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December 2, 2013 - Brown Bag with Khanjan Mehta

December 2, 2013 - Brown Bag with Khanjan Mehta.jpg
Khanjan Mehta, Director, Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) Program, Assistant Professor, Engineering Design

"The Kochia Chronicles:  Systemic Challenges and the Foundations of Social Innovation"

While leading social ventures and research projects in East Africa over the last decade, I gradually understood the simplicity and complexity of development challenges. I wanted to educate the larger population about “how things work” in Africa and showcase the people’s ingenuity, innovation and resilience. So I integrated my personal experiences with rigorous research findings, statistics, norms, emotions and illustrations to weave a series of fictional narratives called The Kochia Chronicles. The Kochia Chronicles take readers headlong into the lives and adventures of people in a quintessential Kenyan village as they usher in an era of design, innovation and entrepreneurship. They offer readers a glimpse of life, problems and innovations in developing communities against the backdrop of the rapidly evolving political, social, economic, technological and global context. The stories delve into a wide range of issues including the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the schooling system, traditional alcohols, gender issues, cell phones, community fundraising, and the inner workings of the orphanage business. One of the stories discusses how the “teach a man to fish” adage is impractical in many parts of the world where highly-skilled fishermen cannot access the millions of fish in their vicinity due to a variety of cultural, economic or political reasons. Another story delves into the menace of counterfeit products - water, milk, detergent, margarine, light bulbs, car parts, solar panels, condoms, radios... everything!

I will discuss my journey from the world of engineering and entrepreneurship to storytelling and book publishing. How are funerals killing people? Why are young women four times as likely to be HIV positive? Which personal item tops the list of “most counterfeited items”? Find out in this fast-paced and funny brown bag talk.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

November 15, 2013 - Fellows' Mentoring Workshop and Seminar with Marla Frederick, Ph.D.

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Marla Frederick, Professor of African and African American Studies and of Religion (FAS), Harvard University

"Colored Television: Black Religion in Global Context"

The influence of religious media on the growth of Pentecostalism worldwide is now well documented. However, the significance of female televangelists to this growth has been rarely examined. This paper explores the influence of female televangelists in America on communities of color in the Caribbean. This paper argues that women followers of religious broadcasting often use female televangelists’ testimonies of sexual trauma and triumph as inspiration for navigating and reclaiming their own lives. Theoretically, I am interested in the significance of such discourses during a period of late capitalism and the ways in which these discourses promote agency among black women who are attempting to carve their way both economically and socially in a world to which their existence has often been marginal. Based upon ethnographic field work in the US and the Caribbean this paper explores how women's bodies have become sites of personal agency in the social, political and economic climate of twenty-first century industrialized(ing) nations.

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

Fellows' Workshop:
"What I Wish I Knew Before Tenure"
217 Willard
Noon-2:00 p.m.

November 6, 2013 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Jack Selzer, Ph.D.
"Art of the Deal"
217 Willard

10:00-11:30 a.m. 

November 4, 2013 - Brown Bag with Katelyn Holmes

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Katelyn Holmes, Graduate Student, Department of Health Policy and Administration

"Assessing Breast Cancer Risk in the Developing World: Challenges and Opportunities for Telemedicine Utilization"

Introduction: By 2020, 70% of all cancer cases are expected to be in the least developed countries1. The current project explores the feasibility of telemedicine in addressing the growing burden of breast cancer in Kenya. Through the introduction of questions specifically designed to predict a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, the resulting risk profile can inform physician recommendations for breast cancer screening and can also be influential in informing a woman’s screening behaviors. Methods: Expanding the women’s health section of the a telemedicine system’s patient interview permits both parties to understand a woman’s estimated relative risk of developing breast cancer through a series of questions assessing a woman’s exposure to disease-specific risk factors. With this tool, women at the greatest risk for developing the disease can understand their elevated risk and modify their screening behaviors accordingly.   Results: A total of 246 women in Nyeri, Kenya provided oral responses to the breast cancer risk metric via CHWs. During recorded interviews with the Community Health Workers (CHWs) who collected the information, the CHWs explained the difficulties of collecting demographic data among this population. Often, women could not recall their current age or their age of first menstruation. Acquiring accurate marital status and educational attainment proved difficult. Of the 246 women, 23 (9.35%) reported a family history of breast cancer among first-order relatives. Further, 15 of the participants (6.01%) reported receiving a breast biopsy. Despite the high self-reported family history and breast biopsy among these rural, Kenyan women, the CHWs collecting the information shared concerns relating to the accuracy of these results. These findings may be biased due to misinterpretation of the diagnostic criteria and screening tools for breast cancer. Discussion: The complications associated with collecting demographic and breast health history information in rural Kenya potentially limit the ability of the breast cancer risk metric to identify meaningful differences in breast cancer risk among participants. Future research ought to assess the feasibility of using alternative culturally-appropriate demographic questions.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

October 29, 2013 - Slavery Studies Workshop with Simon Gikandi, Ph.D.

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The award-winning scholar and editor of PMLA, Simon Gikandi, Robert Schirmer Professor of English at Princeton University, will be visiting Penn State this month. He will give a talk in the Comparative Literature Luncheon Seminar Series on October 28 and a workshop on Tuesday, October 29 from 9 AM to 11 AM on the surprising role of images of slavery in the development of a culture of refinement and taste (the reading for the workshop will be Chapter 1 of Professor Gikandi's award-winning book, Slavery and the Culture of Taste, Princeton, 2011). Faculty and graduate students from the Departments of Comparative Literature, History, African American Studies, African Studies, English, the Africana Research Center, the IAH and the School of Visual Arts are invited to attend the workshop.
102 Kern
9:00-11:00 a.m.

