The Center for Black Studies (CBS) at UCSB is affiliated with the Office of Research (OR), though it is not an ORU (Organized Research Unit). By its very nature, the Center encourages interdisciplinary academic inquiry. The faculty members who interact with the Center come from a variety of academic departments including Black Studies, Education, English, History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Film Studies and the Women's Studies Programs. We collaborate with the Multicultural Center, the Women's Center, the Education Program for Culture Awareness (EPCA) and Arts & Lectures in pursuing cross-discipline interaction. We work closely with other Ethnic Studies departments at UCSB and with other schools to encourage inter-ethnic research dialogues across disciplines and campuses both within the UC-system and in the larger academy.
In 2001-2002, the Center continued the projects and activities it has undertaken in the previous five years, and those interested in this period should read last year's (2000-2001) summation by Director Claudine Michel. The Center's numerous research and outreach endeavors left no doubt that it is again a viable and valuable unit on campus and in our local, national and international academic communities. Within the next few years our goal is to position the UCSB Center for Black Studies as one of the finest research and cultural centers of its kind. The successes of the past few years suggest that we are well on the way to reaching our objective.
Highlights - Center for Black Studies 1996-2002
The Center's programs, symposia, conferences and research efforts have attracted a number of scholars from various campus departments who now are working very closely with the Center. We are pleased that projects launched from the Center have been of interest to scholars from the UC system, and from such universities as Yale, MIT, Princeton, Harvard, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Chicago, among others. In past years, Professor Jacob Olupona from UC Davis, a Guggenheim Fellow, Professor Gerald C. Horne from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Professor Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, spent time in the Center working on their respective research projects. In 2002, attorney Adjoa Aiyetoro, Adjunct Professor in the Washington College of Law, American University, and Legal Consultant for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA), will be in residence assisting us in the completion of an edited volume on slavery and reparations and teaching in the Department of Black Studies. She has considerable legal experience and has been quite active in a variety of issues pertaining to women's rights, civil rights, and the criminal justice system. She drafted an issue brief, "Police Misconduct and Accountability," for Amnesty International's global campaign on human rights in the U.S.; convened the Third National Conference on African Women and the Law; represented the Lawyers' Committee at a Special Session of the United Nations; and designed and coordinated the delegation to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, People's Republic of China.
A major goal for the Center has been to establish a strong research profile and develop a publication record. A list of some of the major projects currently underway include: "The Comparative Ethnic Studies Project;" "Ethnic Representation and Stereotyping in the Creations of Disney;" "New Vision and New Challenges for Black Women Filmmakers;" "Individual Voices and Collective Vision;" outreach projects on "The Middle Passage," "The Henrietta Marie Project" and the "Teaching of Black History in K-12;" and a community project, "Closing the Cultural and Virtual Divide."
Another research project initiated by the Center resulted from its examination of slavery and reparations and will conclude with a collection of essays on the topic. On May 2-4, 2002, the Center presented "The Legacy of Slavery: Unequal Exchange &endash; A Colloquium on the Socio-Economic Legacy of Slavery," a conference mandated by the California State Legislature and funded by the University of California Office of the President. This gathering brought together a number of scholars from UC and other universities who presented papers on this legacy and its influences on the development of the U.S. and the world economy.
The Center continues its production of three professional videos, "Black Women Filmmakers," on Julie Dash, Diannne Houston, and Camille Billops; "Ethnic Studies Dialogue in the 21st Century," focusing on a discussion between seven prominent scholars; and "Dreamkeeper," featuring Haitian author and winner of the 1999 American Book Award, Edwidge Danticat. The videos should be completed late in 2002.
The Center continues to develop the first UC-based Ethnic Studies Journal, a result of a UC Ethnic Studies Conference held at UC Santa Barbara late in 1999.
Also noteworthy is the work of a number of other projects that already have led to book contracts with university presses. The creation of the Congress of Santa Barbara (KOSANBA), a Scholarly Association for the Study of Haitian Vodou, resulted from our research efforts to document the significant social, economic and political role played by Vodou in the life of Haitian nationals and in furthering Haiti's rapport with the international community. So far this research has resulted in the preparation of two edited volumes to be published under the auspices of the Center for Black Studies. Also, Dr. Patrick Bellegarde-Smith has agreed to publish an additional volume on Indigenous African Religion in the Americas to be included in the same series. The work of the Congress of Santa Barbara is of importance and has great potential for extra-mural funding. It is in line with other major national efforts such as the Indigenous Religions Project of the American Academy of Religion.
