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© 2004
Center for Black Studies
Annual Report 2005

Director’s Statement

Organizational Chart

Other Projects and Activities


Annual Report 2003

Annual Report 2002

 Annual Report 2001

Annual Report 2000

Annual Report 1999

Other Academic Projects and Activities

To augment the general research and conference agendas developed annually at the Center for Black Studies, a number of theme-based black studies research symposia, colloquia, and other projects are programmed and directed by UCSB faculty and visiting scholars. These Center events generally are closely tied to the research projects and scholarly interests of the Center’s faculty personnel and (with administrative staff input and support), and to the related research interests of affiliated faculty from diverse departments and other research entities on campus.

The Center also participates in and cosponsors regularly programs and activities offered by other departments and 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. Each year 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 topics and issues presented at this year’s Food for Thought Colloquium Series were, as expected, a compelling and provocative mixture of scholarship, creative works and other scholarly discourses that reflect the non-essentialist nature of global black experiences as captured in the unique research projects of Food For Thought presenters. As in previous years, the colloquium series were well-attended and well-received with post-lecture discussions that often exceed the hour-long scheduled lunchtime. Unlike previous years, the 2004-05 Food for thought series was organized, hosted and managed by this year’s Visiting Scholars, Dr. Duriel E. Harris and Dr. Mireille Miller Young. Most of the presentations contained audio/visual components that worked to best advantage with the Center’s new multimedia equipment. The program’s offerings are summarized briefly below:

Dr. Mireille Miller Young, UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the UCSB Center for Black Studies, opened the 2004-05 colloquium series on November 3, 2004, with her talk entitled “’A Hard Road’: Black Women Negotiating Discrimination and Exploitation in Adult Entertainment.” Dr. Miller-Young presented an excerpt from her dissertation A Taste for Brown Sugar: The History of Black Women in American Pornography, which explores black feminist theory, sexual politics, the racialized political economy of sex work, and American film and visual cultures. The talk centered on the role that racism plays in delimiting and determining the economic possibilities and career options for black actresses in adult entertainment.

Dr. Roberto Strongman, new Assistant Professor in the UCSB Department of Black Studies, presented a talk on November 17, 2004, which was entitled “On the Down Low?” Gay Black Closet.” This presentation was organized by Dr. Miller-Young, on the theme of black sexuality. Dr. Strongman’s presentation addressed the cultural phenomenon of “the Down Low” and questioned the historical models of canonical queer texts that locate the transition between homosexual behavior and identity in late 19th Century Western societies. He argued that the experience of African-American men who are sexually involved with other men and don’t consider themselves “gay” serves as an important perspective from which to interrogate the underlying racial assumptions of leading sexuality theorists such as Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, and Judith Butler.

Professor Raja Boussedra, lecturer at the University of Kairouan, Tunisia, North Africa. Prof. Boussedra presented her lecture on February 16, 2005. Her talk was entitled “African American Studies in Tunisia: Past, Present and Future Prospects.” As a specialist in African American women’s writings, she discussed the significance of Black Studies scholarship in Tunisian universities and colleges in the development of new global trends in African Diaspora Studies. She also addressed issues of current significance in the spectrum of African American literary studies, a spectrum increasingly widening to accommodate multiple texts and contexts, emerging voices and shifting borders.

Dr. Duriel E. Harris, 2004-2005 Visiting Scholar at the UCSB Center for Black Studies, presented her talk on March 2, 2005. The title of her talk was “(Un)making AMNESIAC: Oppositional Poetics, Black (Fe)male Bodies, and Trauma.” This presentation was a multimedia work that featured Dr. Harris’s poetry and prose, which reflect a broad range of interests in the African American and African Diasporic expressive arts. She explored the intersection of spoken poetic verse with new media image and sound technologies to represent various expressive registers of traumatic experience, particularly as they pertain to black women’s trauma.

