The Global Africana Forum aimed to rethink the significance of the study of Africa in global terms. In morning and afternoon panels, eight invited scholars considered the historical and contemporary linkages between Africa and the rest of the world. As organizer Jesse Shipley clarified at the start, the forum's use of the term Africana was intended "as a way to think about not a geography but in fact the making of various kinds of geographies." Speaking about their research on Africana peoples, expressions, mobilities, symbols, and places, the panelists provided insight into global uncertainties around topics that included migration/immigration, gender/sexuality, citizenship, and policing. Thought-provoking conversations with the audience followed.
MORNING PANEL: AFRICANA MOBILITIES IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
Panel Chair: Jesse Weaver Shipley
Ebony E.A. Coletu (Pennsylvania State University) - “Chief Sam and the Origins of African American Migration to Ghana”
Abosede George (Barnard College) - “The Mothership and the Motherland: The Challenge and Promise of Afro-futurism for Global Africana Studies”
Carina E. Ray (Brandeis University) - “Migrations, Now and Then: Routes, Reversals and Reasons”
Benjamin Talton (Temple University) - “Afro-80s: Writing Black Radicalism in Africa and the U.S. Congress”
AFTERNOON PANEL: ORDERING SPACE, ORDERING TIME: AFRICANA SUBJECTIVITIES
Panel Chair: Naaborko Sackeyfio-Lenoch
Elizabeth Garland (Verité) - “Modes of Engagement with Africa’s Place within the Global Political-Economic Order”
Nelson Kasfir (Dartmouth College) - “Constructing an African Concept of Civil Society”
Zine Magubane (Boston College) - “Africa and the Social Sciences: Haiti, Africa, and the Making of Sociology”
Chika Unigwe (Brown University) - “Artistic Intervention: Crafting Stories of Travel and Transformation”
Download the Global Africana Forum poster here.
Abosede George is Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at Barnard College. She received her PhD in History from Stanford University. Her research and teaching interests have been focused on urban history of Africa, the history of childhood and youth in Africa, and the study of women, gender, and sexuality in African History. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Social History, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and the Scholar and Feminist Online. Her new book, Making Modern Girls: A History of Girlhood, Labor, and Social Development was published in 2014 by Ohio University Press in their New African Histories series. Increasingly her research interests have turned to the 19th century in Lagos, to issues of gender, ethnicity, migration, and the records of reverse diaspora communities from the Americas, the Caribbean, and other regions of West Africa. She is currently at work on The Ekopolitan Project, a digital archive of family history sources on migrant communities in nineteenth- and twentieth century Lagos, West Africa.
Carina E. Ray, Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University, is a historian of Africa and the Black Atlantic world and author of Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana (Ohio University Press, 2015). Her current research explores the development of indigenous ideas about blackness and the black body in precolonial and colonial Ghana within local, regional, and transnational networks of exchange and knowledge production.
Benjamin Talton is Associate Professor of African History and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Temple University. He specializes in modern Africa and the African Diaspora. He has published on local politics in Ghana, Ethiopia, and the African diaspora, including two books: The Politics of Social Change in Ghana (Palgrave MacMillan, 2010) and Black Subjects in Africa and its Diasporas, with Dr. Quincy Mills, Vassar College (Palgrave MacMillan, August 2011). In 2005–2006, he served as a visiting senior lecturer and scholar-in-residence at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. Professor Talton is the current president of the Ghana Studies Association.
Elizabeth Garland is a cultural anthropologist and Program Director at the international fair labor NGO Verité, where she oversees the organization’s Africa Region portfolio. Prior to joining the staff of Verité, Elizabeth was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth and an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Union College. Her academic work has focused on the broad implications of the international development, conservation, and tourism industries for African peoples, particularly in East and Southern Africa. At Verité, she works to promote fair and safe labor migration and prevent human trafficking, forced labor, child labor, and other labor abuses in complex global supply chains.
Nelson Kasfir is Professor of Government Emeritus at Dartmouth College. He is co-author and co-editor of Rebel Governance in Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He presented the Carl Schlettwein Lecture to the African Studies Centre, University of Basel in October 2016, speaking on “Kingdom, State and Civil Society: Conceptual and Political Collisions.” He is working on a book on rebel governance of civilians in Uganda.
Zine Magubane is Associate Professor in the Sociology Department at Boston College and received her Ph.D. from Harvard. Her areas of specialization include social theory, sociology of post-coloniality, race and ethnicity, globalization, race and popular culture, gender and sexuality, and the sociology of African societies. She also holds a courtesy appointment in the department of African and African Diaspora Studies. Her work has dealt with two major geographic areas of the world, the United States and Southern Africa. Her research topics reflect a deliberate effort to make an innovative contribution in the following four sociological sub-fields: the sociology of knowledge, the sociology of culture, social stratification, and historical sociology. Choosing topics as disparate as masculinity and music and assembling data from geographical locales outside of the United States was meant to make a significant theoretical contribution to concerns of the discipline that have traditionally been neglected.
Chika Unigwe was born in Enugu, Enugu State. She is the author of three novels, including On Black Sisters Street (2009, 2011 Jonathan Cape, UK and Random House NY) and Night Dancer (Jonathan Cape, 2012). Her short stories and essays have appeared in various journals. Her works have been translated into many languages including German, Japanese, Hebrew, Italian, Hungarian, Spanish, and Dutch. A recipient of several awards, she lives and works in the USA. She is the 2016–2017 Bonderman Assistant Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University.
The Global Africana Forum was co-sponsored by the African and African American Studies Program, the History Department, the Rockefeller Center, the Office of the Provost, and the Dean of Faculty Office.