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© 2004
Center for Black Studies
Annual Report 2005

Dr. Anna Everett

Director’s Statement

Other Projects and Activities

Organizational Chart

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Annual Report 2004

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    Director's Statement

    The Center for Black Studies (the Center) achieved a number of exciting and important accomplishments during the 2004-05 Academic Year (AY), and set the stage for continued growth and development in terms of our expanding research and publications agenda. It has been rewarding to have the UCSB campus and larger Santa Barbara community’s enthusiastic support for and involvement with many of the Center’s research colloquia, community outreach events, and international conference on race and technology. I am very pleased to report that most of our program offerings were extremely well attended, often with standing-room-only turnouts. AY 2004-05 has been particularly fruitful in terms of the Center’s publications, the Race and Technology Initiative, and the 2nd year of the Visiting Scholar program.

    While we enjoyed a tremendous success in the aforementioned areas, we also had to contend with the unfortunate, permanent leave of our devoted Advisory Committee Chair, Dr. James Smith, due to illness. Fortunately, Dr. Julie Carlson, our Acting Advisory Committee Chair, was willing and capable of taking on those important duties associated with that position. We are all the more grateful to Dr. Carlson because she interrupted her sabbatical leave to work on behalf of the Center. We want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Dr. James Smith for his invaluable years of dedicated service, guidance, commitment and unselfish devotion to the Center for Black Studies.

    It is also the case that in AY 2004-05, the Center received an important vote of confidence from the Office of Research. We were pleased beyond measure that the Office of Research supported our petition to overhaul our long-overdue phone system and copier upgrades. As a necessary complement to our office renovation in AY 2003-04, these office infrastructure improvements go a long way to strengthen our unit’s operational efficiency. In addition, we are grateful to the Office of Research for its part in assisting our procurement of the first large-scale external grant for our Race and Technology Initiative from the Ford Foundation. Thus, we thank the Office of Research for its continued recognition of and support for our important research contributions to the larger UCSB research mission.

    It is important that I make these much-deserved acknowledgements at this time because AY 2004-05 marks my last year as the director of the Center for Black Studies. After three and a half years in this challenging but highly rewarding position, I confess that it has been my joy and pleasure to work with and rely upon the inestimable professional assistance of the Center staff and Community Coordinator, affiliated faculty, visiting scholars, student workers, Office of Research, the Chancellor and the other upper administration members for whatever successes I enjoyed as director of the Center.

    I return now to a brief overview of the Center’s programming and activities during AY 2004-05. During this term the Center welcomed its second cohort of Visiting Scholar/Researcher Fellowship(s), which included the first UC President’s Post Doctoral Fellow hosted by the Center. The Center’s 2004-05 Visiting Scholar was poet-critic and new media practitioner Dr. Duriel E. Harris from the University of Illinois, UC Post Doctoral Fellow, from NYU Dr. Mireille Miller-Young, Dr. Heather Tirado-Gilligan from Rutgers University, and Raja Labadi Boussedra, ABD from the University of Kairouan, Tunisia, North Africa. These dynamic women scholars made significant contributions to the Center’s research, programming, conference and other offerings. The Center’s ongoing Race and Technology Initiative bore fruit with the second AfroGEEKS Conference on race and technology that was funded largely by the Ford Foundation. The successful Food For Thought lunchtime colloquium series was continued and revamped to make better use of the talents of our Visiting Scholars. The Center’s publications program saw an important augmentation with the development and subsequent publication of the first issue of the journal Screening Noir: A Journal of Black Film, TV and New Media Culture, the continued publication of new editions of the Center’s flagship journal, The Journal of Haitian Studies, and the pending publication of works from the 2003-04 and 2004-05 Visiting Scholars in the Center’s Working Papers project. In AY 2004-05, the Center also convened its second Community Roundtable event that brought together the Center personnel, Mayor Marty Bloom, and representatives from a range of Santa Barbara community organizations.

