emperor of Haiti

Optimistic celebrations of the Haitian Revolution often fail to grapple with the revolution’s disappointing aftermath, while pessimistic accounts of post-revolutionary Haiti fail to treat the revolution as an unprecedented historical rupture. I argue that Langston Hughes’s Emperor of Haiti attempts to represent the aftermath of the revolution without succumbing to either utopian celebration or conservative pessimism. The play grapples with the knowledge that the Haitian Revolution was both a singular event that changed world history and that the aftermath of the revolution failed to match the event. The elements of the play that mark it as a theatrical failure (leading to mixed reviews during its initial run and contributing to its continued obscurity) are precisely the effects of the play’s attempt to think of the revolution—and, by extension, black radicalism—as both historical rupture and cyclical continuation. Hughes’s play, in all its messiness, grasps towards a way of dramatizing post-revolutionary Haiti’s position between historical and futural, radical and tragic—a vision that would account for both revolutionary upheaval and post-revolutionary disillusionment. This has ramifications beyond Hughes or Haitian Studies, as the divide between romantic and tragic approaches to the Haitian revolution not only echoes, but actively helps produce, theories of black radicalism’s relation to revolution and history writ large.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

August 29, 2016 - Luncheon Series with Mojdeh Motamedi

Mojdeh Motamedi

Mojdeh Motamedi, Graduate Student, Child Clinical Psychology

"What Stays When the Money is Gone?  The Sustainability of a HIV/Substance Use Prevention Program in South Africa"

Despite the number of evidence based programs shown to improve youth outcomes, very few are well-implemented and sustained in daily practice once their funding ends (Rogers, 2003). There is especially a need to learn how to implement and sustain these programs in South Africa (SA) where the lack of resources has made it difficult to distribute youth risk prevention programs needed to bridge the extensive health inequity gap lingering since apartheid (WHO, 2013). Thus, this study examined what factors contributed to better implementation and sustainability of HealthWise, a risk behavior prevention program for high-schools in SA, from the perspective of the stakeholders involved. A total of 10 teachers, 5 principals, and 71 students from 6 schools were interviewed or included in focus groups. Questions included addressing the effect of each school receiving one or a combination of the following implementation support conditions: additional training, support and supervision, and enhanced school environment. Additionally, 4 HealthWise support staff in SA and 3 staff from a support service for prevention programs in the US were interviewed to compare and contrast the two countries. In addition, this study examined how much HealthWise was sustained and what factors contributed to its sustainability and implementation. The relative importance of various programmatic, provider, school and external factors (e.g., program perceptions, fit, buy-in, flexibility, preparedness, and accountability) will be discussed, as will differences and similarities among the three different support conditions, each country, low vs. high implementing schools, and different reporters (i.e., students, teachers, principals, and support staff).

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

August 22, 2016 - ARC Post-Doctoral and Dissertation Fellows' Orientation and Luncheon

The ARC welcomes 2016-2017 post-doctoral fellows, Amira Rose Davis, Olivenne Skinner, and Sarah Stefana Smith, and dissertation fellows, Veronica Hicks and Laura Vrana.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m. Orientation Luncheon with mentors/advisors
1:00-2:00 p.m. Orientation


April 28, 2016 - ARC Annual Fellows' Recognition & Awards

The Africana Research Center's annual ARC Awards in recognition of our 2015-2016 post-doctoral fellows, Juli Grigsby, Aditi Malik, and Nicole Myers Turner, and dissertation fellows, Margaret Ariotti, Jessica Baker Kee, and Susan Weeber.

Nittany Lion Inn, Alumni Lounge
3:30-5:00 p.m.

April 26, 2016 - South African Film Screening

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April 25, 2016 - Luncheon Series with David Shapiro, Ph.D.

