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2015-16 AADS Events

Student Presentations

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
3:30 pm, Meeter Center Lecture Hall

History Honors Senior Thesis:

Anna Lindner, "A Clash of Perspective: Slave Women in 19th-Century Colonial Cuba." As slavery in other Caribbean societies declined at the beginning of the nineteenth century, large numbers of African slaves were transported to the Spanish colony of Cuba. On primarily sugar plantations, African and Spanish cultures collided, creating a new identity: Afro-Cuban. This project utilizes a gendered lens to analyze trends in slave women's lives, particularly their roles in resisting slavery. Primary sources include the first Cuban historian's account of slavery, Cuban newspapers, white British and American travel accounts, and slave autobiographies. Thesis advisor: Eric Washington.

African & African Diaspora Studies Presentation:

Jordan Petersen, "Africa, World Music and the West." Is rhythm the only characteristic of African music? Is there even such as thing as "African music"? And what does "World Music" mean? In Western popular music these are three important factors at the heart of how the music industry interacts with other musical traditions. Beginning in the 1960s and continuing to the present day, Western pop culture has been fascinated with non-Western music. By looking at three music traditions from different regions of the African continent, this project aims to dispel the myth of a universal "African music," while also exploring the cultural ethics of Western music's interactions with non-Western music. Paper advisor: Eric Washington.


"Towards an Inner History of African-American Lives:
A Perspective from the 1960s"

Randal Jelks (University of Kansas)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016
3:30 pm, Meeter Center Lecture Hall

This discussion begins with the theologian and mystic Howard Thurman’s 1945 publication of The Negro Spiritual Speaks of Life and Death, a substantial body of writings by African Americans on faith and alienation from religious faith. This inner history, a term borrowed from the religious studies scholar Robert Orsi to describe the lived religious experience of Italian immigrants in the first half of the twentieth century in Harlem, New York, is to be found in the published works of African-American entertainers, athletes, and activists who have successfully published memoirs in post-WWII American life. In describing how these performers described their inner lives, this lecture argues that Americans can learns something important about the shaping of the individual self and what it means to live collectively in democratic societies.

Randal Jelks is professor of African and African-American Studies and professor of American Studies at the University of Kansas. He is also an ordained clergy person in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Before joining the faculty of the University of Kansas, Dr. Jelks taught at Calvin College. His research and writing interests are in the areas of African American religious history, the African Diaspora, urban, and Civil Rights history. His award-winning books include African Americans in the Furniture City: the Civil Rights Struggle in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Schoolmaster of the Movement, a biography of Martin Luther King Jr's mentor Benjamin Elijah Mays.

Co-sponsored with the History Department.


"Border of Lights: Remembering the 1937 Haitian Massacre"

Edward Paulino (John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
3:30 pm, Alumni Board Room (Commons Annex)

 In 1937, the Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo, ordered the slaughter of as many as 20,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent in an ethnic cleansing on the Dominican-Haitian border. Border of Lights invites artists, activists, teachers, students, parents, and clergy to gather together to honor a tragedy long forgotten in the annals of 20th century genocidal history and unknown to many people.

Edward Paulino will discuss the 1937 massacre and the efforts by Border of Lights to commemorate, collaborate, and continue the legacy of hope and justice. Paulino is a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. His research interests include race; genocide; borders; nation-building; Latin America and the Caribbean; the African Diaspora; and New York State history.

This event is co-sponsored by AADS, French, History, Spanish, and ISDC in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.


"Crossing B(l)ack: Mixed-Race Identity in Modern American Fiction and Culture"
Sika A. Dagbovie-Mullins (Florida Atlantic University)

Thursday, October 22, 2015
3:30 pm, Commons Annex Lecture Hall

The past two decades have seen a growing influx of biracial discourse in fiction, memoir, and theory, and since the 2008 election of Barack Obama to the presidency, debates over whether America has entered a "post-racial" phase have set the media abuzz. In her recent book Crossing B(l)ack: Mixed-Race Identity in Modern American Fiction and Culture, Sika Dagbovie-Mullins adds a new dimension to this dialogue as she investigates the ways in which various mixed-race writers and public figures have redefined both "blackness" and "whiteness" by invoking multiple racial identities.

Sika Dagbovie-Mullins will discuss her book and speak about mixed race racial identity in American fiction and culture. Dagbovie-Mullins is associate professor of English at Florida Atlantic University.

This event is co-sponsored by AADS, English, Gender Studies, and Sociology.


Past Events:

African & African Diaspora Studies Student Presentations

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Join us for two presentations by students presenting their research:

India Daniels, "The Evolution of Liberian Identity"
This talk explores the 19th-century origins of Liberia as a colony for freed African-American slaves. If the blacks were God’s people enslaved in a foreign land, many whites (and significantly few blacks) saw colonization as their mode of exodus and Liberia as their land of milk and honey. India Daniels will discuss why this venture was supported or opposed by abolitionists, slaveholders, slaves, and freedmen and the early struggles of life in the “Promised Land.”

Josephine Tucker, "The History of Female Genital Mutilation" ("L'Histoire Mutilation de Génitale Femmes")
Female genital mutilation (FGM) originated in Africa. It was, and remains, a cultural rather than religious practice. Also known as female circumcision, FGM is performed on young women before they reach puberty. Josephine Tucker will talk about the three types of FGM practiced in Africa and beyond, and she will go on to discuss the consequences of FGM and laws passed by many countries to ban the practice.

