Projects and Activities
Annual Report 2001
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Women of African descent in the Americas, Europe
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.
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
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
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.
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.