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David Shapiro, Professor of Economics, Demography, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

"Women's Education, Infant and Child Mortality, and Fertility Decline in Urban and Rural Sub-Saharan Africa:  A Quantitative Assessment"

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) was the last major world region to experience the fertility decline that all industrialized countries have gone through and that much of the developing world has experienced in large part. It has uniquely high fertility: at present, the United Nations estimates the total fertility rate at 5.1 for SSA, compared to 2.2 for both Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. The ongoing fertility transition in the region has been comparatively slow and subject to stalling. At the same time, women’s educational attainment and infant and child mortality have been shown in the demography literature to be important determinants of fertility and fertility decline. Since the 1980s, fertility in sub-Saharan Africa has been falling in many countries while women’s school enrollment and educational attainment have been increasing and infant and child mortality for the most part has been declining. Previous research using aggregated data has shown the importance of growth in women’s schooling and reduction in infant and child mortality as major factors contributing to fertility decline in the region. This research uses individual-level micro data and a well-known decomposition technique for analyzing differences or changes to quantify the importance of increased women’s education and declining infant and child mortality in contributing to the observed declines in fertility in numerous countries. More specifically, this paper examines the quantitative impact of these two factors in sub-Saharan Africa in contributing to the ongoing decline in fertility that has been taking place in the region. Data come from 31 countries, and are from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). The methodology is to decompose observed changes in fertility to changes attributable to different factors, including the two key variables of interest – women’s education and infant and child mortality – and two control variables, urbanization and age.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

April 23, 2016 - The Black Family Reunion

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April 22, 2016 - Pan African Professional Alliance Speaker Series:  Success in Grad School Panel

April 22, 2016 - Pan African Professional Alliance Speaker Series  Success in Grad School Panel.jpg

April 18, 2016 - Aditi Malik, Ph.D., Public Lecture

April 18, 2016 - Aditi Malik, Ph.D., Public Lecture.jpg

Aditi Malik, ARC post-doctoral fellow the African Studies program

"Hindu-Muslim Violence in Unexpected Places: Evidence from Rural India"

Hindu-Muslim violence in India is widely understood to stem from elites’ electoral incentives. We also know that such violence is an urban phenomenon that disproportionately targets Muslims. Since 2012, however, there has been a drastic increase in communal riots in rural parts of India and especially in the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP). The worst case of such violence took place between August and September 2013 in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of UP and resulted in the deaths of over 60 individuals. Based on original research in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, this project develops a theory to account for the rise of rural communal violence in India. In doing so, it makes two key findings. First, it uncovers that due to the ruling Samajwadi Party’s failure to expeditiously bring the riots under control, many rural voters in this area--including Muslims--have lost faith in the incumbent regime. Consequently, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) benefited from the 2013 riots. Second, it shows that contrary to Indian cities, where many parties stand to be electorally punished for organizing communal violence, it is in the country's  villages where election-related Hindu-Muslim riots are likely to occur in the future.

216 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

April 16, 2016 - 9th Annual NABA Fashion Show

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April 11, 2016 - Juli Grigsby, Ph.D., Public Lecture

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Juli Grigsby, ARC post-doctoral fellow for Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

"Returning to the Scene of the Crime: Researching Home and Reframing Activist Anthropology"

My ethnographic work on reproductive justice in Los Angeles is forged in spaces of memory, sites of violence, and accounts that center black women’s quest to create lives. It is also wedged between family commitments, work obligations, and research practices that make room for political engagement with community organizations. In this context, less than a mile from my home, while crossing the street and leaving a reproductive rights advocacy meeting; a violent attack ended fieldwork for the day. By way of auto-ethnography, this paper thinks through the methodological and intellectual stakes of activist anthropological research in spaces of home. Activist anthropology’s establishment of a dual commitment – to a shared political goal with interlocutors on the ground and to the production of academic scholarship - defines both the methodology and method. However, how can a researcher attune to affect when home is not always safe and when political commitment is principal to developing research? This talk considers the stakes of politically committed “home work” where the researcher is not only a social science collaborator, but also a member of the population subject to the same spatial form of violence and misrecognition as her “subjects.” In particular, I discuss how anthropological Black feminist and queer epistemologies produce key methodological questions concerning the self and political self that may suggest a reframing of activist anthropology is needed when conducting fieldwork at home.