October 28, 2013 - Fellows' Mentoring Workshop with Joycelyn K. Moody, Ph.D.

October 28, 2013 - Fellows' Mentoring Workshop with Joycelyn K. Moody, Ph.D..jpg

Joycelyn K. Moody, Sue E. Denman Distinguished Chair in American Literature; Director, African American Literatures and Cultures Institute, The University of Texas at San Antonio, and former editor of African American Review

"Some Nuts & Bolts for Submitting Scholarly Articles"

217 Willard
8:00-10:00 a.m.

October 25-26, 2013 - Celebrating African American Literature (CAAL) 2013

Our series of conferences, Celebrating African American Literature, will focus on African American and Afro-Caribbean poetry.  Confirmed speakers include Nikky Finney, Kwame Dawes, Ishion Hutchinson, Keith Leonard, Evie Shockley and Howard Rambsy II.

The conference will take place October 25 - 26, 2013 at the Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State's University Park campus.  The conference is sponsored by the College of the Liberal Arts, the Africana Research Center, the Department of English, the Department of African American Studies, the Equal Opportunity Planning Committee, George and Barbara Kelly Professor of American Literature Aldon Nielsen, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, and the African American Literature and Culture Society.

October 25, 2013 - Fellows' Mentoring Workshop and Seminar with William Reno, Ph.D.

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William Reno, Professor, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University

"End of Insurgency?  The Changing Character of Civil War"

Many scholars and commentators paint a dystopian picture of a future of urban warfare and networked guerrillas.  In this talk, Will Reno examines the assumptions underlying this view of the evolution of conflict.  Reno argues that urbanization and connectedness can generate a wide organizational range of insurgencies, armed gangs, militias and other groups.  Based upon field research in Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere, he suggests that underlying processes of state-building shape the characters of conflicts.  Reno offers a theory of "network control" that explains how non-state armed actors such as insurgents, drug cartels, warlords and youth militias build relations with states and local populations, and the impact that these relations have on the varied characters of future conflicts.

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

Fellows' Workshop:
"Concept Development and Field Research Methods in Conflict Zones"
217 Willard
Noon-2:00 p.m.

October 24, 2013 - Thomas Glave Reading

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Thomas Glave, author and Professor of English at the State University of New York at Binghamton, will present a reading from his book, "Among the Bloodpeople:  Politics and Flesh".  Photo Credit:  Oslo Freedom Forum

Foster Auditorium
7:30-9:00 p.m.

Glave will also meet with interested LGBTA and Caribbean students over lunch from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at 101 Boucke Bldg.
Sponsored by English Department, Africana Research Center, Institute for Arts and Humanities, Department of African American Studies, and LGBTA Student Resource Center

October 9, 2013 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Kit Hume, Ph.D.
"Writing for Publication: The Peer-Reviewed Essay"
217 Willard


October 7, 2013 - Brown Bag with David McBride, Ph.D.

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David McBride, Professor of African American Studies and African American History

"African-American/Black Museums Today:  From 'Underground Railroad' to Celebratory Amnesia?"

Mega-disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 terrorism attacks have made museums ever more important cultural sites.  This paper presents findings from recent field visits to twenty-nine African-American/black museums and historic sites in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  As part of the author’s Community Heritage Project, this investigation sought to identify memories most commonly framed in these cultural institutions and sites.  Exhibitions and displays stressed iconic African-American historical figures, as well as community places, social achievers, and artwork prominent to each museum’s particular city.  Social realism and scientific depth in the museums’ exhibitions and sites varied.  Currently the dismantling of traditional neighborhoods, public schools, and churches is occurring throughout newly redeveloped or post-disaster areas in the nation’s major cities.  The black museums are in the path of these changes. This paper asks: Given this larger urban/suburban environment and geophysical context, does the slavery-to-freedom narrative in black museums reflect a form of celebratory amnesia.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

October 5, 2013 - 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.

Convenor:  Tracy Beckett (Managing Director, Africana Research Center)

Keynote Speaker:  AnneMarie Mingo, Ph.D. (ARC Post-doctoral Fellow for African American Studies)

Judges: Moya Bailey, Ph.D. (ARC Post-doctoral Fellow for African American Studies), Mildred Mickle, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of English, PSU-Greater Allegheny), and Michael Woldemariam, Ph.D. (ARC Post-doctoral Fellow for Political Science)

Participating 2013 ARC Scholars:

Brittany Belmont - "Our Black is Beautiful"
Arianna De Reus - "Business Strategies for Agricultural Technology Commercialization"
Christopher Dinsmore - "Red Tails:  Pioneers of Black Aviation" - 3RD PLACE
Morgan Drumming - "The Presence of Black Female Stereotypes in Pop Culture"
Anna Lombardo - "The Politics of Oscar Brown, Jr.'s Sin & Soul" - 2ND PLACE
Siri Maley - "The Significance of Implementation Strategy for Scaling-Up Base of Pyramid Ventures"
Joseph Mayberry - "A Cautious Progressive:  William Faulkner’s 1956 'Letter to the North'" - 1ST PLACE
Grace Rambo - "The Ndebele People:  Women's Artful Expressions of Freedom"
Britta Schumacher - "Gender, Power and Progress:  An Examination of the Bwadi Bwa Kifwebe Society and the Songye Masking Tradition"
Meilen Teklemichael - "When God Was a Woman"
Nittany Lion Inn, Faculty Staff Club Room
10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

September 27-28, 2013 - Global Penn State Conference 2013:  Internationalizing the Campus, College and Classroom

The University Office of Global Programs is pleased to announce the first annual Global Penn State: Internationalizing the Campus, College, and Classroom conference to be held September 27-28, 2013, at the University Park campus.