Michael Datcher, poet, playwright and journalist is the author of the New York Times Bestseller and critically acclaimed memoir Raising Fences: A Black Man’s Love Story. On March 30, 2005, Mr. Datcher presented an interactive, spoken word reading entitled “The Lyricism of Fatherlessness: Musicality and the Missing.” Mr. Datcher’s talk was organized by Dr. Harris, on the theme of contemporary black poetics. A member of the World Stage Writer’s Workshop in Leimart Park, in Los Angeles, Mr. Datcher also teaches English Literature at West Los Angeles College and UCLA Extension. His presentation concentrated on the relationship between idiom, genre, and voice, whereby he combined a literary reading with a scholarly talk about the difficulty of black male youths who attempt to negotiate urban street life and aspirations for upward social mobility tied to black community ideals. Dr. Harris organized the talk as a literary salon, opening up the Center space at 11:30 am for informal discussion and mingling with Datcher. The presentation concluded with a guided Critical Response Q&A.

2. Third Annual Shirley Kennedy Lecture

To commemorate the Center’s third annual celebration of the life and contributions of the late UCSB scholar, professor and Santa Barbara community activist, Dr. Shirley Kennedy, distinguished Professor, and Spelman University President Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum was the featured speaker. On January 24, 2005, Dr. Tatum delivered a stirring talk to a standing room only crowd at the Multicultural Center Theater. What made Dr. Tatum’s presentation at the Third Annual Shirley Kennedy Lecture so special was the fact that Dr. Tatum was one of the first ABD Fellows at the UCSB Center for Black Studies. This was a wonderful homecoming of sorts for Dr. Tatum, the Center staff and the larger campus community. Many faculty members who knew Dr. Tatum during those early UCSB years came out and reconnected with her. Dr. Tatum’s talk, “Why Are All the Black Kids Still Sitting Together in the Cafeteria,” revisited key issues from her best-selling book Why Are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria five years after its initial release. In this talk Dr. Tatum discussed progressive changes in and unfortunate setbacks to the civil rights goals of racial desegregation in U.S. colleges and universities. She also talked about challenges faced by historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as they grapple with unanticipated tensions between African American and African student populations over educational resources, as well as the strategies used by black students facing racial hostilities at historically white colleges and universities (HWCUs), among other concerns. Dr. Tatum is also the author of Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community. Dr. Tatum was a dissertation fellow at the UCSB Center for Black Studies from 1980-81. She spent ten years in private practice as a clinical psychologist. She taught at UCSB, Wellesley College, Mount Holyoke College, and other institutions.

Beverly Tatum addresses the crowd at the Third Annual Shirley Kennedy Lecture

3. Special Film Screening/Panel Discussion: An Evening with PRISIONEIRO DA GRADE DO FERRO (Prisoner of the Iron Bars, 2004)

On January 31, 2005, at the Isle Vista Theater, the UCSB Center for Black Studies and the UCSB Center for Chicano Studies co-sponsored this evening’s film/panel event in collaboration with faculty from the Departments of Film Studies and Law and Society. Prisoner of the Iron Bars is a Brazilian documentary film that bears witness to the fact that one year before the destruction of Latin America’s largest prison, Carandiru House of Detention, inmates learned how to use video cameras, record daily life inside the prison and provided astonishing self-portraits and a glimpse inside the Brazilian penitentiary system. Film discussion panelists include: UCSB Professors Carlos Morton, Cristina Venegas, Anna Everett and Paul Amar. Q&A with audience followed the screening and discussion.

4. Black History Month Event(s)

AMNESIAC Critical Response Workshop: Offered by Dr. Duriel E. Harris, UCSB Center for Black Studies Visiting Scholar:

On February 23, 2005, Dr. Harris offered a computer workshop in Kerr Hall on poetry and interactive media using a method adapted from Performance Studies scholar Liz Lerman’s Format for Critical Response. Dr. Harris organized the workshop as a hands-on, first phase of her AMNESIAC Media Art Research Project, a DVD work-in-progress. She demonstrated to students and faculty members her techniques in the AMNESIAC DVD combining original poetry, sound recording, and visual art to investigate the material and psychic displacement endured by Black women as subjects of trauma.

“’Cultural Mulattoism’ and the New Black Aesthetic:” A Special Lecture Presented by Professor Raja Boussedra, UCSB Center for Black Studies Visiting Researcher

Professor Boussedra presented this special Black History Month talk on February 28, at the Multicultural Center. Her presentation was an exploration into the way(s) African Americans have moved through America’s cultural terrain and negotiated their “mutation.” It focused on what Trey Ellis has termed “cultural mulattoism” in his book New Black Aesthetic, which deals with what he sees as new transcriptions of blackness that mark the shifts in perspectives on the so called “neo-African American.” Prof. Boussedra situated Ellis’s concept in the context of claims that blacks do not necessarily have to wear a set identity amid more complex black subjectivities that elude familiar categorizations. Presented from her own perspective as a Tunisian woman, Prof. Boussedra’s talk was illuminating in terms of the global receptions and critiques of African American literary works.

