University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Institute for Ethnic Studies
African American and African Studies Program (AAAS)
October 7, 2011
LINCOLN – The University of Nebraska-Lincoln African and African American Studies Program (AAAS) is celebrating its 40th anniversary with, “Reflecting the Past... Minding Our Future,” a 4-day event on campus and in the community, October 19-22, 2011, featuring keynote lectures, discussion panels, film screenings, music and drama, and a day of service. All events are free and open to the public.
The aim of this event is to celebrate and remember the rich history of AAAS at UNL, showcase the inter-disciplinary nature of the program and foster discussion about future challenges and opportunities facing the field.
On Wednesday, October 19, UNL students will participate in one of two community-based service projects at the Clyde Malone Center and the F Street Community Center. At 3:30pm, Dr. Pearlie Johnson, a Visiting Professor of Black Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, will deliver a talk, “African American Quilts: Teaching the Past Through Quilting,” at the International Quilt Studies Center (33rd St & Holdredge St.). Later that evening at 6pm in the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, Dr. Kwakiutl Dreher, UNL Department of English and AAAS, will present a series of short films on black cinema created by her students.
On Thursday, Dr. Michael Honey will give a talk titled, “My Journey to African American History,” at Southeast Community College at 11:30am. Honey is the Fred T. and Dorothy G. Haley Professor of the Humanities at the University of Washington-Tacoma and teaches courses on African-American, civil rights and labor history. He is the author several books, including Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign (2007) and, most recently, All Labor Has Dignity: The Labor and Economic Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (2011) At 3:30pm on Thursday in the Dudley Bailey Library, Andrews Hall, a panel of faculty members will discuss “Critical Black Studies in a Globalized World.” At 7pm in the Nebraska Auditorium at the City Union, internationally-acclaimed activist and author, Mark Mathabane, will deliver a Keynote lecture titled, “Our Common Humanity and the Importance of Education.” Mathabane has written a number of books as well as articles for a several prominent magazines. His most famous work is Kafir Boy (1986), an autobiographical account of Mathabane’s young life under apartheid in South Africa. Recently, Mathabane established the Magdalene Scholarship Fund, which provides a variety of supports to schoolchildren at Bovet Primary School in Alexandra Township, South Africa.
Friday afternoon, at 3:30pm in Dudley Bailey Library, Andrews Hall, Dr. Lisa B. Thompson, Associate Professor in the English Department of the University of Albany, SUNY, will reflect on the future of Black Studies in a Keynote address entitled, "Black Studies in the Age of Post-Blackness." It examines the challenges facing Black Studies in an age that some critics have pronounced as post-racial and considers the ways contemporary black theatre challenges the notion of post-blackness. Dr. Thompson brings to UNL and the broader Lincoln community her talent as a literary critic and playwright. She is the author of Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class (2009) and Single Black Female, a dramatic play. Later that evening, at 7pm in the Ted Sorensen Theater at Lincoln High School (2229 J Street), UNL’s own Dr. Kwakiutl Dreher will perform her dynamic one-woman show, “In a Smoke-Filled Room.” The production, which mixes singing, dance elements and story-telling, is directed by Chris Maly.
On Saturday, the theme will be “Civil Rights Legacies.” In the morning, a series of discussions and panels at the City Union will explore different dynamics of Latino, Native American and LGBTQ struggles for justice and will feature UNL faculty in the Latino and Latin American Studies Program, the Native American Studies Program, Women and Gender Studies and the LGBTQ Program. At 1:30pm in the Heritage Room, City Union, Dr. Michael Honey will deliver a Keynote address, “Martin Luther King, Labor and the Long Civil Rights Movement.” Dr. Honey is an expert on Dr. King. His new book collects King’s speeches on labor and economics, a topic made more relevant by the on-going economic crisis today. Then, at 3:30pm in the Heritage Room, Martha Prescod Norman Noonan will deliver a Keynote talk, “Hands on the Freedom Plow: The Women of SNCC.” Noonan is a civil rights veteran, community organizer and history teacher, specializing in the civil rights movement. As a young woman in the 1960s, Noonan worked for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the youthful vanguard of the southern movement, in Alabama and Mississippi. Recently, Noonan helped organize and edit the landmark collection, Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts By Women in SNCC (2011). In the book, fifty-two women – northern and southern, young and old, urban and rural, black, white, and Latina – share their courageous personal stories of working for SNCC on the front lines of the southern civil rights movement.
The 40th anniversary celebration concludes on Saturday evening, at 6pm in the Sheldon Museum of Art (12th St. & R St.), with a reception that features poetry, music and theater.
UNL’s African American and African Studies Program was established in 1970, the result of community pressure and student activism on campus. As an inter-disciplinary program established out of the struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, AAAS is proud of its long tradition of scholarly excellence and community engagement. Over the years, the program has filled a critical need on campus by building curricula and programming around African and African American experience and history. In addition, AAAS has consistently been a bridge between the local African American community and the UNL campus community. Today, the program consists of eight tenure-line faculty representing History, English, Sociology, Political Science and Anthropology, as well as more than a dozen affiliated faculty from across the university. AAAS is located at the Institute for Ethnic Studies, also home to the Native American Studies Program and the Latino and Latin American Studies Program.
** NEWS RELEASE – NEWS RELEASE – NEWS RELEASE **
Dr. Kwakiutl Dreher, Department of English and AAAS, 402-472-3191; Dr. Jeannette Jones, Department of History and AAAS, 402-472-2406; Dr. Patrick Jones, Department of History and AAAS, 402-472-3250 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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