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May 24, 2008

conference: The Poetics and Politics of Blackness

France Noire &mdash Black France: The Poetics and Politics of Blackness
June 6-7, 2008 &mdash Paris, France

Colloquium Mission
The last few years have seen an extraordinary flowering of Black consciousness in France. Individuals and collectives have organized around questions pertaining to the memory of slavery, "race" and anti-Black racism, the Black condition, and what it generally means to be Black in contemporary French society. At the same time, there has been a new wave of scholarship on Blacks in Europe and a (re)theorizing of "blackness" in the African diaspora relative to European society and history. Paris, in particular, has always been a center of Black life worldwide, from the Negritude movement of the past to the myriad formations of Black empowerment specific to this moment. On June 6 and 7, 2008, a gathering of leading international scholars will meet in Paris to examine "Black France," that is, the Black presence and condition in French society. Madame Christiane Taubira, the esteemed member of the French Parliament whose very name is now synonymous with legislation that recognizes slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity &mdash The Taubira Law &mdash will deliver the keynote address as the prelude to an exciting and stimulating series of discussions. All who are interested in the African diaspora and French society are encouraged to attend what will be an historic event.

May 20, 2008

documentary screening/discussion: health care in Somalia

On May 23, 2008 the documentary The Forgotten Struggle will be screened and discussed from 3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. at the Old Main Building Auditorium #600, College of Saint Catherine-Minneapolis, 601 25th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55454. This event is free & open to the public. The film chronicles the struggle to bring health care to the people of Somalia. A trailer for the documentary can be found on YouTube.

May 12, 2008

May 15 film screening: "Bunny Chow"

Film screening: Bunny Chow
Thursday, May 15, 7:30 PM
Repeat screening Saturday, May 17, 7:00 PM

In director John Barke's debut feature, up-and-coming comedians Kags, Joey, and Dave make it clear that life in the "new" Johannesburg is not just about hardship and townships. It's also about hanging out with friends and celebrating life on a raucous road trip to Oppi Kopp -- South Africa's largest music festival. Shot in a cinema verite style and using the street food "bunny chow" as a metaphor for contemporary Johannesburg's mix of races, cultures, and attitudes, Barker's edgy urban comedy asks us to envision a nation through the eyes of its future rather than the tragedy of its past. (Film info: 2006, South Africa, in Afrikaans, Tsotsi Taal, and English with English subtitles, 95 minutes.)

Tickets to the Walker Art Center's free screening on Thursday, May 15 are available at the Walker Art Center's Bazinet Garden Lobby desk. Tickets for the Saturday, May 17 screening are $8 ($6 for Walker members).

May 7, 2008

Call for Papers: "The Obama Effect"

Call for Papers:
"The Obama Effect"
October 23-25, 2008
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Since he stepped into the national political spotlight at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has challenged conventional wisdom about race, politics, media, and generation. In this historic election year, it is imperative for scholars and professionals in a wide variety of disciplines to reflect upon the potential effects of Mr. Obama on: American and global public opinion; party politics; voter participation; media representations; international relations; religious discourses; and constructions of racial, sexual, and gender identities.

This conference invites papers from scholars and professionals working from different perspectives on the phenomenon of Senator Obama's political career. Our goal is to create a conference that will showcase various and interdisciplinary approaches to the "Obama Effect" to provide participants with a multi-faceted view of the past year's campaign and its potential effects on a wide range of social arenas.

Submissions from fields such as: history, media studies, journalism, communication studies, political science, philosophy, social justice, African American Studies, ethnic studies, American Studies, sociology, law are welcome. Essays from professional journalists, political consultants, community organizers, and others are also desired.

In a time of rhetorical flourishes and cantankerous punditry, we must also be cautious and circumspect in our analyses of the effects and repercussions of the 2008 campaign. We are also obliged to look back, and scrutinize recent as well as distant histories of politics, race, ethnicity, and culture, to contextualize this moment. At the same time, we should ponder what changes we might expect, and what changes may be too farfetched, in the midst of heady talk auguring Mr. Obama as an agent of radical social transformation.

Submissions should be completed papers (20-25 pages) or extended abstracts (3-5 pages) for works in progress. Works in progress submissions should provide evidence that the paper will be completed by the date of the conference. Papers that are selected for the conference will also be included in a proposal for an edited volume.

Papers should be postmarked no later than June 6th. Applicants should send three (3) paper copies of their paper or extended abstract to:

Dr. Catherine Squires
Cowles Chair for Journalism, Diversity & Equality
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Murphy Hall 111
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0418

Participants will be notified of paper's status no later than July 30th.

May 5, 2008

May 7 "coffee hour" presentation

On Wednesday, May 7, Trica Keaton will present "The Social Significance of Race in France: The Case of the 2005 Uprisings in Life and Art" from 2:00-3:30 in the Geneva H. Southall Library (Social Sciences Tower 815). [Presentation Abstract]

While much has been written about the 2005 "riots" in France, precious few accounts have incorporated the perspective of those most directly affected by these events, that is, the surviving members of Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna families, the boys from Clichy-sous-Bois whose deaths ignited uprisings across the country and beyond. In this presentation, Professor Keaton seeks to document this critical perspective not only to draw attention to the lived implications of these events, but also to demonstrate how the tradition of revolt in French society transforms into racialized “rioting� when emanating from those equally racialized as "les jeunes de banlieue," young people –- often of color –- who inhabit poverty-stricken suburbs or "outer-city" space. Additionally, Keaton aims is to humanize these happenings from the perspective of the subaltern who can indeed speak and name their oppression. The deaths of Bouna and Zyed were a watershed in the politics of "colorblindness" in French society, politics coupled with a complicated "race" consciousness that conjugates with class in the "other France."

May 1, 2008

Swahili Open Day

The 2nd Annual Swahili Open Day will be this Saturday, May 3rd, from 12:00 until 4:00 in the Humphrey Atrium. Stop by to experience the festivities, visit the informational booths, and enjoy delicious East African Food.