The conference is designed to offer not only the vision of a global university, but to share practical tools in internationalizing the campus, college, and classroom.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. on Friday, September 27 at the Nittany Lion Inn. Conference registration fee is $60. The fee includes conference materials, breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Friday, buffet breakfast and boxed lunches on Saturday, and coffee breaks throughout.

Nittany Lion Inn
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. (Friday)
Katz Building
8:00 a.m.-noon (Saturday)
Co-sponsored by Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Global Penn State, The Center for Global Studies,  College of Communications, Africana Research Center, Dickinson School of Law, Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, and Center for the Study of Higher Education

September 25, 2013 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Matt Ishler
"Resume, CV and Cover Letter Development"
217 Willard

10:00-11:30 a.m.

September 16, 2013 - Brown Bag with Thaddeus Ityokumbul, Ph.D.

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Thaddeus Ityokumbul, Associate Professor of Mineral Processing and Geo-Environmental Engineering; Undergraduate Program Officer of Environmental Systems Engineering

"Environmental Impacts of Oil Development on the Mississippi and Niger Delta Regions"

Preliminary assessment of water quality in the Mississippi and Niger Delta regions has been carried out. In the Niger Delta, AESEDA partner institutions in Nigeria collected surface and open well water samples, which were analyzed, while in the Mississippi Delta (United States), we relied on recorded US Geological Survey data. Baseline water quality data in both the Mississippi and River Niger taken at locations removed from oil production/processing and coastal areas were remarkably similar. In general, our results showed that oil production and processing facilities had little impact on downstream water quality in both delta regions. However, our data show that open well water samples in the Niger Delta Region were abnormally acidic primarily due to emission of acidic gases (NOx and SOx) from gas flaring and other industrial activities. We recommend that a massive environmental monitoring effort should be initiated in the Niger Delta without delay in order to provide a baseline for assessing the impact of gas flaring policies on the water quality and health of the people living in the region Niger Delta. In the US, nutrient levels increased as one travelled towards New Orleans and this is attributed to fertilizer runoff. Since the completion of this project, the United Nations has released a report that confirms oil contamination in the region and the Nigerian Government has set up an agency to undertake clean-up operations.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

September 11, 2013 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Christopher Long, Ph.D.
"Digital Research"
217 Willard
10:00-11:30 a.m.

September 9, 2013 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Linda Selzer, Ph.D.
"Teaching Philosophies"
217 Willard

10:00-11:30 a.m.

September 4, 2013 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

with Kendra Boileau

Kendra Boileau, Editor in Chief at Penn State University Press
"What Academic Editors Want:  An Insider's View on How to Submit a Book Proposal"

217 Willard

August 29, 2013 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Chas Brua, Ph.D., and Larkin Hood, Ph.D.
"Schreyer Institute"
217 Willard

10:00-10:30 a.m.

August 28, 2013 - ARC Post-Doctoral and Dissertation Fellow Orientation and Luncheon

The ARC welcomes 2013-2014 post-doctoral fellows Michael Woldemariam, Sasha Turner and AnneMarie Mingo, affiliate post-doctoral fellow Moya Bailey, and dissertation fellow Antwain Hunter.

August 28, 2013 - ARC Post-Doctoral and Dissertation Fellow Orientation and Luncheon.jpg

217 Willard
11:00 a.m.-noon Orientation
Noon-1:00 p.m. Luncheon with mentors

April 25, 2013 - ARC Annual Fellows' Recognition & Awards Program/Open House

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The Africana Research Center and The College of the Liberal Arts' annual ARC Awards in recognition of our 2012-2013 ARC Fellows: Sabrina Strings, William Sturkey, Jessie Dunbar, Jessica Johnson and Shaeeda Mensah.

217 Willard
3:30-5:00 p.m.

April 17, 2013 - Post-doctoral Fellow Public Lecture with Jessica Johnson, Ph.D.

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Jessica Johnson, ARC Post-doctoral Fellow for the Richards Center

"Wives, Soldiers, and Slaves: The Atlantic World of 'la femme Pinet'"

In early 1729, a Senegal mulatresse arrived in New Orleans, a muddy outpost near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Like so many Africans crossing the Atlantic during the first decades of the eighteenth century, she embarked from Senegal aboard a French slave ship in the company of dozens of shackled men, women, and children. However, and unlike the majority of Africans making the same voyage, she did not arrive enslaved. Marie Baude, 'la femme Pinet,' was a slaveowning, free woman of African descent. Her experience, while extraordinary, reflected life for women of African descent practicing freedom in an eighteenth-century Atlantic world of fortified ports, bonded labor, and imperial desire.

216 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

April 16, 2013 - Dr. Leslie King-Hammond Lecture

School of Visual Arts
11:30 a.m.

