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© 2004
Center for Black Studies
Updated
Annual Report 2004


Dr. Anna Everett

Director’s Statement

Organizational Chart

Other Projects and Activities

Sponsored Events

Space

Publications

Statistical Summary

Advisory Committee/Staff

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Annual Report 2003

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    Director's Statement

The 2003-04 Academic year (AY) was at once highly productive and quite challenging for the Center for Black Studies. In addition to developing and implementing new programmatic initiatives begun the previous year, the Center embarked upon a number of promising ventures instituted during the current term.

First, and most significantly, the Center was confronted with the need to prepare for the unfortunate and untimely UC-system-wide budget cuts brought on by a budgetary crisis that beset the state of California. Although this situation necessitated strategic cut-backs in some of the Center’s larger vision and related projects, we are pleased that several of our newest research and programmatic goals were realized and well-received by the university, the larger Santa Barbara community and our black studies colleagues nationally and internationally. Many of the Center’s more established and ongoing projects were affected as well.

During this academic year, the Center inaugurated its new Visiting Scholar/Researcher Fellowship program that replaces the historic ABD Fellows program which was successfully incorporated into the Department of Black Studies. The Center welcomed its cohort of visiting researchers: Mr. William Jones, a digital arts specialist from Brooklyn, New York, and Mr. Jorge Coelho, an information science specialist and computer programmer from São Tomé e Príncipe, Africa. The contributions of these fellows were essential to the successes that the Center enjoyed during this highly productive stage of the Center’s growth and development. In addition to pursuing their own research projects, the fellows participated fully in the overhaul of the Center’s website, grant writing projects, AfroGEEKS conference organizing, community outreach programs and Food for Thought Colloquium series. Mr. Jones and Mr. Coelho’s research projects will be published soon as part of the Center’s Working Papers Series for AY 2003-04.

Race and Technology Initiative
Another very important part of the Center’s mission was the incorporation of the Race and Technology (RT) Initiative into the rest of the Center’s research and programming agenda. The RT initiative was officially launched in AY 2003-04.

A key component of the RT program was the AfroGEEKS: From Technophobia to Technophilia conference that convened on the UCSB conference in May, 2004. And despite my own concerns about the budget’s impact on the viability of the new (RT) initiative, particularly due to the expected expenses associated with costly new computer and audio-visual equipment purchases, several of the RT project successes exceeded our expectations. The AfroGEEKS conference that centered on the African Diaspora and new information technologies was a cornerstone of the RT project. The success of the AfroGEEKS conference became all the more significant because an essential member of the conference planning group, Visiting Researcher Jorge Coelho, was unexpectedly required to return to his home in São Tomé e Principe, Africa for the 2003-04 term. Nonetheless, our prior planning and subsequent distance consultations via the Internet and telephone conferences proved advantageous and quite productive for the RT project and it justified our confidence in the overall vision of the Race and Technology program. As a result of numerous challenges presented by Jorge Coelho’s unanticipated and disruptive return home, the Center nonetheless benefited by the decision to establish an important collaborative research project on technology adoption in São Tomé e Principe, directed on site by Mr. Coelho.


Visiting Researcher Jorge Coelho teaching classes on site in São Tomé

New Research Programs
Two new research programs begun by the Center in 2002-03, the Annual Shirley Kennedy Lecture and the Food for Thought colloquium series, were continued successfully for a second year. The 2003-04 Annual Shirley Kennedy Lecture featured Dr. Manning Marable, eminent Professor of Public Affairs, Political Science, and History at Columbia University. Dr. Marable presented a provocative and well-received talk from his current research project on Malcolm X and other black activists figures. The talk, presented at the Multicultural Center Theater on January 28 2004, was titled “Living Black History: Defending Higher Education and the black Intellectual tradition.” The Center’s lunchtime colloquium series, Food for Thought, was also a resounding success in 2003-04, attracting a significant number of new UCSB and visiting faculty conducting research in black studies and black studies-related scholarship (see details in “Other Projects and Activities” section).