In 1999, the Journal of Haitian Studies was revamped and moved to the Center for Black Studies. It is the only refereed journal focusing solely on Haiti and Haiti's rapport with the international community. The journal is published in three languages (English, French and Kreyol) and is interdisciplinary in nature. A new editorial board made up of very distinguished scholars from major U.S. universities and from academic institutions in France, Canada and the West Indies was formed. The journal as currently envisioned represents a major contribution to the fields of Black Studies, Ethnic Studies, Diasporic Studies, and International and Global Studies.
Through the assistance of very capable colleagues from the Advisory Board and with the support of the Center's Associate Director, we were able to mount several additional publications through the Center. The Associate Director, Dr. Jacqueline Bobo, and Director Claudine Michel are co-editors of two volumes of essays written by scholars connected with the Center&endash;faculty, former dissertation scholars, guests and colleagues from other universities. Black Studies: Current Issues, Enduring Questions, was published in 2001 and Centering Black Studies (Routhledge) is forthcoming. Dr. Cynthia Hudley is also co-editor of this second volume. Two other Center associates, Dr. Oyeronke Oyewumi and Professor Helen Pyne-Timothy are editing two additional volumes that also will be published under the Center's auspices. The first volume focuses on women in Africa and the other one on women of African descent in the Americas, Europe and Canada.
In 1999-2000, the Center was awarded the College of Letters and Science "Critical Issues in America" grant. The project entitled "Ethnic Studies Dialogue: A Critical Issue for Twenty-First Century America" included a series of speakers, seminars, films and performances. In conjunction with Professor Bobo's Women's Studies class, the Center sponsored a Black Women Filmmakers Series that showcased the talents of major filmmakers such as Julie Dash, Dianne Houston (the only Black woman nominated for an Academy Award in the Director category), and Camille Billops, among others. As part of two seminars in the Department of Black Studies, the Center hosted celebrated Haitian author Edwidge Danticat, National Book Award Finalist and Winner of the 1999 American Book Award, and noted anthropologist Karen McCarthy Brown among six other prominent scholars. The Center is in the process of making three professional videos on this project &endash; "Black Women Filmmakers," "Ethnic Studies Dialogue in the 21st Century," and "Dreamkeeper" (on award-winning author Edwidge Danticat).
In 1999, the Center hosted a University of California Ethnic Studies conference at a system-wide gathering of prestigious Ethnic Studies scholars in Santa Barbara. The Center's role in coordinating the various units&endash;the Center for Chicano Studies, the Departments of Black Studies, Chicano Studies, and Asian American Studies, as well as the Women's Studies Program&endash;was instrumental in the success of this fruitful venture. We are honored to have earned the trust and respect of our colleagues such that we were able to re-establish the viability of joint Ethnic Studies scholarship on our campus and to a large extent within the UC system and nationally. 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 to be the originator of such a ground-breaking academic endeavor.
Also noteworthy is the work of our Cultural and Community Affairs Coordinator, Dr. Shirley Kennedy, whose relentless presence in local activities has re-positioned the Center as an important player in the Santa Barbara community. To mention just one of our joint ventures with the community, the Center has been involved with the Santa Barbara Building Bridges committee which concomitantly with the Center for Black Studies conference on slavery brought to town in April/May 2002 a major exhibit from the wreckage of the Henrietta Marie, a slave ship that sank near the coast of Florida in the early 1700s. Students from local schools were invited to visit the exhibit. Our outreach project on "The Middle Passage" is in place in three local schools in Goleta and Santa Barbara; this collaboration/partnership with local teachers and students also enhances our visibility. Nicole Williams from the Graduate School of Education serves as Coordinator for the project.
Working with The Center for Teaching Social Justice, which is based in the Gervirtz School of Education at UCSB, the Center for Black Studies submitted a proposal to UCSB for a collaborative outreach effort to elementary and high school teachers from Santa Barbara, the South Coast region, and selected schools in Sacramento and Las Vegas. "Perspectives on History," was funded for $25,000.00 and included in the activities were a Summer Institute in July 2002, and follow-up meetings with the teachers and UC faculty during the school year.
Now that we have reestablished our presence at UCSB and within the larger academic community, we are ready to embark on an aggressive pursuit of extramural research funds. The preliminary inquiries made are promising and it appears that many of our projects are highly fundable. Thus the pursuit of outside funding will be a major part of our agenda during the coming academic years.