CFP: Archives and Reconstructing Black Memory (3/20/07, 6/22/07-6/29/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Carmen Ruiz-Castaneda
contact email:


University of Miami Hosts Critical, Creative Conference from June 22 – 29, 2007

CORAL GABLES, MIAMI -- The University of Miami's Caribbean Literary
Studies and Small Axe: A Journal of Criticism will team up to host an
international symposium and seminar entitled Archaeologies of Black
Memory from June 22-29, 2007 at the University of Miami, Coral Gables.
 With support from the Ford Foundation ($95,000), the editors of these
two prominent journals in Caribbean and African Diaspora Studies Small
Axe (David Scott, Columbia University, Department of Anthropology) and
Anthurium (Sandra Paquet and Patricia Saunders, University of Miami,
Department of English) designed this multi-disciplinary conference to
explore the relationships between archive, collective memory and
public criticism in relation to African Diaspora Studies.

The program includes two different modules aimed at providing
participants with a broad range of opportunities for dialogue, project
and curriculum development, research and scholarship.

The Symposium (June 22-24): The two day symposium (free and open to
the public) will feature senior scholars in political science,
history, literature, visual arts and popular culture. Their
presentations will form the basis for conversations and debates about
the problematic of Black Memory and its archival sources and
underpinnings. Each scholar has been invited to present on the theme
of the conference from the vantage point of their own scholarship and
writing. Symposium presenters will include:

· Robert Hill – History, University of California, Los Angeles

· Brent Edwards – English, Rutgers University

· Saidiya Hartman – English and Comparative Literature,
Columbia University

· Krista Thompson – African Diaspora Art, Northwestern University

· Michael Hanchard – Political Science, Director of Institute
on Diaspora Studies, Northwestern University

· M. Nourbese Philip – Independent poet and scholar, Toronto

· Gordon Rohlehr – Languages and Literature, University of the
West Indies

The Seminar (June 25-29): The seminar portion will involve a
curriculum development workshop for junior faculty, graduate students
and high school teachers who will be selected based on their
individual interests in incorporating or developing critical links to
archival collections and material as part of their pedagogical
strategies for teaching New World Black Diaspora Studies.
Applications must be received by March 20, 2006. Participants will be
eligible for a full tuition and travel fellowship. Please apply
online at: or email:

The Small Axe collective crafted the initial proposal that the Ford
Foundation funded and they collaborate with other universities to host
three conferences as part of the larger project titled DIASPORIC
KNOWLEDGES. The first conference was hosted at Brown University, the
second will be hosted by the University of Miami and the third will be
held at SUNY, Albany in the fall of 2007. DIASPORIC KNOWLEDGES,
focuses on the extent to which African American and Caribbean Studies
have had overlapping histories and trajectories but more often than
not are researched, written about and taught as distinct fields. A
prime objective of this project is to engage in a thoughtful
reassessment of these interdependent intellectual traditions that can
serve to transform existing curricula. From the perspective of the
Caribbean, "Diaspora" speaks to more than African-derived populations,
but also includes Indian and Chinese derived peoples, and this
realization will also inform their approach. Rather than take the
usual view that transnational social currents are purely contingent
offshoots of some main event taking place in presumably stable
cultural or political locations, this project makes diasporic and
transnational realities pedagogically central. The symposium and
seminar aim to implement this conceptual shift through various
curricular initiatives, including a series of newly designed and
interlinked courses taught simultaneously at several colleges and
universities, summer seminars for college teachers and high school
teachers. According to one of the project coordinators, "the
symposium and its participants are in a position to have an immediate
impact on teaching and scholarship at a cross-section of institutions
in the United States and the Caribbean at a historical moment when
alternatives to the area studies mode of organizing and imparting
knowledge are desperately being sought."

The Archaeologies of Memory Symposium and Seminar are the beginning of
a long-term collaborative relationship between the Small Axe
Collective and Caribbean Literary Studies at the University of Miami,
publishers of the online-line journal Anthurium. A selection of
papers and discussions from the Miami conference will be published in
both Small Axe and Anthurium in Fall 2007. Future collaborative
projects include developing a website to provide public access to
syllabi and other materials developed in the seminar and web platform
that links both the Small Axe and Anthurium websites. Anthurium and
Small Axe also plan to collaborate to secure funding for a project
that would digitize archival materials on the New World African
Diaspora that are out of print and in danger of total disappearance.
These materials include journals such as Tapia, BIM, Kyk-over-al, New
World Independence Issues, Savacou etc. as well as other materials
(short stories, photos, poetry) that have only limited availability in

Evening events will compliment the symposium and seminar and will be
hosted by local Miami Area businesses and other public, private and
educational institutions.

For more information and online application, please visit: or email:

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Received on Thu Mar 08 2007 - 22:43:41 EST

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