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Department of Pan-African Studies to Hold Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference

Posted Apr. 7, 2014

Kent State University’s Department of Pan-African Studies will host the Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference on April 10 and 11 at Ritchie Hall on the Kent Campus.

This second biannual conference is themed “Revisiting Black History, Identities, Sexualities and Popular Culture,” and aims to explore new ways of studying the complex experiences of Africana people worldwide.

The conference kicks off April 10 with a Department of Pan-African Studies open house at noon followed by a reception starting at 5 p.m. in the Uumbaji Gallery Foyer of Ritchie Hall. Student performances Under the Boabab: A Festival of Pan-African Arts will follow the reception from 7 – 8:30 p.m. The keynote address and nine open sessions will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 11.

The keynote speaker, Horace Campbell, professor of African American Studies and political science at Syracuse University and noted Pan-African scholar and writer, will speak from 12:15-1:45 p.m. on April 11, during a lunch session in Ritchie Hall, Room 215.  From his early years in Jamaica, Campbell has been involved in the liberation struggle and in the struggles for peace and justice.  From his years in United Kingdom and the Caribbean, he has been an influential force, offering alternatives to the hegemonic ideas of Eurocentrism.  In an attempt to theorize new concepts of revolution in the 21st century, Campbell has been seeking to popularize the philosophy of Ubuntu and to expand on his ideas of fractals and the importance of emancipatory politics. His new book, Barack Obama and 21st Century Politics: A Revolutionary Moment in the USA, is about the centrality of the humanist philosophy of Ubuntu to emancipatory politics and the reconceptualization of revolution in the 21st century.

Session topics on April 11 include:

  • Traditions and Aesthetics of Pan-African Music
  • The Process of Acceptance: Being a White Instructor in Pan-African Studies Department
  • Passing, Black Bodies and Race in Literature and Culture
  • Cosmology and Identities in Transatlantic and Islamic Traditions
  • Education, Historical Relationships and Multinational Corporations in Africa 
  • Women and Power Across Borders
  • Media, Identity and Knowledge Preservation in Pan-African Cultures
  • Language, Race and Endurance in Transnational Literature and Culture
  • (De)Constructing, Femininity and Blackbodies

“The hope is that participants will come away with a renewed, supported and better understanding of the challenges that people of the African Diaspora are facing,” says Cinnamon Small, outreach coordinator for the Department of Pan-African Studies. “We want them to have the space to learn how to address the issues surrounding cultural competency and challenge hegemonic ideas.”

Conference registration is $50 and includes a reception, continental breakfast and lunch. For more information on the conference and to register, visit www.kent.edu/cas/pas/conference/index.cfm.