Please visit for more information.
(Co-sponsored by Africana Research Center, Paul Robeson Cultural Center, The School of Visual Arts John M. Anderson Endowed Lecture Series, The Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Peen State OBAC)

April 15, 2013 - Brown Bag with Leslie C. Sotomayor

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Leslie C. Sotomayor, Undergraduate Student, Women's Studies and Fine Art

"Arab Migration to Cuba between the 1860s and 1940s: A Comparative Analysis of Identity and Racialization in the Americas"

Sotomayor’s two-month exploratory research, “Arab Migration to Cuba between the 1860 and 1940s: A Comparative Analysis of Identity and Racialization in the Americas” took place in the summer of 2012. An overview of Arab history in Cuban society will be discussed.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

April 8, 2013 - Dissertation Fellow Public Lecture with Shaeeda Mensah

April 8, 2013 - Dissertation Fellow Public Lecture with Shaeeda Mensah.jpg

Shaeeda Mensah, ARC Dissertation Fellow and Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy

"Punishing the Innocent: Race, Gender & Mass Incarceration"

With the publication of Michelle Alexander’s "The New Jim Crow", renewed attention has recently been placed on both the causes and effects of the mass incarceration of African American males in the United States. In this paper I focus on one of the effects that has still not received sufficient attention: the dire consequences their imprisonment has on innocent African American women and children. I argue that the targeting of non-violent African American male offenders for incarceration not only punishes them, but also punishes the African American family and community. Indeed, it has destructive consequences for American society as a whole.

216 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

April 8, 2013 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Christopher Long, Ph.D.
"Digital Research"
217 Willard

10:00-11:30 a.m.

April 6, 2013 - Touch of Africa

April 6, 2013 - Touch of Africa.jpg

April 3, 2013 - Post-doctoral Fellow Public Lecture with Sabrina Strings, Ph.D.

Sabrina Strings
Sabrina Strings, ARC Post-doctoral Fellow for the Department of African-American Studies

"Homophobic and Homoerotic Hip Hop? Moving Beyond the Binary"

Commercial rap music has long been deemed homophobic. With the rise of new out-and-proud hip-hop artists like Deadlee (and hip-hop adjacent artists like Frank Ocean), media pundits have suggested we may be entering a new era of sexual freedom in the genre. But pundits who depict hip hop as an historically homophobic musical field that is now becoming more gay friendly miss the inherent homo-erotics of rap, particularly West Coast so-called "gangsta rap". In this paper, I present an analysis of the homo-erotics of mainstream West Coast rap. I argue that in a variety of cases, the "bros" are a phantom presence in a heterosexual artist's romantic conquests, being the implied audience and in some cases benefactor of the "heterosexual" encounter. The implication of this slippage between heterosexual and homosexual affairs in rap music is discussed.
216 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

April 1, 2013 - Post-doctoral Fellow Public Lecture with William Sturkey, Ph.D.

April 1, 2013 - Post-doctoral Fellow Public Lecture with William Sturkey, Ph.D..jpg

William Sturkey, ARC Post-doctoral Fellow for the Department of African-American Studies

"A Black Municipal Idol: The Iconic Mound Bayou in the Black Imagination and the Crux of a Movement"

From its 1887 origins, the town of Mound Bayou, Mississippi played a distinct role in the African American imagination, offering something that black enclaves in Chicago, and even Harlem never could: it was completely controlled and inhabited by African Americans. For nearly seven decades, Mound Bayou regularly captured the attention of black America, becoming a municipal icon for thousands of black citizens who viewed Mound Bayou as a promising example of the potential of the race. This lecture unfolds the history of Mound Bayou in black public life across three distinct stages, culminating with the town's crucial role in facilitating the most explosive lynching story in American history and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.

216 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

March 25, 2013 - Brown Bag with Lee Ann Banaszak, Ph.D.

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Lee Ann Banaszak, Professor, Departments of Political Science and Women's Studies

"Exploring the Intersection of Race and Gender Activism in the Federal Bureaucracy"

Recent work increasing explores the activism of African Americans or women inside government institutions, but little work examines the intersection of race and gender or its effects on externa l activism and policy. This paper examines that intersection, looking specifically at African American women activists who worked for the federal government. I begin by discussing how the structural aspects of working for the federal government influenced the position of African American women in the federal government. Using in-depth interviews, oral histories, and historical records, I then examine the ideology, activities and policy focus of a small sample of African American women activists, comparing them to a sample of white feminist activists.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

March 22, 2013 - Fellows' Mentoring Program with George Lipsitz, Ph.D.

March 22, 2013 - Fellows' Mentoring Program with George Lipsitz, Ph.D..jpg
George Lipsitz, Ph.D., Department of Black Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

"Color Bound Problems and Color Blind Pretensions: Researching Race in a 'Post-Racial' Society"

This seminar will examine how the practices and paradigms of scholarly disciplines function to privilege color blind solutions as privileged responses to color bound problems. Denial and disavowal of racial power in our society protects privilege and serves a variety of political purposes, but color blindness is a particularly important stance embedded with epistemological causes and consequences. Our goals will be to 1) Identify how the disciplines enable and inhibit understanding of race because of color blindness 2) Acquire an inventory of exemplary interdisciplinary works, methods, and theories 3) Stage creative conversations across disciplines 4) Identify how tropes like merit, market, and choice occlude racial power and 5) Demonstrate the migration of concepts across academic disciplines, journalism, philanthropy, public policy, and popular culture.

217 Willard
9:00-10:00 a.m.
Please RSVP to Dawn Noren at by 3/20/13.

Fellows' Workshop:
"Know the Work You Want Your Work to Do"
217 Willard
10:00-11:30 a.m.

March 18, 2013 - Fellows' Mentoring Program with Joycelyn K. Moody, Ph.D.