    Race and Technology Initiative

    A central component of the Center’s second year programming for the Race and Technology (RT) Initiative, launched in AY 2003-04, was the May 19-21, 2005 convening of the second AfroGEEKS Conference held at the Corwin Pavilion. This Conference was entitled AfroGEEKS: Global Blackness and the Digital Public Sphere (AfroGEEKS 2). It is important to mention that the impetus for embarking upon a second AfroGEEKS conference was the overwhelming demand by many participants from the first conference. As a result of the incredible response to the first AfroGEEKS conference, we were easily convinced to reconvene the conference, but with a substantial difference. Whereas the earlier conference was supported financially with UCSB funds from across campus (with major funding from the Chancellor’s Office and the Division of Letters and Sciences), the largest funding source for the second conference ($70K) came from the Ford Foundation. AfroGEEKS 2 was distinguished by its focus on technology issues in Africa. It was our primary goals of bringing in significant numbers of IT scholars, activists, artists and other IT workers from developing countries in Africa that interested the Ford Foundation in our grant proposal tied to AfroGEEKS 2. The funding from Ford enabled us to bring in African and people of African descent from several developing African nations including: three (3) from Uganda, (1) from Ghana, (1 ) from South Africa, (1) from Sao Tome, and (1) from Britain. UCSB funding enabled us to bring additional African Diasporic and other IT workers from Australia (1), and South Africa (1). Other self-funded participants came from as far away as Australia, Hawaii, Canada, Britain, and across the U.S. The international diversity represented at AfroGEEKS 2 was striking and productive. Among the expected outcomes of this conference, currently in production, are: a long-term AfroGEEKS website, a scholarly anthology, and DVD featuring videotape excerpts from the conference. Please see the Other Academic Projects section of this report, and our AfroGEEKS page on the Center’s website for more details.

    Continuing Research Programs

    Two continuing research programs begun by the Center in 2002-03 include the Annual Shirley Kennedy Lecture and the Food for Thought colloquium series. The 2004-05 Annual Shirley Kennedy Lecture featured Dr. Beverly Tatum, eminent Professor and President of Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Tatum presented a stimulating and well-received talk from her highly influential book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria. The talk, presented at the Multicultural Center Theater on November 17 2004, was titled “Why Are All the Black Kids Still Sitting Together in the Cafeteria.” The Center’s lunchtime colloquium series, Food for Thought, maintained its appeal to the campus and larger Santa Barbara communities in 2004-05, attracting a significant number of new UCSB faculty and visiting scholars conducting research in black studies and black studies-related scholarship (see details in “Other Projects and Activities” section).

    Journal Publications

    In AY 2004-05 the Center successfully transformed 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), with funding support from the Chancellor’s office and the Division of Letters of Sciences. The inaugural edition of Screening Noir was developed during 2004-05, with publication rollout in October 2005. The special issue of our new journal Screening Noir: A Journal of Black Film, TV, and New Media Culture, is entitled “Blaxploitation Revisited,” which explores the continuing interest in and new scholarship centering on the black action film genre of the 1970s dubbed Blaxploitation Films. The center’s flagship journal publication, The Journal of Haitian Studies (JOHS) continues its growth and development under the editorial leadership of Dr. Claudine Michel, and it serves as an excellent model for the new Screening Noir journal. AY 2004-05 the Center produced two new JOHS editions. In addition to publishing a regular issue, the JOHS produced a second Haitian bicentennial issue on Arts and Culture with special editors Edwidge Danticat and LeGrace B
    enson. (Please see the Center’s website for more information on these journals.)







    Community Outreach

    The Center’s Community Outreach program was successfully administered, for a second year, by our Community Outreach Coordinator Sojourner Kincaid Rolle. Ms. Rolle organized our second Community Collaboration Roundtable in November 2004 (see her “Community Outreach” report). Last academic year the Center held the Community Collaboration Roundtable on campus in the Center conference room. This second important community outreach event was held in downtown Santa Barbara at the Karpeles Center. The event was well attended by a group of UCSB and Santa Barbara community members who gathered to share information of mutual interest to the Center and several Santa Barbara community groups and centers. Included in the November Roundtable meeting were representatives from the Fund for Santa Barbara, UCSB Arts & Lectures, the Contemporary Arts Forum, The Brotherhood of Santa Barbara, the Jewish Community Relations Center, and the Building Bridges Community Coalition. As with last year, Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Bloom, attended the Roundtable, and further established her ties with the Center for Black Studies. The Center’s Community Roundtable resulted in a loose network of organizations that exchanged event calendars, shared best practices and common concerns about various local government issues, among other matters.

    Another important community outreach program begun during this term was Project EXCEL initiated in Fall 2004. Following a series of exploratory meetings, Dr. Julie Carlson (then Acting Advisory Committee Chair) began developing Project EXCEL with advice from Joe Castro, in partnership with Babatude Folayemi (Former City Councilman). Project Excel was conceived as an educational outreach initiative to assist underserved minority youth (in grades 5-12) prepare for entry into higher education. Dr. Carlson was able to raise seed money from the FOG program, Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, and the Office of Academic Preparation and Equal Opportunity to get the program on a solid footing. In addition, Incoming Director Dr. Claudine Michel allocated Center office space for the program. Dr. Carlson, Joe Castro and Babatude Folayemi organized the series of meetings to recruit faculty, students, and community members during the program’s development. Several meetings were held at the Center in May 2005. A later public meeting was held on May 26, 2005 at the Santa Barbara High School Cafeteria with community members, interested students and their parents, especially those likely to be Project EXCEL participants. A follow-up meeting with the community was held at the Franklin Center in July 2005.

