The Mellon Seminar in Black Atlantic Studies explores an emerging paradigm shift in African Diaspora scholarship. The Mellon Seminar in Black Atlantic Studies, 2008-2009 is co-organized by Andrew Apter, Departments of History and Anthropology; African Studies Center and Patrick Polk, Department of World Arts and Culture.
The Mellon Seminar in Black Atlantic Studies explores an emerging paradigm shift in African Diaspora scholarship. Inspired by Paul Gilroy’s innovative work in black cultural studies, the shift can be described as one from “roots” to “routes,” recasting Africa from a “baseline” to a circuit predicated on ethnic mixing and hybrid forms from the very beginning of the triangle trade. If European ports and capitals, Caribbean plantations, American shipyards and African cities became co-equal sites in an emerging trans-Atlantic field, so trade-union politics, plural societies, Pan-African movements and expressive musical and ritual hybrids developed as hallmarks of a distinctive “counter-modernity.” Black Atlantic Studies does not disavow the African Diaspora, but incorporates it within a triangulated field of “transverse dynamics” and coextensive horizons.
As an interdisciplinary research seminar, we invite leading scholars in Black Atlantic Studies who combine analytic and interpretive methods ranging from demographic approaches to new slave trade databases to performance-centered phenomenological approaches to gender, race and memory. If some studies involve intensive fieldwork on festival complexes and performance genres in bounded sites, others track the circulation of expressive cultural forms between coasts and hinterlands, within Atlantic regions, and across socially differentiated regimes of value. The challenges of linking the localities of “place” to the translocal dimensions of Black Atlantic history and culture set the seminar’s methodological theme.
“Excavating the Past: Archaeological Perspectives on Black Atlantic Regional Networks” a conference in honor of Merrick Posnansky
co-hosted by UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and Center for Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Studies
UCLA William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Friday, April 3 – Saturday, April 4, 2009
In William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street
(West Adams District)
Los Angeles, CA 90018-2098
323-731-8529 or 310-206-8552
A conference at the Clark Library organized by Andrew Apter, UCLA, and Patrick A. Polk, UCLA.
Co-sponsored by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, the Mellon Transforming the Humanities Grant, and the James S. Coleman African Studies Center.
The UCLA Mellon Seminar in Black Atlantic Studies explores an emerging paradigm shift in African Diaspora scholarship. Inspired by Paul Gilroy’s innovative work in black cultural studies, the shift can be described as one from “roots” to “routes,” recasting Africa from a “baseline” to a “circuit” predicated on ethnic mixing and hybrid forms from the inception of the triangle trade. If European ports and capitals, Caribbean plantations, American shipyards and African cities became co-equal sites in an emerging trans-Atlantic field, so trade-union politics, plural societies, Pan-African movements and expressive musical and ritual hybrids developed as hallmarks of a distinctive “counter-modernity.”
Excavating the Past, a two-day conference in honor of UCLA emeritus professor Merrick Posnansky, will bring together a select group of leading archaeologists and historians of the Black Atlantic, most trained by Posnansky himself. Beyond recognizing Merrick's contribution to the archaeology of Africa and the Americas, the aim is to develop a better understanding of how archaeological sites in Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States provide “grounds” for hypothesizing the presence and impact of regional symbolic systems and/or social networks. Particular emphasis will be placed on the development of Creole societies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in relation to West-Central Africa and Europe.
Conference papers presented at the Clark Library will be posted to the Center's website by March 23, and will remain accessible until April 17.
Registration Deadline: March 26, 2009
Registration Fees: $25 per person; UC faculty & staff, students with ID: no charge*
*Students should enclose a photocopy of their current ID with the registration form.
Fees are not refundable and apply to full or partial attendance.
To register, please visit:
Free parking; for where to park info/directions, visit http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/clarklib/loc.htm
Please call a week ahead to arrange for wheelchair access. Inquiries: 310-206-8552.
Please be aware that space at the Clark is limited and that registration closes when capacity is reached. No confirmation will be sent, but you will be contacted if personnel receive your registration after capacity has been reached.
Friday, April 3:
9.30 A.M. Morning Coffee
10.00 A.M. Welcome and Introduction
Candice Goucher, Washington State University, Vancouver
Memory of Iron: Forging Black Atlantic History
Alexis B.A. Adande, Universite d’Abomey-Calavi
Benin and the United States: Eighteen Years of Collaborative Archaeology
Philip L. de Barros, Palomar College
How Far Inland Did the Arm of the Slave Trade Reach? Evidence from the Bassar Region of Northern Togo
12.30 P.M. Lunch
1.30 P.M. J. Cameron Monroe, University of California, Santa Cruz
“In the belly of Dan”: Landscape, Power, and Urban Transformation in Precolonial Dahomey
Akin Ogundiran, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
Inventing Symbols, Constructing Self, Reproducing Community: On the Materiality of Culture in the Mid-Atlantic Age Yorubaland
Francois G. Richard, University of Chicago
Of Despotic Kings and Powerless Peasants? (Dis)Ambiguating Power in Siin (Senegal) during the Atlantic Era
4.00 P.M. Keynote Address
Christopher R. DeCorse, Syracuse University
West Africa after the Europeans: Change and Transformation in the Era of the Atlantic World
5.00 P.M. Reception
Saturday, April 4:
9.30 A.M. Morning Coffee
10.00 A.M. Kenneth G. Kelly, University of South Carolina
Atlantic Networks in the African Diaspora: Archaeological Research in French West Africa and the French West Indies
E. Kofi Agorsah, Portland State University
Formation and Transformation of Maroon Settlements in Suriname: Archaeological Strategies
Peter R. Schmidt, University of Florida
Archaeological Signatures for Spiritual Agency among Africans in the New World: The Pitfalls of Grab-bag Ethnology
12.30 P.M. Lunch
1.30 P.M. Laurie A. Wilkie, University of California, Berkeley
American-Africans and African-Americans in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century and the Construction of Diaspora Identities
Douglas Armstrong, Syracuse University
Freedom on the Margins: Archaeological Explorations of Free Black Settlements in the Danish West Indies
Information forwarded by the UCLA African Studies Center (ASC) - www.international.ucla.edu/africa
Date: Saturday, April 04, 2009
UCLA William Andrews Clark Memorial Ibrary
2520 Cimarron St.
Los Angeles, CA 90018
James S. Coleman African Studies Center