African Diaspora Symposium: Freedom or Liberation

The Department of History at North Carolina Central University will host the fourth annual African Diaspora Studies Symposium on Saturday and Sunday, March 24-25, in the Mary Townes Science Building. The theme is “Freedom or Liberation? The Quest for Autonomy in the Diaspora.” Sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday.

The keynote address will be given at 4 p.m. on Saturday by Dr. Tyler Stovall, professor of history and dean of the Undergraduate Division of the College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Stovall will speak from the topic, “Black Modernism and the Making of the Twentieth Century: Paris 1919.”

Stovall is the author of numerous books and articles on the African Diaspora, Afro-French communities and French nationalism. He has taught at Ohio State University, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and UC Berkeley.

Over a period of almost four centuries, approximately 4 million Africans were transported to North America and the Caribbean Islands in the Atlantic slave trade. It was the largest forced migration in the world and created permanent ties between Africa and North America.

The African diaspora is the story of how Africans, though scattered and dispersed, managed to retain their traditions and reform their identities in new worlds. Elements of African culture, including religion, language and folklore, have endured and serve as links to past lives.

Highlights of the symposium include:

A lecture, “Africana Studies in the Diaspora: A Report from Venezuela,” by Alejandro Correa, a professor at the Colegio Universitario Jose Lourenco Peres in Caracas, Venezuela. Correa will present on Saturday at 2:45 p.m., alongside representatives from the UNC–Chapel Hill.

Spoken word artist D. Nobel will close out the symposium, speaking from the topic “Hip Hop (Studies) is Dead: Delineating the Limitations of Afrocentrism and Black Nationalism in Hip Hop Praxis and Scholarship.” His presentation will take place on Sunday at 2:10 p.m.

The symposium was initiated by then-NCCU student and history major Youssef Carter as a means to bring together scholars and activists from around the world to explore the ways that diasporic communities have asserted themselves in seeking autonomy, liberty and justice. The NCCU Department of History offers instruction in American, African-American, African, Latin American, European, African Diaspora and Public History. The department continues to produce more students who go on to earn their doctorate in history than any other HBCU.

The symposium is free and open to the public and includes lunch on Saturday. It is sponsored jointly by the College of Liberal Arts, the Department of History and the Global Studies Program. For more information, call 919-530-6321.