    2004-05 Visiting Scholars/Researchers

    The Center’s Visiting Scholar / Researcher program concluded its second year of operation this academic year. By all accounts it has been successful and has met and in some instances even exceeded our goals and expectations. We conducted an open search for the position and Dr. Duriel E. Harris, who received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, was selected for the position. Moreover, we had two additional visiting scholars assigned to the Center for AY 2004-05, NYU Ph.D. Dr. Mireille Miller-Young, a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship awardee, and Dr. Heather Tirado-Gilligan, Rutgers University Ph.D., who came to the Center as part of a faculty partner hire. In addition, Professor Raja Labadi Boussedra, Ph.D. Candidate and Lecturer from the University of Kairouan, Tunisia, North Africa, also served as visiting researcher to the Center. The Center was very pleased to welcome this 2004-05 Visiting Scholars and Researcher cohort. Their scholarship and research complemented the Center’s overall research goals and programming agenda very well.

    Dr. Duriel E. Harris holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, an M.A. from the Graduate Creative Writing Program at NYU and a B.A. in Literature from Yale University. A member of reedist Douglas Ewart’s experimental jazz choir, Inventions, Dr. Harris is a co-founder of The Black Took Collective and the Poetry Editor for Obsidian III: Literature in the African Diaspora. Dr. Harris is the author of Drag, a book of her poetry, which was hailed by Black Issues Book Review as one of the best poetry volumes of 2003. She is also a performance artist. Her appearances include featured performances at Millennium Park (Chicago), the Bowery Poetry Club (NY), the Studio Museum in Harlem and The New Langton Center for the Arts (San Francisco). Dr. Harris has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the Cave Canem Foundation. Her new work on “Soma,” a sound recording, and AMNESIAC, a media art/book projec,t formed the core of her research focus at the Center, and these projects became the source for Dr. Harris’s public lecture and a workshop course on new media offered by the Center. Dr. Harris also organized two of our Food For Thought colloquia.

    Dr. Harris also assisted with the planning of our AfroGEEKS 2 conference. She curated the well-received Digital Gallery component of the conference that consisted of a series of projected multimedia texts exploring issues of blackness and new multimedia media approaches. Dr. Harris also chaired the AfroGEEKS conference’s performing arts panel. An excerpt of Dr. Harris’s work on Amnesiac is currently in the production stage for publication in the Center’s 2004-05 Working Papers Project.

    Dr. Mireille Miller-Young is a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow hosted through the Center. She holds an M.A. and doctorate in American History and History of the African Diaspora from New York University (NYU). Dr. Miller-Young’s research interests concern black feminist theory, black sexual politics, the racialized political economy of sex work, and American film and visual cultures. Dr. Miller-Young is a former Dissertation Fellow in the Department of Black Studies at UCSB, and a winner of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation Dissertation Grant in Women’s Studies. Dr. Miller-Young was a participant in the 2001 Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and has studied at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. She has spoken at numerous conferences, including our AfroGEEKS: From Technophobia to Technophilia conference, and as a guest lecturer in Professor Constance Penley’s course on Pornography in the UCSB Department of Film Studies. As part of her responsibilities at the Center, Dr. Miller-Young presented a public lecture from her dissertation, A Taste for Brown Sugar: The History of Black Women in American Pornography, on historical representations of black female bodies in hardcore visual media, and the politics of black women’s erotic labor in the racial, sexual economy of adult entertainment.

    Dr. Miller-Young assisted with the planning of our AfroGEEKS 2 conference and she served as panel chair at the conference. She also organized and chaired two meetings of our Food for Thought colloquium series, where she presented work from her dissertation. Dr. Miller-Young also coordinated two projects which are currently in production as part of the Center’s 2004-05 Working Papers Project.


    Dr. Heather Tirado-Gilligan is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Black Studies at UCSB, and served as a visiting scholar at the Center for Black Studies for one quarter. She earned a BA in English from the University of Maryland and a doctorate in English from Rutgers University. Dr. Tirado-Gilligan’s research develops and analyzes an archive of uncollected essays and sketches by writers of color culled from nineteenth century American literary magazines such as the Atlantic Monthly, the Nation, and the Independent. Her dissertation, entitled “The Form of Fulfillment: Race, Genre, and Imperialism in American Periodical Culture, 1880-1910,” documents and examines the significant participation of writers of color in the intellectual culture of post-bellum America.