216 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

April 1-2, 2016 - 4th Annual Emerging Scholars Workshop:  New Perspectives on Racial and State Violence in the African Diaspora

A workshop for junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows,and advanced graduate students sponsored by the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center.

Recent events across the country – from Ferguson to New York, South Carolina and more – have called into question the triumphalist narrative of the Civil Rights movement and encouraged deeper reflection on the persistence of racial and state violence. The Fourth Annual Emerging Scholars Workshop: New Perspectives on Racial and State Violence in the African Diaspora provides the opportunity to explore the historical roots of and narratives surrounding such violence, including, but not limited to, such topics as the violence of slavery; Reconstruction era political and social intimidation by the KKK and other white supremacist vigilante organizations; lynchings; political exclusion of black people from New Deal Era benefits, equal education, and housing opportunities, and violent opposition to Civil Rights activism. Moreover, these narratives cross traditional state boundaries, and acts of resistance and resilience are evident in such disparate but related moments like the Haitian Revolution, Morant Bay Rebellion, and the contemporary Black Lives Matter Movement.

The Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State, in conjunction with the Africana Research Center, will host eight early career scholars and advanced graduate students for its fourth annual emerging scholars workshop.  Feedback from the audience is key to ensuring the success of this event.  To that end, we invite you to mark your calendars and join us April 1 and 2 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Please direct questions to Emily Seitz:

Foster Auditorium
9.:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

March 31, 2016 - Nicole Myers Turner, Ph.D., Public Lecture

March 31, 2016 - Nicole Myers Turner, Ph.D., Public Lecture.jpg


March 25, 2016 - "The Fire This Time: Citizenship, Civil Rights, and New Racisms in the 21st Century" Symposium

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March 21, 2016 - The Barbara Jordan Lecture with Judy Richardson

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Judy Richardson, Lecturer/Filmmaker "We Shall Not Be Moved: Women in the Civil Rights Movement"

In the narrative of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement the crucial role of women continues to be too often obscured.

Based on her experiences as a staff worker with the student-led Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the South, the production of the 14-hour Eyes on the Prize series, and as co-editor of the memoirs of 52 SNCC female activists in Hands on the Freedom Plow, Ms. Richardson will highlight powerful stories of the strong local leaders—many of them women and young people—who led and sustained the southern movement of the 1960s.  Like today’s Black Lives Matter activism, women and young people were at the center of that movement.

Foster Auditorium in the Paterno Library
5:30-7:00 p.m.

Co-sponsored by Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, Critical Philosophy of Race Initiative, Rock Ethics Institute, and George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center.

March 17-20, 2016 - C19 4th Biennial Conference - "Unsettling"

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February 20, 2016 - "A Celebration of Black Lives" - An Evening of Reverence and Remembrance

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Co-sponsored by Africana Research Center.

February 15-19, 2016 - Dissecting Blackness; Uniting our Community

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February 18, 2016 - Public Lecture with Tomas Fernandez Robaina, Ph.D.

February 15, 2016 - Luncheon Series with K. Russell Lohse, Ph.D.

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K. Russell Lohse, Assistant Professor of History

"Frontiers of Depravity: A Slave Master and His Household in Colonial Honduras"

Violence, at the most basic level, is what made slavery possible. In colonial Spanish America, few questioned the “right” of slave masters to physically abuse their slaves. Yet there were limits that even slave masters were not supposed to go beyond.  Pedro de Torres arrived in Honduras in the 1550s and made a fortune in gold mining -- on the backs of Indian forced laborers and African slaves. But in 1571, an anonymous informer threatened his fortune and freedom by denouncing him to the Inquisition.  In secret testimony, witnesses revealed that Torres had sadistically tortured and even killed African slaves and indigenous servants. Behind a façade of wealth and respectability, life in Torres’s household epitomized the extreme violence intrinsic to conquest, enslavement, and colonization. The story of his trial illuminates the moral stakes between masters, slaves, and the colonial state as they struggled to fix the line where legitimate domination ended and depraved cruelty began in a profoundly unequal society.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

February 10, 2016 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Keith Gilyard, Distinguished Professor of English
Senior Faculty Mentor
217 Willard

10:00-11:30 a.m.