March 18, 2013 - Fellows' Mentoring Program with Joycelyn K. Moody, Ph.D..jpg
Joycelyn K. Moody, Sue E. Denman Distinguished Chair in American Literature; Director, African American Literatures and Cultures Institute, The University of Texas at San Antonio, and former editor of African American Review

"Some Nuts & Bolts for Submitting Scholarly Articles"

217 Willard

March 11-15, 2013 - A Week with the Legendary Sonia Sanchez

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Sonia Sanchez, poet/playwright/scholar/activist/author

Monday, March 11, 7-10PM - Evening rehearsal with international music ensemble & students preparation for Wednesday concert performance.

Tuesday, March 12, Noon-1PM - Discussion HUB auditorium on "We a Baddd People" noon - 1PM, Book signing 1-1:30PM

Tuesday, March 12, 1:30PM - Lunch venue to be arranged by Val King

Tuesday, March 12, 4:15-5:30PM, 60 Willard - Combining Donna King / Darryl Thomas, topic, BPM Black Power Movement

Tuesday, March 12, 6-7:15PM, 297B Hip Hop Music & Culture "Misogyny in hip hop, where have we gone"

Tuesday, March 12, 8-10PM, evening rehearsal

Wednesday, March 13, Campbell 11:15 - 12:05 104 Rackley topic BAM Black Arts Movement

Wednesday, March 13, Concert Heritage Hall, 7:30-10PM - rehearsals / sound checks / student groups will perform opening acts Sonia and international ensemble will take the stage at 8:30PM

Thursday, March 14 - Combining Hampton and McBride's classes 1 - 2:15PM topic spiritual dimension of the Black experience

Thursday, March 14, 6-8PM, Robeson Library - International musicians Rene Mclean & Rasul Siddik speak and demonstrate the music of the Black Arts Movement

Thursday, March 14, 6-7:15PM - Campus wide lecture Willard topic "The aesthetics of Blackness"

Friday, March 15, Noon-1PM - "A light hearted talk to young women" Webster's book store, story and book signing

Friday, March 15, 3-5:00PM, Grucci Poetry Room (in basement of Burrowes Hall) - Informal Q & A with grad students in African American Lit, and Poetry (this includes Creative Writing)

Friday, March 15, 7PM, 119 Osmond - Campus wide Lecture

Friday, March 15, 8:30PM - Closing week reception with dinner Nittany Lion Inn

(Co-sponsored by Institute for the Arts and Humanities, FOBA, Black Caucus, Africana Research Center, Department of English, UPAC, College of Arts and Architecture, School of Music, Paul Robeson Cultural Center, INART, Penn State Jazz Club)

Watch the lecture on YouTube:

March 13, 2013 - The Barbara Jordan Lecture with Michelle Alexander

March 13, 2013 - The Barbara Jordan Lecture with Michelle Alexander.jpg
Michelle Alexander, New York Times Best-Selling Author of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness"

"The New Jim Crow"

Michelle Alexander is breaking the silence about racial injustice in the American legal system. In her book, The New Jim Crow, she explores the cultural biases that still exist and how segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration. Currently, there are more African Americans in prison than were enslaved in 1850. She blames the drug war for many of these, as people are then labeled as felons and stuck in an endless cycle of discrimination. How can they improve their lives when they can't get a job, housing or health benefits? This acclaimed civil rights lawyer explores the myths surrounding our criminal justice system from a racial and ethical standpoint, and offers solutions for combating this epidemic.

Nittany Lion Inn, Board Room 1
6:00-7:30 p.m.
Book signing to follow
(Co-sponsored by the Department of African American Studies and Equal Opportunity Planning Committee.)

March 11, 2013 - Brown Bag with Vanessa Massaro

Vanessa Massaro
Vanessa Massaro, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Geography and Department of Women’s Studies

"‘It’s mostly just sitting around and waiting for the first of the month’: The Everyday Spaces and Practices of the Drug Economy in Philadelphia"

This talk explores the basic, everyday drug economics in Grays Ferry, a neighborhood in South Philadelphia. Drawing from ethnography and oral history accounts of community members, this paper looks at the enactment of an alternative economy that operates in the illegal realm. Told through these narratives, the drug economy is similar to many other informal economies in its everyday practices and its long history. However, national discourses render it not so everyday as does the intensive daily violences happening in connection with it. A feminist analysis of these narratives traces the interplay between making a living in an everyday way, on one hand, and, on the other, deeply disturbing a particular political and economic ordering of urban space. I explore the way the drug game creates a sense of consistency, stability and security in the community and argue the significance of the careful attention to its perpetuation. Drawing from the neighborhood history of Grays Ferry, this paper develops an understanding of the ways perpetuating ‘the game’ subverts economic oppression and subsequently requires a reexamination of what counts as resistance.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

February 27, 2013 - Panel Discussion: "New Developments in Anglophone and Francophone African Literature and Culture"


Thomas Hale, Chair, Professor Emeritus, Comparative Literature, French and Francophone Studies, Penn State University

Pius Adesanmi, Associate Professor of English, Carleton University

Elizabeth Foster, Assistant Professor of History, Tufts University

Kenneth Harrow, Professor of African Literature and Cinema, Michigan State University

Ato Quayson, Professor of English and Director of the Center for Diaspora & Transnational Studies, University of Toronto

Lorelle Semley, Assistant Professor of History, College of the Holy Cross

In this interdisciplinary panel on New Directions in Anglophone and Francophone African Literature and Culture, five eminent speakers chaired by Professor Emeritus Tom Hale will discuss the most compelling developments in the scholarship of Francophone-Anglophone African literature and culture and define innovative directions in the field. Please join us for this important and memorable event.

Foster Auditorium
2:00-5:00 p.m.
(Co-sponsored by Africana Research Center, African Studies Program, Comparative Literature Department, French and Francophone Studies Department, Institute for the Arts and Humanities,  School of Languages and Literatures, and the University Libraries.)

