Sunday, May 4, 2014

GLOBAL BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS--International Conference, Dakar


DATES: MAY 11 AND 12, 2014
Avenue du President Fr. Roosevelt,
Dakar, Senegal, Tel. +221 33 889 71 00

Free and Open to the Public. To attend, RSVP to Ms. Alexis Boyce at:

The Institute for Comparative Modernities (Cornell University) and the Institute of African American Affairs (New York University) will hold the international conference “Global Black Consciousness” on May 11 and 12, 2014, in Dakar, Senegal.  The conference is coordinated by Margo Natalie Crawford and Salah M.  Hassan (Cornell University) and Manthia Diawara (NYU). The conference will coincide with the opening days of the Dakar Biennale (Dak’Art 2014), which opens on May 9, 2014. The two-day gathering will focus on the theme of “Global Black Consciousness,” with invited participants who will present new and unpublished work.

Now that we have such tremendous scholarship on particular identities shaped by the African diaspora (Afro-German, Black British, African American, Afro-Latina/o, Afro-Caribbean, and many more) and tremendous theories of the value and limits of Pan-Africanism, Afro-pessimism, and many other “isms,” how do we create a space for the critical and nuanced analysis of global black consciousness as both a citing of diasporic flows and a grounded site of decolonizing movement? This multi-event and multi-site conference aims to explore the confluence between theories of diaspora and theories of decolonization. Moreover, the crisscrossing of visual art, literature, film, and other cultural productions will be explored alongside the crosscurrent that shaped the transnational flow of black consciousness. The scholars participating in this conference will situate their work in the space of the crisscrossing that occurred as the Black freedom struggle became a layering of locations and dislocations and past, present, and future.

The 1960s and 70s will be our pivot point as we think about the precursors and legacies of the 1960s and 70s black freedom struggles. From May 9 to June 8, 2014, Dak’Art, la Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain, will be held in Dakar. The theme and the occasion allow us to revisit major Black and Pan-African intellectual movements and festivals (such as the Dakar's Festival of World Negro Arts of 1966, Algiers of 1969, and FESTAC 1977 in Lagos, Nigeria, among others) in addition to revisiting individual artistic and intellectual work tied to Africa and the African Diaspora.

As a keynote event, there will be a screening of Manthia Diawara’s film Edouard Glissant: One World in Relation (2010), on the Martiniquan philosopher and poet Edouard Glissant.

The conference’s papers will be published in a co-edited volume entitled Global Black Consciousness. We aim to gather scholarship that opens up and complicates the key paradigms that have shaped the vibrant work on theories and cultural productions of the African diaspora. This conference aims to push the abundant current scholarship on the African diaspora to another dimension—the edge where we think about both the problem and promise of mobilizing “blackness” as a unifying concept. This conference (and by extension the book) brings together literary scholars, historians, visual art critics, and diaspora theorists.

All sessions will take place at:
Hôtel Sokhamon
Avenue du President Fr. Roosevelt,
Dakar, Senegal, Tel. +221 33 889 71 00

Sunday | May 11, 2014

10:00 AM Opening Session
Manthia Diawara - Welcoming Remarks
Margo Natalie Crawford – Introducing the Conference
Salah M. Hassan - Introductory Remarks

10:30 AM-13:00 PM Blackness, Pan-Africanism, and Internationalism
Moderator: Joanna Grabski
The Third Pan-African Conference and Black Internationalism
Zita Nunes
Of Black Gloss: Reading Bingo Magazine in the Age of Pan-African Festivals
Tsitsi Jaji
Blackness and Pan Africanism: Le Festival Panafricain d’Alger 1969
Ahmed Bedjaoui
Manthia Diawara and Souleymane Bachir Diagne

13:00 PM Lunch Break

14:00 PM–14:30 PM Special Presentation: Melvin Edwards: Journey of a Sculptor and the Poetics of Relations (Melvin Edwards: Parcours d’un sculpteur et poétique de la relation
Lydie Diakhaté

14:30 –16:30 PM Blackness and Pan-Africanism: Literary and Visual Aesthetics
Moderator: Kokahvah Zauditu-Selassie
Re-Reading Senghor today
Souleymane Bachir Diagne
The Dak’Art Biennial and Global Black Cultural Politics in the 20th Century
Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi
“Listen Up!”: Black Consciousness in South African Art of the 1970s
Shannen Hill
Encounters with Africa: James Baldwin and the Making of Global Black Consciousness
Dagmawi Woubshet
Zita Nunes and Tsitsi Jaji

16:30 PM Reception: Coffee and Tea

Keynote Address: Présence Africaine and the 1956 First International Congress of Black Writers and Artists”
Manthia Diawara, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Comparative Literature and Film, New York University.

Film Screening: Manthia Diawara, Edouard Glissant: One World in Relation (Color, 52 Minutes, French and English, 2010, K’a Yéléma Productions).
Moderator: Samba Gadjigo                                                                                                        


Monday | May 12, 2014

10:00 AM–12:30 PM Global Black Consciousness: Aesthetically Speaking
Moderator: Selene Wendt
The Diasporic Power of Black Abstraction: “Black” as a Unifying Concept and a Strategic Abstraction
Margo Natalie Crawford
Bandung Holograms: The Black Voice as Movement Technology
Shana L. Redmond
Richard J. Powell
The Collision of African American Modernities at the 1966 World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar
Penny M. Von Eschen
Elvira Dyangani Ose and Dagmawi Woubshet

12:30 PM–14:00 PM Lunch break

14:00 PM-14:20 PM Special Presentation: The Photography of Bob Crawford: FESTAC’77
Romi Crawford

14:30 PM-16:30 PM: Global Blackness Localized
Moderator: Amanda Gilvin
Harlem to the Kasbah: Claude McKay, the Jazz Age and the Gnawa Movement
Hisham Aidi
The Representation of Slavery in Literature and Popular Culture in Arabia and the Gulf
Ahmad Alawad Sikainga
Global Blackness Localized: Rethinking the Color Line in Sudan
Salah M. Hassan
Margo N. Crawford and Shana L. Redmond

16:30- 17:00 PM: Poetry Reading and Music/Closing Session:
Quincy Troupe and Kelvyn Bell

20:00  Closing Reception

For paper abstracts and biographies of participants, please visit:

Alexis Boyce
Program Coordinator
The Institute for Comparative Modernities
Cornell University
Toboggan Lodge
Ithaca, NY 14853

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