The Center’s Journal Publications
The Center’s journal publications were augmented with an infusion of funds from the Chancellor’s office and the Division of Letters of Sciences. These welcome funds were allocated to enable the Center to transform the Screening Noir newsletter into a refereed journal for the African and African American Caucus of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Association (SCMS). As a result of this infusion of funds, two editions of Screening Noir that began in 2003-04 are well underway. In keeping with its ongoing growth and development under the editorial leadership of Dr. Claudine Michel, the Journal for Haitian Studies produced two new editions during this academic year.

Community Outreach
The continued successes of the Center’s Community Outreach efforts were particularly rewarding given their organization by our new Community Outreach Coordinator Sojourner Kincaid Rolle. Ms. Rolle replaced our beloved, late Dr. Shirley Kennedy, who passed away last academic year. The enormous challenge of replacing Dr. Kennedy loomed large. Fortunately, Ms. Rolle fulfilled the demands of the position with great imagination and facility due to her high regard and wide network of connections within the larger Santa Barbara community (see her “Community Outreach” report). An important community outreach event that the Center sponsored was the very successful Community Collaboration Roundtable on August 23, 2004. This roundtable was the first of its type in recent years at the Center and featured an enthusiastic group of UCSB and Santa Barbara community members who share the Center’s commitment to social justice and equality. Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Bloom, who attended the roundtable, informed us that ours was the first invitation that she received from UCSB since she took office. Many important community partnerships came of that important gathering.

2003-04 Visiting Scholars/Researchers
The Center’s establishment of the Visiting Scholar / Researcher program in AY 2003-04 builds upon and formalizes our long-standing, informal practice of inviting established and renowned scholars to be in residence to advance our various research agendas. Moreover, the Visiting Scholar / Researcher Program represents an important step in advancing the Center’s research, publications, grant-writing, and programmatic endeavors due to the more seasoned experience, talents, skills and expertise of more established scholars and researchers.

The Center was very pleased to welcome our 2003-04 Visiting Researchers: Jorge Coelho (MBA and MLIS, University of Illinois), a citizen of São Tomé e Principe, was a former Technology Specialist for the University of Illinois where he designed and conducted instructional workshops on computer skills for predominantly African-American communities in Champaign and East St. Louis, Illinois. Jorge Coelho’s research investigation during his affiliation with the Center was a very important research project entitled “Calculating the Value of Information.” This project, conducted on-site in São Tomé e Principe, in Africa, became a cornerstone in the Center’s new global outreach strategy to African nations and other African diasporas where the aim of the research is to study information technologies and their value as an essential societal and economic resource in developing African nations. Building upon his business administration and library information sciences background, Jorge Coelho devised cost-effective and user-friendly technology training workshops for students in São Tomé under the auspices of the Center for Black Studies. In addition to assisting with the planning of our AfroGEEKS: From Technophobia to Technophilia conference, Jorge Coelho presented some preliminary findings from his research in São Tomé at the AfroGEEKS conference at UCSB in May 2004. His paper was entitled “Global Africa: Mastering the Upcoming Technology complexity at a Minimum Cost.”

William Jones (MPS, Master of Professional Studies, Pratt Institute, New York), a new media artist from Brooklyn, New York has considerable technical expertise in the areas of digital technologies and the fine arts, consulting and teaching new media skills in the African Diaspora. He is a graphic designer who also works as an adjunct instructor in New York City at both the College of New Rochelle, School of New Resources and also at Medgar Evers College, School of Business. From March 2000 to September 2001, Jones served in Ghana, West Africa as a lecturer of computer graphics, design and illustration. As an accomplished visual artist, he has exhibited his work at performing arts centers, fairs, expos and other venues across the United States. His research project during his residency at the Center was the development of a scholarly and creative study of Afro-Brazilian aesthetics in Brazilian carnivals and the role of technology today in this African Diasporic cultural tradition. William Jones also made several presentations across the UCSB Campus including at the Center’s “Presenting the Future” event (Jan. 13, 2004), an informal talk on his research for the African Studies Research Focus Group (Jan. 2004), a guest lecture in a Black Studies class, among others. William Jones also led several new media workshops in our community outreach partnership with the Santa Barbara Museum (March 2004). Also, William Jones was instrumental in the planning and execution of our AfroGEEKS conference.