February 27, 2013 - Kenyon Farrow Public Lecture

February 27, 2013 - Kenyon Farrow Public Lecture.jpg 
Kenyon Farrowwriter/speaker/activist

"Who's Family? Black Communities and Gender in the Age of the Culture Wars"

Are Blacks more homophobic? The question is often asked by people interested in the homophobic expressions in hip-hop, Black christian institutions, or pondering why African-Americans are slow to accept same-sex marriage. This session will use music videos to explore the social, economic and political dynamics that shape and inform notions of gender and homophobia in the Black community, from Sylvester and Run DMC to TLC and Frank Ocean. This talk will be useful for us to think not only about the context of homophobia in the Black community, but also the ways in which HIV, the war on drugs and neo-conservatism have shaped culture and politics over the last 30 years.

Foster Auditorium
5:30-7:00 p.m.
(Co-sponsored by Department of African American Studies, Africana Research Center, LGBTA Student Resource Center, University Libraries, University Park Allocation Committee, and the Women's Studies Department.)

February 27, 2013 - Fellows' Professional Development Seminar

Grace Hampton, Ph.D.
"Diversity at Penn State"
217 Willard

10:00-11:30 a.m.

February 25, 2013 - Brown Bag with Hiram Smith

Hiram Smith 
Hiram Smith, Graduate Student, Linguistics in the Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese

"Project Palenquero: Validating the Language Spoken in a Maroon Settlement"

Creoles are languages that take their grammar and lexicon from two or more languages, often a colonial language and one of African origin. Until recently, many believed creole languages to be bastardized forms of European vernaculars. Recent linguistic research on creole languages has revealed that, despite having “mixed” grammars, internal language change takes place in these languages in the same manner as has been found for other languages of the world.

I am currently developing research in the Afro-Hispanic community of San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia. My doctoral dissertation examines two enigmatic grammatical forms (one nominal and one verbal) in the Spanish-based creole called Palenquero, in order to determine their origins.

This presentation contributes to the documentation of languages in the African diaspora, which have been socially stigmatized, and to demonstrating their systematicity in the structure of linguistic variation. It will also consider some of the more general issues in creole studies and studies on African American vernacular English.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

February 21-24, 2013 - National Model African Union Conference

Washington, D.C.
(Co-sponsored by UPAC and Africana Research Center.)

February 22, 2013 - Francoise Hamlin, Ph.D., Public Lecture

February 22, 2013 - Francoise Hamlin, Ph.D., Public Lecture.jpg

Francoise Hamlin, Hans Rothfels Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies at Brown University

"Crossroads at Clarksdale: A Study in African American Leadership"

This lecture considers two examples of gendered leadership in the mass black freedom struggle through the lens of the movement in Clarksdale, Mississippi. This comparison allows for broader definitions of leadership based on the creative ways in which embattled activists motivated others to continue the fight for justice in local communities. See her latest book cover: Crossroads at Clarksdale

160 Willard Building
4:00-5:30 p.m.
(Co-sponsored by Department of African American Studies, Africana Research Center and the Richards Civil War Era Center.)

February 13, 2013 - Brown Bag with Valerie R. Newsome

February 13, 2013 - Brown Bag with Valerie R. Newsome.JPG 
Valerie R. Newsome, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Biobehavioral Health

"Educated and At-Risk: How the Shortage of Available Male Partners Influences HIV Risk for Unmarried College-Educated African-American Women Ages 25-34"

HIV/AIDS is currently the leading cause of death for African-American women between the ages of 25 and 34. Though there is a dearth of literature on the psychosocial factors that contribute to higher incidence of HIV/AIDS in African-American women, most of the published research on the topic explores African-American women at low socioeconomic status. Very little information is available regarding the HIV risk factors unique to college-educated and economically stable African-American women. The aim of this study combining qualitative and quantitative methods is to explore the psychosocial and structural factors influencing HIV risk among economically stable African-American women of child-bearing age. Emerging themes include the effects of women's desire for romantic partnerships ultimately resulting in marriage and pregnancy in the context of a limited availability of suitable partners resulting from the gender-ratio imbalance in the African-American community. This distinct group of African-American women is of particular concern as they are largely absent from the discourse on HIV prevention, and are instrumental in the building and preservation of African-American communities, while HIV remains the leading cause of death for their age and racial group. Study results indicate that a more targeted prevention approach may be necessary to address this sub-group of women with respect to their unique behavioral and situational risks for HIV resulting from the socio-cultural demands linked with being at an age commonly associated with establishing marriage and family.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

February 11, 2013 - Brown Bag with Linda Caldwell, Ph.D.

