James Madison University Africana Studies 4th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference (JMU Africana 2010)

Venue: James Madison University

Location: Harrisonburg, Virginia, United States

Event Date/Time: Oct 18, 2012 End Date/Time: Oct 19, 2012
Abstract Submission Date: Jul 15, 2012
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James Madison University Africana Studies
4th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference


James Madison University, October 18th – 19th, 2012.

Keynote Speaker: Michael A. Gomez, PhD, New York University.
The James Madison University Africana Studies invites your attendance and scholarly contribution to our annual conference, focused on the collective experiences and representations of the African throughout the varied parts of the Diaspora. The theme speaks to both our rationale for engaging this critical topic as well as to the type of diverse experiences we would like to facilitate for students, contributors, and attendees alike.
We speak of “dispersing seeds.” The centrality of Africa in global affairs and human concerns is at least partly a result of both forced and voluntary migrations of African people and cultures throughout the world. Like the notion of a divine truth that is cast about in search of fertile soil, these have found their way to the farthest reaches of the human experience. These are the seeds of a common mother who places her impeccable imprint on each of her children, marking them and giving them a unique identity and character all her own in the process wherever they may roam.
We speak of “growing cultures.” When these seeds are planted, they do remain inert, but begin to take shape and give rise to cultural forms, institutions, and expressions that are on the one hand, inextricably connected to the historical commonalities of the seeds themselves but yet complexly and syncretisticly interwoven with the particular historical, social, political, economic, and philosophical contexts of the gardens in which they grow. At times these forms appear as mutually exclusive and perhaps totally autonomous moments in the African experience, yet we believe that behind the surface they bespeak an agrarian heritage that calls all back to the core of civilization and humanity that is the continent and that is its collective memory.
We propose, therefore, a multidimensional and multifaceted inquiry into this question of the Diaspora. This concept lends itself to studies of the African Diaspora as it manifests in all parts of the world. These discussions could include, but not be limited to, those particular cultural forms established as a result of ancient trade routes, of the enslavement experiences and their global dispersal of African people, as well as more contemporary African cultural forms in the Diaspora that continue to grow and change in modern societies. With this idea of "greening" we have as well an opportunity to talk about the valuing of the environment and of the conservation of these material elements of culture that could very be lost because of neglect.
We call, therefore, for your papers, panels*, artistic renderings, posters and other presentations on these themes as you might define them. We expect and welcome submissions that are cross-disciplinary, multidisciplinary, collective, artistic, and engaging. We will pursue a broad representation from across the Diaspora from West to East as well as, where possible, those submissions which help us to understand the various elements that link these cultures as seeds to the motherland.
Prospective speakers are invited to submit a 200-word proposal along with a cover note indicating the title, author’s name, affiliation, telephone number and e-mail address to the organizers at africanastudies@jmu.edu by 15th July 2012.
*We welcome panel proposals for up to three presenters. A proposal should be provided for each presentation on the panel.


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