5. AfroGEEKS: Global Blackness and the Digital Public Sphere Conference (April 19-21, 2005, UCSB Corwin Pavilion)

AfroGEEKS is a international, interdisciplinary conference (begun in AY 2003-04 at the UCSB Center for Black Studies) that focuses on issues of technology access for the African continent and the African Diaspora, information technology (IT), and IT literacy and adoption among underserved black communities across the globe. This conference is unique in that its primary goal is to move the discussion of black peoples’ engagement with IT beyond the limiting perameters of the racial digital divide.

Chancellor Henry Yang welcomes the 2005 AfroGEEKS Conference Participants

The Center for Black Studies convened the second AfroGEEKS conference on the UCSB campus during May 19-21. 2005. Conference participants came from Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Britain, Australia, Hawaii, Canada, and across the contiguous United States. AfroGEEKS 2 brought together an impressive number of IT workers comprised of scholars, scientists, students, entrepreneurs, artists, and activists over three days of keynote and special issue panels, a film screening, computer music and new media poetry performances, new computer exhibits, and a digital art showcase. As a part of the Center for Black Studies” Race and Technology Initiative (RT), this second AfroGEEKS conference received major funding from the Ford Foundation to bring in African and African Diasporic technology experts from developing African countries. The overall goal of this international gathering was the expansion and further development of leading edge research, scholarship and best practices that addresses Africa’s changing position in global information societies and economies. Among those sharing their work at the conference were: Patrick Awuah (President and Founder of Ashesi University, a school of Computer science and Business in Accra, Ghana), Anne S. Walker (Special Projects Coordinator, International Women's Tribune Centre, Southbank, Australia), Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng (Director, Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange & WOUGNET--Women of Uganda Network, Kampala, Uganda, Africa), Rita Mijumbi (WOUGNET, Uganda, Africa), Milton Aineruhanga (Program Officer, WOUGNET, Uganda), Dr. Guy Berger (Prof and Head of Journalism Dept. and Media Studies, Rhodes University, South Africa), Jorge Coelho (Computer Programmer and IT specialist, Minsistry of Public Works and Infrastructures, São Tomé e Principe, Africa), Dr. Clarence “Skip” Ellis (Professor, Engineering and Computer Science, U of Colorado, Boulder), Floyd Webb (Filmmaker, Artistic Contributor, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, USA), George Lewis (2002 MacArthur Genius Fellowship Recipient, Edwin H. Case Professor of Music, Columbia University, New York), Dr. Alondra Nelson (Assistant Professor, New Media theorist, Yale University). (See more photos and conference details the AfroGEEKS conference webpage).

Cynthia Hudley (UCSB), Patrick Awuah (Ghana), Guy Berger (South Africa), Emmanuel Njenga Njuguna (Australia) at the Digitizing the Motherland panel at AfroGEEKS 2.


6 . Anita J. Mackey Service Awards

In 2004-05, two undergraduate students were awarded the Center’s Annual Anita Mackey Service Award for outstanding service and scholarship. The very deserving undergraduate student recipients were Syria Cribbs (Major in Black Studies), and Zach Marano (Major in Political Science).

Anita J. Mackey Service Award winners Syria Cribbs and Zach Marano

Undergraduate Student Recipients

Syria Cribbs: For her reliable, highly competent, and outstanding contribution to the Center for Black Studies. Syria Cribbs came to the Center as a student worker when help was desperately needed to prepare and convene the second AfroGEEKS conference. Her pre-and post-conference assistance was invaluable. She also was an excellent student in the Department of Black Studies. Syria Cribbs graduated from UCSB, and plans to attend law school.

Zach Marano: For his three years of service to the Center for Black Studies as an excellent techical support assistant, computer guru, and extremely reliable member of the Center family. Zack Mareno’s technical skills and calm demeanor were essential to the successful of both our AfroGEEKS conferences. In addition to his superb work on the conferences, he has been invaluable to the Center’s smooth computer operations for the staff, and Visiting Scholars/Researchers, regularly trouble-shooting any computer problems that developed. Zack is a Political Science major.

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