Linda Caldwell 
Linda Caldwell, Professor of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management and
Human Development and Family Studies and Faculty Affiliate, Prevention Research Center

"Evaluating Two Youth Development Programs at the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre, Kenya: Findings and Challenges"

The CYEC provides services to former street-dwelling children and other highly vulnerable young people. Until last recently programming at the CYEC has focused primarily on vocational training, with little to no attention given to health and human development needs of the youth (due to lack of staff expertise). Over the past year and a half, the CYEC hired new staff and with the assistance of a number of people from Penn State, two new programs were developed and implemented at the CYEC that had a much needed youth development focus. One program, Aflatoun, focuses on children ages 6 – 12 years. The other, HealthWise, focuses on children over the age of 12 years. This presentation will briefly describe the challenges and accomplishments of implementing both programs, and focus mainly on the results from the Aflatoun program evaluation.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

February 4, 2013 - Emerging Scholar Speaker Series (ESSS)

Presenter #1 (9:00-9:45 a.m.)
Sasha Turner Bryson, Ph.D.
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom—History
"When Women Become Mothers, Who Works? Pregnancy, Labour and Slavery in Jamaica, 1788-1834"
Enslaved women’s work assignments shifted according to slaveholders’ needs to increase the slave population, particularly in the years after the 1807 prohibition of the transatlantic slave trade that cut off British Caribbean planters’ labour supply from Africa.  Females worked not only in accordance with their perceived strength, they also laboured according to their masters’ assessment of their fecundity.  Women within childbearing years, as well as those who were visibly pregnant, received exemption from field labour and customary punishment in varying degrees.  This paper argues that despite slaveholders’ interest in fertility and maternity, women’s vulnerabilities to punishment and arduous labour persisted because planters were as interested in their unborn workers health and welfare as they were interested in mothers fulfilling their labouring responsibilities.
Presenter #2 (9:50-10:35 a.m.)
Sybille Nyeck (Ph.D. expected)
University of California, Los Angeles—Political Science

“The Fiscal-Military Origin of Procurement Contract: A Reappraisal of the ‘Revolutionary’ Thesis”

No African country is party to the binding WTO General Procurement Agreement. Yet, many African countries have adopted procurement reform embedded in the existing bureaucracy. The intersection of old bureaucratic practices and new national goals to be attained through public procurement reform is interesting. The main purpose of this presentation is to show the ways in which an interdisciplinary approach to procurement studies can enrich our understanding of both opportunities and the risk that government contracting presents to developing countries. Using contractual data from the seventeenth until early twentieth century in Africa, I show that focusing on the legal underpinnings of procurement reform alone imperfectly responds to the needs of developing countries because historical and political contingencies still play important roles in determining which area of public policy is likely to get real attention.

Presenter #3 (10:40-11:25 a.m.)
AnneMarie Mingo (Ph.D. expected)
Emory University—Graduate Division of Religion: Ethics and Society

"A Lived Theology and Liberative Social Ethic of Black Churchwomen during the Civil Rights Movement"

While general knowledge exists around how men theorized the role of God in liberation, the contributions of women have often been obscured or marginalized. This research uncovers how Black women in the Civil Rights Movement harnessed the power of God to help liberate the nation from Jim and Jane Crow. Enlarging previous Civil Rights Movement, this presentation extends beyond lengthening the periodization to widening the field to include a broader range of women as significant contributors throughout the south and north, and deepening the understanding of religious motivations of women who were involved in the Movement. Drawing from oral histories conducted with “everyday” Black Churchwomen in Atlanta and Harlem, whose Movement involvement took place in various cities, this presentation identifies sources for the construction of a lived theology of justice and freedom and a liberative social ethic of the Civil Rights Movement. This theology and ethic highlights how the women’s understandings of God undergirded their socio-political actions, thus providing a model for contemporary engagement in the on-going fight for justice and freedom.

Presenter #4 (11:30-12:15 p.m.)
Shaundra Myers, Ph.D.
University of Maryland—English Language and Literature

"“Worlds beyond Brown”: Integrating Bodies of Black Women’s Transnational Literature"

This presentation considers black women’s transnational literature of the late 1970s and early 1980s through readings of travel-inspired narratives by Toni Cade Bambara and Andrea Lee. “The Sea Birds Are Still Alive” (1977) is a short story based on Bambara’s travel to North Vietnam in 1975, and Russian Journal (1981) is a chronicle of the 10 months Lee spent in the Soviet Union in 1978. In this talk, Shaundra Myers argues that the apparently troubling absences of black women’s bodies in these works represent productive strategies of elision and patchwork that allow Bambara and Lee to alter, undermine, and redefine the meaning and practice of integration. In illuminating black women writers’ narrative efforts to contest the often unperceivable restrictions of integration, this research encourages a consideration of the gendered dimensions of mid-twentieth century black transnational literature and a rethinking of the African American literary tradition’s relation to the U.S. project of integration.

Nittany Lion Inn, Alumni Room
9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

January 30, 2013 - Brown Bag with Jerome Agelu

Jerome Agelu, Graduate Student, Adult Education

"Informal Learning in ‘Jua Kali’ Workforce in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania"

This report is based on a preliminary research conducted in East Africa and funded by ARC in summer, 2012. The study was an exploratory research to examine learning in informal economy workers, known as (Jua Kali) 1 in East Africa. A Jua Kali workforce study was timely because few studies have been conducted in these countries where this group is grossly misunderstood as a “failed society” and discriminated by municipal authorities who do not value the groups’ contribution to the national economy even though they provide an array of services to rural and urban populations. However, a survey was conducted only in two countries, namely, Kenya and Uganda, to determine the feasibility of a dissertation study. A number overarching issues came to light: most of the candidates for this sector are drop outs of school between Primary 7 and Senior 4, but without any skills for real life needs; so that a majority of these youths in their critical age of transition to adulthood roles and skills attainment, remained trapped in poverty and therefore, vulnerable to disease, HIV/AIDS and exploitation, among others.