    While at the Center in Spring 2005, Dr. Tirado-Gilligan continued her examination of late nineteenth and early twentieth century literary magazines. Dr. Tirado-Gilligan assisted with theplanning and execution of the AfroGEEKS 2 conference. She is currently developing a website that makes available to the public selections from her archive of nineteenth century writers via the Center for Black Studies. She also will provide editorial assistance on the new Screening Noir journal.

    Raja Labadi Boussedra is a Ph.D. candidate, and Lecturer at the University of Kairouan, Tunisia, North Africa, and a limited appointment Visiting Researcher at the Center for Black Studies. Professor Labadi Boussedra’s educational background includes a degree in Psycho-Pedagogy- Ecole Normale Supérieure (with Honors), a degree in English Literature and Civilization (Maitrise)- Ecole Normale Supérieure, a Cerificat d’Aptitude à la Recherche- Faculté des Lettres de La Manouba, University of Tunis (with Honors), a Masters of Arts, area: Literature.- Faculté des Lettres de la Manouba, University of Tunis, and a Ph.D. Dissertation (to be defended soon): American Literature: “Triple Consciousness in African American Women’s Writing. Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison”- Faculté des Lettres de La Manouba, University La Manouba.

    During February of 2005, Professor Labadi Boussedra was a visiting researcher who offered two special public lectures to commemorate Black History Month. On February 16, 2005, Professor Boussedra delivered a lecture at the Center entitled “African American Studies in Tunisia: Past, Present and Future Prospects,” and on February 28, 2005, she presented an excerpt from her research at the Multicultural Center. That talk was entitled “‘Cultural Mulattoism’ and the New Black Aestheticon. She also worked on a paper for publication in our 2004-05 Working Papers Project.

    Extramural Funding

    Another significant development that occurred in AY 2004-05 was the Center’s successful funding grant proposal submitted to the Ford Foundation in support of the Race and Technology Initiative. The Ford Foundation awarded the Center its first extramural grant in the amount of $70,000. I am particularly gratified by this important milestone in the Center’s financial history, for not only does this validate the Center’s investment in the Race and Technology Initiative, but this Ford Foundation funding sets the stage for the Center’s future grant procurement efforts. The Ford’s funds were earmarked for the Center’s second AfroGEEKS conference, and the public dissemination of the conference proceedings and research generated from the event.

    Additionally, the Center was awarded an Intramural Collaborative Grant from the IHC, funding support for AfroGEEKS 2 and the Annual Shirley Kennedy Lecture from the Offices of the Chancellor, the Executive Vice Chancellor, the Office of Academic Preparation and Equal Opportunity, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Academic Policy, and a number of departments on campus.

    As the foregoing indicates, 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

    The Center’s annual research projects centering on black cultural productions, including histories, cultural studies, art and other creative works and carried out by Visiting Scholars/Researchers is conveyed to the UCSB campus, the larger Santa Barbara community, and national and international academic audiences via a series of symposia, colloquia, and conferences that its hosts regularly. As in past years, the value of these programs is that they promote and encourage the new and developing Black Studies research and scholarship of UCSB faculty members from a variety of academic departments including Black Studies, Education, English, History, Music, Religious Studies, Sociology, Art and Architecture, 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 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

    As the Center embarked upon its third year of offering the popular Food for Thought lecture series, the structure of the program shifted. Rather than continue with the Food for Thought programming decisions and organizations under the control of the director, responsibility for the series logistics was turned over to the Visiting Scholars who executed the program very well indeed. As usual, though, the program was used as an important vehicle for new faculty members conducting research in black studies to share their work with the Center’s diverse constituencies. Junior and other established faculty, and larger Santa Barbara community members also were welcomed to share their new works and projects as well. A detailed list of Food for Thought and other Center speakers and their presentations is given in the projects section of this report.

    Michael Datcher reads from his memoir, Raising Fences, at one of the Center's Food for Thought colloquia.

