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© 2004
Center for Black Studies
Updated
Annual Report 2004

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Annual Report 2003

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Other Academic Projects and Activities

Overview
In addition to the more general research and conference agendas developed annually at the Center for Black Studies, there are a number of theme-based black studies research symposia, colloquia, and other projects directed by UCSB faculty and visiting scholars that the Center supports, promotes and encourages 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. 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 platforms for new and junior faculty working in black studies, which function to introduce their original projects and generate much-needed input on their developing research projects. Although these annual colloquia certainly include participation from UCSB, UC-system-wide and non-UC faculty at all stages in their careers, 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 the UCSB Arts & Lectures program. The Center widely publicizes its academic programs and makes them available to the entire campus and larger Santa Barbara community.

1. Food for Thought Lunchtime Colloquium Series
The themes covered in this past year’s Food for Thought Colloquium Series were a compelling illustration of the range of issues central to research on the black world. From art to literature and from politics to religion, all the speakers in the series demonstrated the ways in which topics explicitly highlighting race have more universal application, and how those ostensibly race-free projects indeed have racial dimensions. Apart from being well-attended (with the audience, for some lectures, spilling out into the corridor), the lectures frequently generated discussions that continued long after the formal presentation.

Professor Albert Raboteau, Henry W. Putnam Professor of Religion at Princeton University, opened the series on 2 October 2004 with a talk entitled, “The Politics of Religion and Social Justice.” In his talk Professor Raboteau traced his own intellectual development within the larger context of this country’s religious and social history. It was a prime example of the conjuncture of the biographical, historical, and the spiritual.

Professor Raboteau’s talk was followed by Professor Herbert M. Cole’s lecture, “The Politics of Maternity: Mother and Child Imagery in African Arts” on 22 October. Through a rich array of slides of art forms from throughout the continent, Professor Cole, Professor of Art History here at UCSB, discussed the significance of the mother and child motif in African art and how it at once challenges and reinforces idealized gender roles.

UCSB Professor of Sociology, Howard Winant, addressed the “New Racial Politics in the 21st Century” on 20 November. Expanding on some of the themes that he underscored in his latest book, The World is a Ghetto, Professor Winant drew attention to how race is (en)coded in everything from domestic political issues to the causes of war to the primary victims of disease. He concluded his talk with a forecast of the political challenges that progressives worldwide will face in the coming years.

Dr. Cristina Venegas, Assistant Professor of Film Studies here at UCSB, followed on 22 January of this year with a talk entitled, “Cuba, Digital Culture and the Special Period.” In her talk Professor Venegas discussed the ways in which the use of the Internet by Cubans with access to computers is expanding, among other things, the public sphere in Cuba and challenging the official limits of political and social expression in that country.

Also from Film Studies, Assistant Professor Peter Bloom shared his research on how French image makers contrasted African-American and African boxers in the inter-war years. In short, Dr. Bloom found that whereas the former were seen as the embodiment of all that was modern and forward-looking, the latter were considered primitive and backward-looking.

UCSB Assistant Professor of English, Darieck Scott, gave the series’ final academic lecture on 21 March. Speaking on “The Sexual Scene of Slavery: Notes on Black (Male) Subjectivity and Toni Morrison’s Beloved,” Professor Scott analyzed the manner in which Morrison addresses black male sexual abuse under the slave regime in that work. To her credit, Scott argued, Morrison explores a subject no less horrific than then sexual violation of enslaved black women.

Finally, the series ended on 21 April with Michael Coffey’s discussion of “The University of California’s Role in Nuclear Weapons Development: A Community Perspective.” Representing the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Mr. Coffey gave an informative talk on the extent of the University of California’s involvement in nuclear development, much of it hidden from the public. Mr. Coffey called on the University of California not only to make public its nuclear research, but also to dismantle those programs that serve military ends.


2. Second Annual Shirley Kennedy Lecture
In honor of the late UCSB scholar, professor and Santa Barbara community activist, Dr. Shirley Kennedy, distinguished Professor Dr. Manning Marable delivered the Second Annual Shirley Kennedy Lecture on 28 January in the Multi-Cultural Center auditorium. In his address, “Living Black History: Defending Higher Education and the Black Intellectual Tradition,” Dr. Marable, Professor of Public Affairs, Political Science, and of History at Columbia University and founding director of that school’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies, stressed that the aims of black scholars have been not only to document the social action of black people and, in many cases, to correct the existing distortions of that activity, but also to transform the societies in which they operate. Professor Marable should know this well, for this has been precisely his objective in such works as How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America, Black American Politics, African and Caribbean Politics, From the Grassroots, Speaking Truth to Power, and Black Leadership. He also discussed his efforts at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies as well as those of others at comparable programs to encourage black students to pursue graduate work. Finally, Professor Marable shared with the audience some of his current work on what will surely be the standard biography of Malcolm X. This event was co-sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor.

