Student research, keynote speaker highlight Africana Studies Colloquium

BGSU’s Africana Studies Student Research Colloquium marks its 10th anniversary this year with “Perspectives on Race and Place in Africa and the African Diaspora,” on Friday (March 16) in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Students from BGSU and other universities will present their research in three morning and afternoon sessions.

The colloquium is an annual event that gives students in all disciplines the opportunity to submit research papers addressing topics related to Africa and the African diaspora for presentation in an academic setting.

Dr. Toyin Falola
Dr. Toyin Falola

“U.S.-Africa Relations in Time Perspective” will be the theme of a keynote presentation by award-winning author Dr. Toyin Falola of the University of Texas, where he is the Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor in History and a Distinguished Teaching Professor. Falola will speak at 12:30 p.m. in 228 Union, following a noon luncheon. To make reservations for the meal, which is $11.72, or $8.19 for the vegetarian option, call Mary Wrighten at 2-7897 or email by noon Tuesday (March 13). Lunch is payable by cash or check only.

Falola, who has received many awards for his teaching and contributions to the field of Africana studies, is the author of numerous books, including Violence in Nigeria: The Crisis of Religious Politics and Secular Ideologies, and Nationalism and African Intellectuals, both from the University of Rochester Press. His recent book, Modernization and Economic Reforms in Nigeria, won the Cecil B. Currey Award from the Association of Third World Studies. His award-winning memoir, A Mouth Sweeter than Salt: An African Memoir, which captures his childhood, received the Herskovits Finalist Award from the Association of African Studies and the Hamilton Finalist Award from the University of Texas.

He is also a Fellow of both the Historical Society of Nigeria and the Nigerian Academy of Letters, co-editor of the Journal of African Economic History and series editor for three publications: Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora, the Culture and Customs of Africa by Greenwood Press, and Classic Authors and Texts on Africa by Africa World Press.

Student presentations
Student papers have been selected by the Africana Studies faculty for presentation. There will be two morning sessions, from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Session 1, in 201 Union, will focus on “Social and Political Conflict in Africa and Elsewhere.” Moderated by Dr. Opportune Zongo, romance languages, the presentations will include: Abdirahman M. Gutale, University of Kansas, “Intervening in Protracted Conflicts: A Case Study on Somalia”; Phyllis Dako-Gyeke, BGSU, “Online Activism and the African Woman’s Health: Understanding Female Genital Mutilation Discourses in Global Media Spaces”; Victor A. Massaquoi, BGSU, “The Beijing Initiatives and Sierra Leone: A Critical Analysis,” and Tanisha Rodgers, University of Detroit Mercy, “El-Saadawi's Prostitute and Erdrich's Native Vixen: Trips into Sexual Madness.”

Session 2, in 207 Union, will feature “Perspectives in African and International Development,” and will be moderated by Dr. Kefa Otiso, geography. Presentations will be given by Marianne Hessel, BGSU, “An African Solution for HIV/AIDS”; Martina Hanulová, BGSU, “Causes and Effects of Western Agricultural Subsidies on African Farmers”; Benard Manyibe, BGSU, “Maximizing the Impact of Foreign Aid: The Role of the Ethic of Care,” and Michael Kithinji, BGSU, “Kenya and the Shaping of Colonial University Education Policy in British East Africa, 1922-1963.”

Session 3, “Historical and Literary Perspectives on African-American Life,” from 1:30- 3:30 p.m. in 201 Union, will be moderated by Dr. Laurie Rodgers, ethnic studies. Presenters will include: Justin Smith, University of Detroit Mercy, “African-American Life in Two Civil War Communities”; Joseph Paszek, University of Detroit Mercy, “Commodification, Savagery and Re-Othering: The Effects of Re-definition in Toni Morrison’s Beloved”; Qiana Towns, BGSU, “An Analysis of the Poetry of Newcomer Kyle Dargan,” and Andrea Turnboe, University of Detroit Mercy, “The Underdog in Alice Walker’s Everyday Use.”

An interdisciplinary program
International in scope, Africana Studies draws from many colleges and departments across the University and is designed to strengthen students’ liberal arts backgrounds while preparing them for a world of racial and cultural diversity. It allows students to explore the histories and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora.

March 12, 2007