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© 2003
Center for Black Studies
Annual Report 2003

Director’s Statement

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Statistical Summary

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Annual Report 2002

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Annual Report 2000

Annual Report 1999


Over the past six/seven years, a major goal for the Center for Black Studies has been to establish a strong research profile and to develop a sustained publication list. Some of the projects currently underway include:

  1. The Journal of Haitian Studies (JOHS)
    Claudine Michel, the Center's former director (and, this past year, its associate director), has served as editor of the Journal of Haitian Studies since it moved from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, to UCSB in 1999. JOHS is the only refereed journal focusing solely on scholarship on Haiti and Haiti's rapport with the international community. The journal is interdisciplinary in nature. An editorial board made up of very distinguished scholars from major U.S. universities, including schools like MIT, Princeton, Madison, the University of Virginia and from universities in France and the West Indies is in place. Our reviewers are also members of the faculty at ivy league universities and other prestigious colleges. The quality of the papers submitted to JOHS has steadily become stronger and authors from leading universities (Yale, Cornell, Ohio, Smith College, and UC Berkeley among other schools) are increasingly sending us articles for consideration. A number of senior scholars in the field have had their work published in the past few issues of JOHS. We published also articles from scholars from leading European universities such as the Universit d'Anvers, Belgium and Muenchen, Germany. The journal as currently envisioned represents a major contribution to the fields of Black Studies, Ethnic Studies, Diasporic Studies, and International and Global Studies. Subscriptions from both individuals and institutions have increased substantially. The journal is now financially stable. During the current cycle, we produced volume 8, numbers 1 and 2, and prepared volume 9 number 1 which is currently in press.
  2. Screening Noir Newsletter and Journal
    Screening Noir was founded in 1994 with the expressed goal of tapping into the breadth of discourse production centering on visual media and the African diaspora. As a result, the newsletter represents the wide-ranging interests of its editorial collective and contributors. The newsletter publishes work from various disciplinary approaches and methods as well as diverse topics. Exemplifying the view that there is no black monolith where ideas, philosophies and perspectives on visual media are concerned, Screening Noir encourages precisely the heterogeneity of African diasporic voices that more accurately reflects black life and culture. To date, the newsletter has published thoughtful writings pertaining to blacks and visual culture, whether scholarly, popular, critical, comparative or celebratory. Increasingly, powerful multinational media conglomerates mediate, direct and attempt to define black society around the globe in their own images. Screening Noir strives to be the virtual and real alternative public sphere wherein African diasporic voices can be heard and amplified.

    The Web site for this online journal was revitalized in 2003. After several years of publication in virtual space and as a print newsletter, Screening Noir, produced by the Center for the African, African-American Caucus of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), received funding support necessary to become a refereed journal. The process for this conversion is under way. Edited by Dr. Anna Everett, the expected publication date for the first journal is Fall 2004.
  3. Journal of Multiethnic Studies
    A few years ago, the Center for Black Studies served as coordinator for a system-wide Ethnic Studies conference which assessed the state of Ethnic Studies Research over the past 30 years [link]. Concomitantly, the Center is taking the lead in starting the first UC-based Ethnic Studies Journal. This is a major project and we are delighted that UCSB is the originator of such a ground-breaking academic endeavor. The proposal is currently under review.
  4. The Black Studies Reader
    A second volume documenting the state of Black studies scholarship over the past 30 years is currently in press at Routledge. The Black Studies Reader, edited by three UCSB scholars—Jacqueline Bobo, Cynthia Hudley and Claudine Michel—is scheduled to be published in Fall 2003. It examines how as an interdisciplinary field, Black Studies draws on and connects various methodologies and theories to produce knowledge. It serves as companion volume to the earlier successful release Black Studies: Current Issues, Enduring Questions, published in 2001.
  5. Fragments of Bone
    Patrick Bellegarde-Smith's book Fragments of Bone, on Neo-African religions in the Americas, is currently in press at Illinois University Press. Dr. Bellegarde-Smith was the Center's first visiting scholar in residence (2000-2001). He is currently a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
  6. Gender in Africa
    Dr. Oyeronke Oyewumi, renowned specialist on gender currently on the faculty at Stony Brooks, has completed an edited volume on Gender in Africa, currently in press at Palgrave/St. Martin Press. The book will be published under the auspices of the Center and will appear in 2004.
  7. Women of African descent in the Americas, Europe and Canada
    Professor Helen Pyne-Timothy has edited a parallel volume to Dr. Oyewumi’s work, also to be published under the Center's auspices. This volume focuses on women of African descent in the Americas, Europe and Canada. The work is currently under review.
  8. KOSANBA book projects
    KOSANBA's researchers are in the process of preparing first a brochure and then a book dedicated to the work of artist Heza Barjon. The brochure is currently in progress and under contract with Multicultural Women's Press. It will appear later this year. The book project is under consideration at a publisher. KOSANBA plans to participate in helping place this major collection of paintings on Haitian Vodou in various museums, nationally and internationally.

    Claudine Michel and Patrick Bellegarde-Smith have completed the joint editing of three other volumes. The work is part of the research completed through the Congress of Santa Barbara (KOSANBA), [link] a Scholarly Association for the Study of Haitian Vodou, an association housed at the Center since 1997. The work done by this group of scholars is certainly in line with other major national efforts such as the Indigenous Religions Project of the American Academy of Religion. Currently under review at university presses are
    (1) Spirit, Myth and Reality: Vodou in Haiti
    (2) God in Every Woman: Gender, Power and Politics in Haitian Vodou and
    (3) Invisible Powers: Vodou and Development.
    Spirit, Myth and Reality is an important field-defining volume; the research is of utmost importance. This is the first time that a group of highly respected Haitians have joined together to research and present their views collectively on the Vodou religion which impacts almost all social, political and economic Haitian institutions. This research is by far the most extensive conducted in the area of Haitian Vodou by contemporary researchers and the book promises to become "the authority" in the field. God in Every Woman looks at the feminist angles of scholarship on Haitian Vodou while Invisible Powers focuses on issues of power, politics and development as it relates to the religion.
  9. Books/Research in progress
    Illusion of Culture/Culture of Illusion: this project, to be published as an edited volume, analyzing various Disney's creations and products is still in preparation. This past year, the project did not advance much due to other pressing deadlines but is scheduled to be completed during this next academic year. The collaborative research project involves the study of historical omissions, representations and misrepresentations in the productions of Disney and their impact on Blacks and the general American population (see 2001 annual report for more information.)

    Legacy of Slavery: Unequal Exchange: a project documenting the social and economic impact of slavery is scheduled to be completed this year. The book, an extension of the confernce Legacy of Slavery: Unequal Exchange held at the Center in 2002, will appear with Adjoa Aiyetoro as lead editor. Ms. Aiyetoro was the Center's second visiting professor. She was in residence during the academic year 2002-2003.

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