Department of Pan-African Studies hosts Global Atlantic World Conference

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Global Atlantic Conference World Conference

Jason Meek

Students are invited to learn about the Pan-African experience through art and culture at the Department of Pan-African Studies’ second bi-annual Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference.

The conference is an international meeting of scholars and graduate students to discuss the experience of both Africa and the African diaspora, a term which refers to people of African descent all over the world.

The event is free for Kent State faculty and students. It begins on Thursday, April 10 and continues through April 11.

Kent State’s Department of Pan-African Studies combines culture with academics, and covers a diverse range of subjects that will be represented at the conference. Attendees can not only attend academic discussions, but also see performances and artwork.

“What we wanted was to tie in all the units that we have into the conference,” said Amoaba Gooden, the chairperson of Pan-African Studies. “This is a chance for people to learn about the African experience using different modalities.”

The theme of the conference this year is “Revisiting Black History, Identities, Sexualities and Popular Culture.”

“The intent of the conference is to look at the connections between blacks of Africa and the black diaspora in the context of literature, history, gender and popular culture studies,” said Dr. Babacar M’Baye, an associate professor in the Pan-African and English departments.

Dr. M’Baye is interested in using culture to discuss the Pan-African experience and will be hosting a panel about Pan-African music, such as reggae. 

M’Baye said that there is sometimes a lack of discussion among the diverse areas of study involved in the Pan-African experience, and the conference is a chance to “stay in tune with those discourses and enrich our teaching.”

Dr. Horace Campbell, professor of political science at Syracuse University, will present a speech at 12:15 on April 11 in Oscar Ritchie Hall 215.

The speech, entitled “Cultures of Peace vs. Cultures of War in World Politics,” will be a discussion of the United States’ relations with other nations. 

The theme of war and peace also relates to the current exhibition in the Uumbaji Gallery, curated by Moema Furtado.

“I’m fascinated by drones in particular,” said Furtado. The exhibition, titled “One Less Look,” uses imagery of drones in both serious and lighthearted ways to reflect the way they are used not only for war but also for other purposes, such as for Amazon deliveries.

While drone technology is not often thought of as a specifically African issue, the exhibit reflects how the world is affected by global phenomena.

“If it’s a human issue, it’s a concern for the Pan-African world,” said Gooden.

More information about the two-day conference, including a full schedule of events, can be found at http://www.kent.edu/CAS/PAS/conference/index.cfm.

Contact Jason Meek at [email protected].