February 3, 2016 - Public Lecture with Lydia Edwards

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February 1, 2016 - Emerging Scholar Speaker Series (ESSS) - Week 2

Presenter #1 - Jarvis Givens, Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Berkeley-African American Studies (9:00-9:45 a.m.)

“Schooling the Race:  Carter G. Woodson and the Black Educational Heritage, 1915-1950”

Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) was an educational theorist that informed Black teachers’ pedagogy at the height of Jim Crow; yet, traditional frameworks of Black educational history have underexplored his contributions and continue to rely on the Booker T. Washington-W.E.B Du Bois binary of classical vs. industrial education. While these frameworks fail to engage the cultural politics of White supremacy, Woodson argued that the ideological foundations of schools relied on a human history of the world that centered Whiteness and distorted the humanity of Black people. For the purpose of this talk, I analyze archival materials that reveal how Woodson institutionalized this philosophy by publishing counter-instructional material (textbooks, classroom decorations, etc.) and partnering with Black teachers through their professional networks. Moving beyond traditional framings, I offer the Black Educational Heritage as a new analytical framework born at the intersection of education, freedom, and affectivity; it serves as an aperture that offers a more expansive understanding of the historical relationship between schooling and the lived experiences of Black people.

Presenter #2 - Kimberly McNair, Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Berkeley-African Diaspora Studies (9:45-10:30 a.m.)

“If You're Interested in Justice, Here’s Your Shirt:  T-shirts as Discursive Activism in the Movement for Black Lives”

My presentation will investigate the use of t-shirts in grassroots organizing influenced by the social (media) movement for black lives. I am interested in the ways artists, entrepreneurs, and movement participants use t-shirts as a tool to shed light on the issue of state sanctioned violence against black bodies; and how they harness the power of social media to publicize movement paraphernalia (e.g. t-shirts). These cultural producers’ business models are in harmony with their political beliefs; and many products are designed, sold, and distributed to garner funds for campaigns in various locations. I am interested in how this movement has created a global community that allows diasporic Blacks to claim affiliation with this movement. Both t-shirts and social media make discursive interventions in the ways traditional media  (as a space that reproduces racist ideology) frames narratives of black victimization and political engagement. Social media helps us understand how t-shirts rearticulate racial meaning by expressing continual mourning, while at the same time constituting the political identity and agency of the participants and wearers.   This presentation is taken from the fourth chapter of my primary project and dissertation, “Cotton Framed Revolutionaries: T-shirt culture and the Black Protest Tradition.” My project is a visual material history of the African American protest tradition, where I examine protest t-shirts as a medium for the performance of leftist politics from the Black Power era to the #BlackLivesMatter events of present-day.

Presenter #3 - Sarah Stefana Smith, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto-Social Justice Education (10:30-11:15 a.m.)
“Figuring Slavery, Figuring Bafflement in Contemporary Black Diaspora Art”

This talk considers moments of dis-ease and frustration that coalesce in work by contemporary black women and queer visual artists. Inaugurated by a shared concern with Frantz Fanon over the scopic regimes that adhere to and structure blackness, pleasure and visuality, this talk offers bafflement, rooted in the afterlife of racial slavery, as a strategy of pause and performance to negotiate such dis-ease and dis-satisfaction. A poetics of bafflement figures belonging differently and exposes new possibilities of freedom. Utilizing bafflement, I argue that black artists negotiate deeply dissatisfying formulations of blackness by reframing articulations of desire (between blackness and belonging), undoing gender and disrupting national articulations of belonging.

216 Willard
9:00 a.m. - Noon

January 28, 2016 - Luncheon Series with Nan Woodruff, Ph.D.