    2. AfroGEEKS: Global Blackness and the Digital Sphere (AfroGEEKS 2) (May 19-21, 2005)
    The second AfroGEEKS conference expanded upon the 2004 conference and was distinguished mainly by the larger involvement of international participants, a more global view of issues relating to technology adoption and access among black peoples in various nations, and major funding from the Ford Foundation. As with last year, AfroGEEKS 2 was organized around the idea that black peoples’ engagement with new information technologies (IT), or information communication technologies (ICT), as it is termed in most countries, is too often limited to complaints about the digital divide. Our purpose was not to negate the painful reality of disproportionate technology access, but rather to situate the digital divide within the context of simultaneous technology innovation, and creative adoption in spite of structural barriers and retrenchments from universal access programs after September 11. To that end, we convened AfroGEEKS 2, which occurred over three full days of keynote and other special focus panels that attracted approximately 150+ prominent scholars, scientists, students, entrepreneurs, artists, activists and community members. A key element of the conference was addressing the changing role of Africa in the new global information economy. Among the issues affecting developing African nations that were featured at the conference were concerns with IT infrastructure development, Internet activism around gender parity and human rights, next generation wireless communications, ICTs in higher education, grass roots e-business practices, and new media arts. The Ford Foundation funding will enable the Center to produce tangible outcomes from the conference such as the publication of an anthology book that collects the best works from AfroGEEKS 1 and AfroGEEKS 2, a DVD to capture moving image excerpts from the conference, a permanent conference website, and listserv for news and information for participants to exchange information and create networks of communities with common IT interests. The anthology project is in the works and the Center staff is currently collecting and organizing papers for the AfroGEEKS book. For more detailed information on speakers and the program, see the AfroGEEKS website at

    Other Publications

    The Center is also proud to announce two new scholarly anthology books, published in AY 2004-05 under the auspices of the Center for Black Studies, and the University of Illinois Press, and the Palgrave Mcmillan Press. We mentioned in our last annual report (when the books were still in progress) that these two anthologies have grown out of the research and pedagogical initiatives supported by the Center, though the Center itself is not at the present the books’ publishers. We are confident that these publications have been rigorously vetted by the University of Illinois and the Palgrave Mcmillan presses so as to meet the scholarly requirements of the field.

    The first anthology, African Gender Studies: A Reader, edited by Oyèrónké Oyêwùmí, is a work that considers three decades of feminist research showing that gender is a socio-cultural and historical construct. Yet much of the development in the field of Gender Studies is based on European and North American experiences. African Gender Studies: A Reader is a necessary corrective to this longstanding problem. The anthology brings African knowledge to bear on ongoing global engagement with gender and allied concepts: feminism, women's rights, human rights, globalization, development, and social transformation. The book includes a variety of articles that speak to a range of debates in the field of women's studies and African studies, as well as those that address issues in various disciplines including history, literary studies, philosophy, sociology, and anthropology. The second book, Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New World, edited by Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, discusses African Religions as forms of resistance and survival in the face of Western cultural hegemony and imperialism. The collection is unique in presenting the voices of scholars primarily outside of the Western tradition, speaking on the issues they regard as important. Bellegarde-Smith, himself a priest in the Haitian Vodou religion, brings together thirteen contributors from different disciplines, genders, and nationalities. Fragments of Bone draws on an impressive range of sources including research, fieldwork, personal interviews, and spiritual introspection to support the provocative thesis that the fragments of the ancestral traditions are fluidly interwoven in the New World African religions as creolized rituals, symbolic systems, and cultural identities. This book comes out of the KOSANBA Project (a scholarly association for the study of Haitian Vodou) which is housed at the Center for Black Studies.

    Two exhibition catalogs were also published by the Center for Black Studies. The first, The Descent of the Lwa: Journey through Haitian Mythology: The Works of Hërsza Barjon, edited by Claudine Michel, exhibition curated by Babacar M'Bow, celebrates an exhibition of Haitian culture at the Broward County Library in 2004. The second catalog, Ancestral Rays: Journey through Haitian History & Culture Illustrated with the Works of Hërsza Barjon, edited by Claudine Michel, exhibition curated by Ernestine A. Ray. Both of these colorful catalogs showcase the paintings of Hërsza Barjon, accompanied by articles on Haitian cultures and traditions, as well as discussions of Hërsza Barjon's unique artistic vision.

    The Center’s 2003-04 and 2004-05 Working Papers Projects are also in production. The Working Papers Project is designed to assemble a collection of essays contributed by the Center’s Visiting Scholars and Researchers, and other selected contributions from invited speakers. The point is to preserve and share with wider audiences glimpses of the dynamic and wide ranging Black Studies research being conducted at the Center. The essays in production from AY 2004-05 are: Dr. Duriel E. Harris: “(Un)making AMNESIAC: Oppositional Poetics, Black (Fe)male Bodies, and Trauma;” Dr. Mireille Miller-Young: “”A Hard Road’: Black Women Negotiating Discrimination and Exploitation in Adult Entertainment;” “Dr. Roberto Strongman: “On the Down Low: Gay Black Closet;” and Professor Raja Labadi Boussedra: “Toni Morrison’s Beloved in Literature and Film.”

    The proposed Multicultural Studies Journal, conceived as a multi-UC campus venture, remains viable and is still in the planning phase.



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