External Review
In 2003-04, The Center finally underwent a long overdue external review. The External Review Committee (ERC) acknowledged many important accomplishments that the Center has achieved during the 5-year period under review. The ERC recognized and singled out some of the strengths of the Center including our record of conference organizing and public lecture series, and our Journal of Haitian Studies. The ERC report commended the Center for raising the profile of UCSB among scholars in the field of Black Studies. Finally, the Center is cited for its “rich history of engaging and advancing this field.” Along with the ERC, we believe the Center “is well-positioned to become a significant Center for research extending and augmenting” the long tradition of black scholarship. Of course the external review report made recommendations for further growth and development.

New Media Equipment
Finally, the Center further improved upon its newly renovated conference room by purchasing a new multimedia, audio-visual projection system for research, colloquia and other illustrated presentations. In addition to enabling the Center researchers, visitors and staff to present their work in an efficient public space with efficient audio-visual and new media capabilities, the equipment purchases helped the Center improve its programming and cut its budget expenditures by eliminating the need for expensive equipment rentals.

The Center has grown significantly in AY 2003-04. The Center’s record of scholarly publications, conferences and colloquia, town and gown (community outreach) events, Postgraduate/Visiting Scholars Fellowships, and awards and grants reached unprecedented levels in the Center’s more than 30-year history. We anticipate that the Center for Black Studies will continue to build upon its previous successes even as it pushes forward in new directions of research and other scholarly pursuits.

Other Projects and Activities
Academic Projects
In addition to the distinct research agendas developed annually at the Center, the number of symposia, colloquia, and conferences that its hosts regularly also promotes and encourages the new and developing research and scholarship of UCSB faculty members from a variety of academic departments including Black Studies, Education, English, History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Film Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicana/o Studies, and Women's Studies Programs, among others. The Center widely publicizes its academic programs and makes them available to the entire campus community. Another important component of the Center’s academic mission is the frequent collaborations with other Black, African and African American Studies and Ethnic Studies units at campuses within the UC-system, and throughout the larger national and international academic communities. The Center’s regular colloquia and speakers’ series have become especially important academic forums for new and junior faculty working in black studies to introduce and receive input on their research projects. Although these annual colloquia certainly include participation from UCSB, UC-system-wide and non-UC faculty and at all career stages, they also provide a special function in that they serve to acquaint UCSB’s new (to the campus) and junior faculty with other faculty, students and administrators outside their respective departments and disciplines but who may be working in similar or related areas. The Center also participates regularly in events and programming with other units at UCSB including the Multicultural Center, the Associated Students organization, the Women's Center, the Education Program for Culture Awareness (EPCA), the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and Arts & Lectures.

1. Food for Thought Lunchtime Colloquium Series
The Center's popular lecture series continued with presentaions by over a half-dozen prominent scholars on an exciting array of subjects. A detailed list of speakers and their topics is given in the projects section of this report.

2. AfroGEEKS: From Technophobia to Technophilia Conference (May 7-8, 2004). AfroGEEKS is a new interdisciplinary conference begun last year at the Center for Black Studies that focuses on issues of technology access, literacy, and adoption among underserved African Diasporic communities. This conference was unique in that its primary goal was to move the discussion of black peoples’ engagement with information technologies (IT) beyond the limiting perspective of the digital divide. In May 7-8, 2004, we convened the first AfroGEEKS conference that attracted over 150 prominent scholars, scientists, students, entrepreneurs, artists, and activists over the two days of the conference’s duration. Now, the Center for Black Studies strives to expand and further develop this successful and important endeavor. As a follow-up, the Center will host a second AfroGEEKS conference in the spring of 2005. We are pleased to report that based upon the success of the first conference, the Center has attracted major funding for this second conference from the Ford Foundation.

 

 

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