Center for African & African Diaspora Studies

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2011 – 2012 THEME
Complex Identities in the African and African Diaspora World

 The theme focuses on the evolving complex identities of Africans and the African diaspora, encompassing the diverse population of people of African descent resident both in and outside of the African continent. The African diaspora in this case, include recent African immigrants and the historical diaspora in the Americas, Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania. The common denominator is the shared African ancestry. Beyond the common ancestry, the different historical, geographical, political, economic and cultural contexts in which Africans found themselves over the last four hundred years continue to influence the emergence of an evolving set of complex identities among Africans, on the continent and in the diaspora. The influence is by no means unidirectional. The planned speaker series, films, brown bag discussions, book club, symposia, conference and festival will explore the various avenues through which these complex identities are expressed. While exploring the rich diversity within the African diaspora, we will also highlight the commonalities and unifying influences that cut across time and space. The subjects examined will explore contemporary issues of economic and social justice, race and gender equality, sexuality, cultural and economic globalization, Africa and African Diaspora relations, etc.


All Times Are 3:30pm – 4:45pm, in Social Science Building 3031, unless otherwise stated.

1. September 15, 2011 – Professor MK Asante, Jr., “It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop.”

M.K. Asante Jr. is an accomplished author, filmmaker and educator. Born in Zimbabwe to American parents and raised in the United States, Asante is a professor of creative writing and film at Morgan State University. At age 29, he is a noted authority on hip-hop culture with several books and documentaries to his credit, including Beautiful and Ugly Too; It's Bigger Than Hip Hop; and Like Water Running off My Back." He directed “The Black Candle,” a film he co-wrote with renowned poet Maya Angelou who also narrates the prize-winning film. He wrote and produced the film “500 Years Later,” winner of five international film festival awards as well as the Breaking the Chains award from the United Nations. He also produced the multi award-winning film “Motherland.” Professor Asante has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NBC News, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, NPR and, most recently, CNN. He has an interesting story to tell of his work, his life's ups and downs as well as a little of his personal journey.

2. October 13, 2011 – Professor Luis Miletti, “African Diaspora Culture and Identity in Latin America.”

Dr. Luis Miletti is from Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico. He received his Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literature from the University of Cincinnati. Among his published work are two collections of short stories titled El Arimao and Una noche en la Biblioteca; El Caribe ante su Espejo; and a play titled “El Arrimao.” He
is also the founder and chief editor of Negritud: Journal of Afro Latin American Studies, the founder and organizer of its International Conference and Dr. Miletti is assistant professor of Spanish and Latina American Literature at Clark Atlanta University.

3. November 17, 2011 – Professor Oral Moses “From The Negro Spiritual to Hip Hop: African American Music in the 21st Century”




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