Professors better understand need in discipline

Alexia Harris

One way professors stay connected with new developments in their concentration is by attending conferences.

Three professors from the department of Pan-African studies attended the National Council for Black Studies Conference last month in San Diego.

Professors Fran Dorsey, Amoaba Gooden and Babacar M’Baye went to the conference to stay in touch with some of the current theories, methods and practices of black studies, M’Baye said.

“I also wanted to develop relationships with colleagues with similar interests from around the world,” he added.

Gooden said NCBS is the only organization that attempts to bring together black studies professors in a place where they can openly dialogue.

According to the organization’s Web site, NCBS thrives on the idea that education should stimulate both academic excellence and social responsibility.

“I learned that ideology must be connected with real-life issues, such as the problems confronting black people, the colonized, the poor, and the underprivileged around the world,” M’Baye said. “I also learned the field of black studies has developed greatly in its theories and methods, especially in its interpretation of the relationship between Africa and the Black Diaspora.”

M’Baye describes the Black Diaspora as the formation of black communities and cultures outside of Africa since about the eighth century.

“While the beginning of African migrations into the world can be dated much earlier, scholars often refer to the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade as a pivotal moment of the history,” he said.

Gooden presented a shortened version of her doctorate dissertation, African Caribbean Immigration to Canada and Institutional Building.

“The paper looks at the reasons for migration and survival imperatives once in Canada, which differs between men and women and the time frame discussed,” she said.

Gooden said her attendance helped her realize the importance of integrating digital technology in the discipline as a teaching tool.

“Students are digitally capable to use blogs and webstreams, so we need to let them use that capability when it comes to learning,” she said.

The conference solidified that the discipline of black studies has to expand its perimeters to include the experience of new immigrants, Gooden said.

“Using some of the social, economic, cultural and political perspectives from the conference will allow me to help my students better understand the diversity in the literature and history of Africa and the Black Diaspora,” he said. “I will integrate these opinions in my lectures, assignments, and academic research.”

M’Baye said he plans to help students understand the perspectives by reading and interpreting some of the texts of black studies that were discussed at the conference.

“Furthermore, I will assist students in finding ways to make our learning be more useful for personal growth and social development,” he said.

Contact ethnic affairs reporter Alexia Harris at [email protected].