To respond to this problematic situation, the researcher has determined a study titled “A Case Study of employment options among dropout of school youths and subsequent urban informal sector recruitment in Kenya and Uganda.” The research is critical to policy makers and educators, amidst a search for solutions for social transformation among youth. This planned study, to be conducted in the academic year 2013/2014, meets the requirements for the award of a Doctorate degree in Adult Education at The Pennsylvania State University.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

January 28, 2013 - Emerging Scholar Speaker Series (ESSS)

Presenter #1 (9:00-9:45 a.m.)
A.B. Wilkinson (Ph.D. expected)
University of California, Berkeley—United States History

“Blurring the Lines of Race and Freedom: Mulattoes in English Colonial North America and the Early United States Republic”

This presentation investigates people of mixed African, European, and sometimes Native American ancestry, commonly referred to as mulattoes, in English colonial North America and the early United States republic.  This talk is based on recent research that deconstructs early African American stratification associated with mixed-heritage peoples by examining various types of privilege connected to upward social mobility, with a special focus on access to freedom from slavery and servitude.  Additionally, this work provides a framework for understanding U.S. mixed-race ideologies by examining how people of mixed descent and their families were viewed by broader societies in the colonies and states of the southeast Atlantic Coast.  This study contributes to historical and contemporary discussions surrounding people of mixed heritage, ideas of racial mixture, and African American identity.

Presenter #2 (9:50-10:35 a.m.)
Bradley Proctor (Ph.D. expected)
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill—American History

“The “K.K. Alphabet”: The Rise and Organization of the Ku Klux Klan in North and South Carolina During Reconstruction”

After the American Civil War, as African American men earned the right to vote and began exercising their rights of citizenship, white conservatives in the South who were opposed to political racial equality embarked on a shocking campaign of violence aimed at silencing black activism. The Ku Klux Klan emerged as perhaps the primary organization of racial violence. Yet contemporary observers and later historians alike have disagreed about the extent to which the Reconstruction-era Klan was organized and coordinated. Many, including most historians, have contended that it arose organically in different locations throughout the South and that Klan groups had nearly as many differences between them as similarities. This presentation uses the example of a coded letter to explore how the actual means by which Klan “dens” arose and operated illustrates that there was a more organized counterinsurgency against the biracial political alliances of Reconstruction than scholars have previously suspected. A detailed exploration of the Ku Klux Klan shows that white southern conservative opposition to Reconstruction, rather than being unthinking and haphazard, was calculated and frequently coordinated. The violence its members committed helped to undermine the political promise of Reconstruction and worked to establish a new racial hierarchy despite emancipation.

Presenter #3 (10:40-11:25 a.m.)
Matthew Amato (Ph.D. expected)
University of Southern California—History

“Capturing a Movement: American Abolitionists and Interracial Photography”

During the mid-nineteenth century, the rise of photography gave the antislavery movement a powerful new way to mobilize opposition to slavery.  Radical abolitionists took the lead in harnessing photography as a political tool.  Naturally they trumpeted the evils of slavery by circulating images of abused slaves.  But they also devoted considerable energy to producing images of themselves, pictures that reveal a previously unrecognized interracial photographic culture.  Abolitionists used the camera to document their convivial gatherings, to tie their movement together across large distances, and to memorialize acts of emancipation that took place under their aegis.  In and through photographs, abolitionists built social relations as they re-shaped their political imaginations.

Presenter #4 (11:30-12:15 p.m.)
Jaime Alves, Ph.D.
University of Texas at Austin—Anthropology
"Macabre Spatialities: The Politics of Race, Gender and Violence in a Neoliberal City"

This paper addresses the limits and possibilities of black urban life within the context of the neoliberal state responses to violence and crime. Based on an eighteen-month period of fieldwork in Jardim Angela, one of the most violent neighborhoods in São Paulo/Brazil, it examines the neoliberal strategies of governing the black urban poor: while the ‘shoot to kill’ approach continues as a historical practice, the state also invests in community security councils, neighborhood surveillance programs, community policing and human rights training for youth as strategies to control the city’s “troubled geographies.” Yet, my study questions: what are the limits and possibilities of a grammar of human rights in dealing with (racialized) bodies and geographies seen as ungovernable and that can only be ruled through punishment and death? In the context of urban violence in Brazil, I argue that police killing practices and their attending technologies of social management become normalizing processes through which racial identity acquires consistency in and through death.

Nittany Lion Inn, Penn State Room
9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

January 16, 2013 - Brown Bag with Keiwana Jones

January 16, 2013 - Brown Bag with Keiwana Jones.jpg 

Keiwana Jones, Assistant Director, Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life

"Black Greek-Lettered Organizations (BGLOs): A Legacy of African American Adult Education"

The education of African American adults evolved in response to the changing social, economic, and political needs of the Black community. To address these needs, Black Greek-Letter Organizations (BGLOs) created and implemented initiatives at the local, national, and international levels using education as a catalyst to change aspects of African Americans’ social conditions in the United States. Though many individuals and civic organizations influenced and contributed to the education of African American adults, the initiatives of BGLOs were left in the shadows. Although the historical and cultural aspects of BGLOs have been well documented, research has neglected to examine this role from a graduate or alumni perspective.

This qualitative case study sought to examine the role of five BGLO graduate chapters as providers of adult education, and to examine whether and how their initiatives embody the Black self-help tradition. Data were collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews and analyzed using ethnographic methods of data analysis, reflection, and writing. The findings demonstrate that BGLO graduate chapters sponsor and/or participate in educational programming that: (1) builds healthy communities; (2) develops communities economically; (3) advocates on behalf of the race; and (4) uplifts the community through service. This study also elucidated how the adult education initiatives embodied the self-help tradition.

217 Willard
Noon-1:00 p.m.

January 15, 2013 - The 38th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Banquet

The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, President's Hall
Doors opened at 5:45 p.m.,Banquet began at 6:30 p.m.