January 28, 2016 - Luncheon Series with Nan Woodruff, Ph.D..jpg

Nan Woodruff, Professor of Modern U.S. History and African American Studies

"Pain in My Heart: Living with the Legacies of Everyday Violence in the Contemporary South"

Untold incidents of horrific violence and terror against African Americans characterized the Civil Rights Movement. While scholars have correctly focused on the heroic “local people” who formed the backbone of the southern struggle, this presentation looks at the invisible, unprosecuted, un-remembered stories of people who remained in small towns where the traumas of the civil rights years remain buried in the lives and communities of those who risked everything to challenge white supremacy. The violent 1966 freedom movement and desegregation of the public schools in Grenada, Mississippi represented one  of the most violent episodes in the Civil Rights Movement.  Oral histories with participants who were children and young people at the time, provide some understanding of the legacies of violence and terror in one community and among families and individuals.

118 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

January 26, 2016 - Emerging Scholar Speaker Series (ESSS) - Week 1

Presenter #1 - Robert Bland, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Maryland-History (8:30-9:15 a.m.)

“Some Sort of Negro Paradise: The South Carolina Lowcountry and the Spatial Politics of the Post-Reconstruction Public Sphere”

This paper examines the impact of gerrymandering and travel narratives on representations of the South Carolina Lowcountry during the late-nineteenth century. Following the creation of South Carolina's Seventh Congressional District, which included the most heavily African-American counties in the state and was designed to concentrate the political strength of the state’s black majority into just one electoral constituency, the Lowcountry became a barometer for black progress during the 1880s. The discourse over spatial politics continued in the accounts of southern black life produced by northern travel writers. Inextricably connected to the paeans for classical liberalism that dominated northern elite circles during the Gilded Age, these lurid travel stories convinced northern readers that the Lowcountry was an irreconcilably illiberal region. I argue that in response to these two battles over space, black elites crafted a countermemory of Reconstruction that changed the course of postbellum black politics by transforming the story of the Lowcountry during Reconstruction from a declensionist narrative to a tale of racial uplift.

Presenter #2 - Brandon Byrd, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill-History (9:15-10:00 a.m.)

“Let us Save Hayti:  W.E.B. Du Bois on the U.S. Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934”

W.E.B. Du Bois has received ample scholarly attention. Countless works address not only his civil rights activism but also his leadership of the Pan-­‐African Congresses and broader international interests. Still, Du Bois’s reaction to the United States occupation of Haiti from 1915-­‐1934 has received scant attention. This chapter recovers that reaction. More specifically, it moves from Du Bois’s initial attempt to accommodate U.S. interests in Haiti to his explicit critique of the occupation. In doing so, this chapter accomplishes two tasks. First, it improves our understanding of Du Bois’s evolving understanding of the connections among capitalism, imperialism, and white supremacy. Second, it demonstrates how these changes paralleled and influenced a shift from the bourgeois pan-­‐Africanism of the nineteenth century to an emerging black internationalism. In sum, this chapter contributes to the body of scholarship on Du Bois and the larger field of black intellectual history.

Presenter #3 - Amira Rose Davis, Ph.D. Candidate, Johns Hopkins University-History (10:00-10:45 a.m.)

“Peddling Flesh:  Baseball, Black Women and the Politics of Representation”

This talk examines the experiences and representations of three black women who played baseball in the Negro Leagues in the 1950s. Toni Stone, Connie Morgan and Mamie "Peanut" Johnson added a measure of much-needed publicity to a black baseball league slowly in decline. Despite moderate gate popularity, Stone, Morgan, and Johnson spent most of their playing careers being largely ignored by white sports media or denigrated by black sports writers for competing in a male arena. In direct contrast to their experiences as players, however, all three women became popularized in the late twentieth century. This talk argues that such triumphalist treatments of the past obscure the complicated realities of Johnson, Stone, and Morgan's historical context and athletic careers. At its core, this talk is about the ways in which black women’s bodies are used, imagined and policed, but its also a story about three black women who fought for autonomy over their bodies and their images, and who ultimately fashioned their own definition of modern and respectable black womanhood.

102 Weaver
8:30-10:45 a.m.

January 20, 2016 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Kate Miffitt, Director of Pedagogy and Scholarship
"Digital Research"
217 Willard

10:00-1:00 p.m.

January 15, 2016 - The 41st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Banquet - "Keep Moving Forward"

The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, President's Hall

Doors open at 5:45 p.m., Banquet begins at 6:30 p.m.