3. Black History Month Event
In collaboration with the Center for Chicano Studies, the Fund for Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the UCSB Arts and Lectures program, the Center co-sponsored a screening and panel discussion of Jonathan Demme’s poignant documentary film, The Agronomist, in Campbell Hall on 2 February. At once the tragic story of radio personality and political activist, Jean Dominique, owner and operator of Haiti’s only independent radio station, Radio Haiti Inter, who was ultimately assassinated by the agents of those politicians he criticized in April 2004, the film was also emblematic of the struggles to eke out a new a model of participatory civil society in Haiti and effect significant democratic change in politically repressive societies throughout the world. A panel discussion followed the screening to address the many themes raised in the film, such as: the current political situation in Haiti; the challenges of independent film production; and the strategies of documentary film making. The panelists included: Dr. Anna Everett, Geoff Green (Fund for Santa Barbara), Dr. Claudine Michel, and Dr. Florence Bellande-Robertson (UCLA). Dr. Carlos Morton (Dramatic Art & Dance/Center for Chicano Studies) chaired the panel.

4. AfroGEEKS: From Technophobia to Technophilia Conference
AfroGEEKS is a new interdisciplinary conference begun last year at the Center for Black Studies that focuses on issues of technology access for the African continent and the African Diaspora, information technology (IT) literacy and adoption among underserved black communities across the globe. 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 racial digital divide.

In May 7-8, 2004, the Center for Black Studies 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. The Center for Black Studies” Race and Technology Initiative (RT), that features the AfroGEEKS conference, strives to expand and further develop leading edge research and scholarship around these compelling and important areas of new knowledge production. Among the leading academics, artists, grass roots community activists, entrepreneurs, and scientists sharing their work at the conference were: computer engineer Charles Harper (Sierra Monolithics CEO), new media artist Floyd Webb (e22 digital studios), community activist Anita Brown (Black Geeks Online), professor and filmmaker Carroll Parrott Blue (San Diego State University), poet and activist Kalamu ya Salaam (E-Drum), professor Juan Gilbert (Auburn University), professor Anna Beatrice Scott (UC Riverside), IT specialist Art McGee (Amnesty International), professor Eric Pierson (University of San Diego), professor Raiford Guins (Bristol, England), filmmaker Arthur Jafa, professor S. Craig Watkins (University of Texas-Austin), Ph.D. candidate Fenobia I. Dallas, professor and filmmaker Renee Green (UCSB), businessman James Fugate (EsoWan Books), journalist Greg Tate (Village Voice) and professor Kara Keeling (University of North Carolina), among many others. As a follow-up, the Center will host a second AfroGEEKS conference in the spring of 2005. Based upon the success of the first conference, the Center has attracted major funding from the Ford Foundation for this second conference. (See the AfroGEEKS conference webpage).

5. Anita Mackey Service Awards
This year (2003-04) two students were honored as recipients of the Center’s Annual Anita Mackey Service Award for outstanding service and scholarship. The undergraduate student recipient was Latreese Rutherford (Major in Film Studies and Psychology), and the graduate student was LaShaune Patrice Johnson (Ph.D. student in Sociology).


Anita Mackey Service Award winners with Mrs. Anita J. Mackey

Undergraduate Student Recipient
LaTreese Rutherford:
For her extensive her outstanding contribution to the Center for Black Studies. LaTreese Rutherford has worked as a research assistant for the Center’s director and visiting researchers. As a result of her extracurricular activities and solid academic performance, she was subsequently awarded a prestigious student position at the UC-DC internship program in Washington, D.C. in summer of 2004.

Graduate Student Recipient
LaShaune Patrice Johnson:
For her important scholarship on black women’s public health issues. LaShaune was also singled out for her outstanding work as T.A. in women’s studies and as an active member of the university community.

6. Anita J. Mackey: 35 Years of Service Commemoration and Farewell Reception


Business officer Mahsheed Ayoub, director Anna Everett, honoree Anita J. Mackey, former director Claudine Michel, and associate director Christopher McAuley

The 2003-04 Academic Year was bitter-sweet for the Center for Black Studies because it marked yet another significant transition from a very optimistic past to an even more promising future. Mrs. Anita J. Mackey helped to establish the Center for Black Studies and remained one of its staunchest supporters from its inception to her retirement as an ex-officio member of the Advisory Committee in June 2004. To commemorate her more than 35 years of service to the UCSB Center for Black Studies and the larger Santa Barbara community, Chancellor Henry T. Yang and the Center for Black Studies hosted a festive farewell reception to honor Mrs. Mackey’s loyal and emphatic support for the cause of black studies research at UCSB. This memorable event attracted an impressive number of UCSB administrators, faculty, students, staff, and Santa Barbara community political and civic leaders, and longtime friends. As difficult as it was for the UCSB community to say goodbye to Mrs. Mackey, it was not difficult to understood her desire be closer to close family members at this stage in her long and productive life. Chancellor Yang led the assembly with a moving speech about the extraordinary contributions Mrs. Mackey has given to the Center for Black Studies and the greater Santa Barbara community. He was followed by many others present who expressed their great admiration and gratitude for her decades of activism, community leadership and philanthropic activities.

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