Refreshments will be provided. Co-sponsored with the History Department.


African & African Diaspora Studies Student Presentation

Shannon DeJong, "The Haitian Diaspora: Harnessing Homeland Relationships for Community-Based Development"

Friday, May 9, 2014

Haiti’s substantial diaspora population remains closely connected to the homeland and contributes significantly to the wellbeing of Haitians, particularly through the sending of remittances.  However, diaspora-homeland relationships could be further strengthened and harnessed to lead to more productive, sustainable development in Haiti.  By acknowledging their role in the traditional framework of lakou, a relational space where work is shared, and constructively engaging with the Haitian government and society, the Haitian diaspora would inspire accountability and more effectively empower Haitians to become agents of their own transformation, thus contributing to lasting positive change in Haiti.


Africa Week: October 29 - November 3, 2012

All Week

Photography Exhibit: "A Traveler's Eye in East Africa"
An exhibit of photographs by Professor David Hoekema (Philosophy Department), including landscape and animal life, as well as village and city scenes, from six countries in East Africa. Some examples of David's work can be seen in the banner, above.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Concert: Tinariwen
Traditional West African music meets the blues: hear 2012 World Music Grammy winner and the favorite band of Bono and the Edge. Find out more about the music here. Tickets at Calvin Box Office; $15 for the public or $5 with Calvin ID.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kickoff Session: "Why Is It Important To Learn More About Africa?"
The African Student Association will show a 30 minute video entitled "Africa Straight Up," followed by a Q&A session with a panel of African students. PLEASE NOTE: This session will begin at 3 pm, not 3:30 as listed on the Africa Week posters.

Guest Lecture: Tamba M'Bayo, "History, Memory, Pan-Africanism and National Identity"
Professor Tamba M'Bayo is a professor of history at Hope College.

Guest Lecture: Bill Massaquoi, "Empowering Future Leaders in Liberia"
Bill Massaquoi is founder and director of Rebuild Africa, a non-governmental organization that focuses on education, vocational training, and mentoring. ***CANCELLED DUE TO HURRICANE SANDY PREVENTING TRAVEL***

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chapel: Prayer Service for Africa Week
Led by African and North American Students.

Faculty Panel: "Reports from Today's Africa"
Featuring Professors Jo Kuyvenhoven, Johnathan Bascom, Richard Nenge, and Yirgalem Habtemariam. Moderated by David Hoekema.

Panel: "Displaced Lives: A Conversation with Refugees from African Conflicts"
Reverend Bernard Ayoola and Pastor Rex Brewer from Kentwood Community Church will be accompanied by several guests who are immigrants and refugees now living in West Michigan. These include Michael Uredi from the Blue Waters Refugee Camp in South Africa and Nickson, originally from the Congo, now a leader in a refugee camp in Mozambique. Moderated by Stephanie Sandberg.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Film: Yesterday, with discussion led by David Hoekema and Richard Nenge
3:30-5 pm, Commons Lecture Hall

A film exploring the realities of poverty and disease in rural South Africa, with unusual insight and compassion. The film will be followed by a brief discussion led by Professor David Hoekema and Visiting Scholar Richard Nenge. Note: Not suitable for young children due to graphic depiction of illness.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Alumni Panel: "Learning About Development Work in Africa"
Featuring Calvin alumni Dana Doll, Derek Hoogland, Emily Daher, and Paul Kortenhoven. Moderated by Tracy Kuperus.

Film: Cemetery Stories: A Rebel Missionary in South Africa, introduced by filmmaker Cherif Keita
Filmmaker Cherif Keita is a Professor of French at Carleton College, Northfield, MN. He is the creator of several documentary films on early mission work in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lunchtime Discussion: "Table de conversation sur la littérature et le cinema de l'Afrique francophone avec Prof. Cherif Keita"
A discussion about the literature and film of Francophone Africa with filmmaker and Professor of French Cherif Keita. Note: those who do not speak French are also welcome to this bilingual lunchtime meeting.

Guest Speaker: Richard Asante, "Ghana's Democratic Renaissance: Consolidated or At Risk?"
Professor Richard Asante is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, and former coordinator of Calvin's Semester in Ghana. He is currently a guest scholar at Northwestern University.

Africa Network meeting begins
Registration and dinner. Calvin faculty and staff may register for the conference at half price. Additional information about Africa Network and conference registration can be found here.

Opening Keynote: Angel David Nieves, "Liberation Histories and 'Difficult Heritage': Digital Diasporas Along The Virtual Freedom Trail Project (VFTP)"
Dr. Angel Nieves is Associate Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at Hamilton College. He is also Co-Director of Digital Humanities Initiative (DHI), Hamilton College, a part of which is the Virtual Freedom Trail Project. All are welcome to attend this keynote address, even if not registered for the conference.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Africa Network meetings
For additional information about the conference, visit Dinner will follow at Speak EZ (600 Monroe NE).

Concert: Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang, with the Thrive Refugee Children's Choir
With opening performance by the Thrive Refugee Children's Choir. Find out more about Janka Nabay here. Tickets at Calvin Box Office; $10 for the public or $1 with Calvin ID.

Africa Week at Calvin College is sponsored by the African & African Diaspora Studies program and the Office for Multicultural Affairs, in conjunction with Africa Network, with contributions from the departments of Communication Arts & Sciences, French, History, International Development Studies, Philosophy, and Political Science.