A. Visiting Researcher
We have been exploring the idea of inviting researchers from other universities to utilize the Center's resources and to be in residence at UCSB. Dr. Jacob Olupona, faculty member at UC Davis, was the first to accept the invitation. He was in residence at the Center from late January to the end of July 1998, and we were able to write a grant proposal together (African Indigenous Religions), among other things. Having a senior scholar at the Center with whom to exchange ideas and seek advice was extremely beneficial for the Center and the projects we are working on.
Dr. Jacob Olupona
Dr. Olupona has taught such courses as: African Traditional Religions; Christianity in Africa; African Religions in the Americas; Religion, State and Society in Africa; Comparative History of Religions in West Africa; Islam in Africa and the Americas; Black Religious Experience in the USA; Yoruba Language; Sociology of Religion; Phenomenology of Religion; Method and Theory in the Study of Religion; Anthropology of Religion; Introduction to Islam; and Myth, Symbol and Ritual.
Dr. Olupona began his visiting appointment here in January 1998 and remained until July. While here, he worked on his project, "Yoruba Thought and Culture: Insights From Ifa Divination Poetry. While in residence here, Dr. Olupona gave two public lectures, one at the Center for Black Studies, Singing the Lords Song in a New Land, the other, "The City of Two Hundred and One Gods: Ile-Ife in Time, Space, and the Imagination, took place in the Religious Studies Department. Dr. Olupona has since returned to UC Davis where he is currently the chair of the Religious Studies Program and Professor in the African-American and African Studies Program.
B. New Scholarly Organization:
"Thirteen Haitian scholars met in April 1997, at UCSB for a colloquium on Haitian Vodou, The Spirit and The Reality: Vodou and Haiti. At the end of the conference, these scholars decided to institutionalize their efforts through a new association under the name, the Congress of Santa Barbara.
Imbued by a sense of collective wisdom and aware of the long, difficult and constant struggles and crises undergone by their homeland, the Founders and others who have joined them pledged to create a space where scholarship on Vodou can be augmented. Cognizant of the meaning and the implications of this historic reunion where Haitian scholars seized the initiative, the congress proposes to have an impact on Haitian cultural politics as well as on resulting measures and policies that affect the Republic of Haiti.
The presence, role, and importance of Vodou in Haitian history, society, and culture are unarguable, and recognizably a part of the national ethos. The impact of the religion qua spiritual and intellectual disciplines on popular national institutions, human and gender relations, the family, that plastic arts, philosophy and ethics, oral and written literature, language, popular and sacred music, science and technology and the healing arts, is indisputable. It is the belief of the Congress that Vodou plays, and shall continue to play, a major role in the grand scheme of Haitian development and in the socio-economic, political, and cultural arenas. Development, when real and successful, always comes from the modernization of ancestral traditions, anchored in the rich cultural expressions of a people.
The Congress of Santa Barbara invites other Haitian scholars and non-Haitians who subscribe to its goals and objectives to join it in the defense and illustration of this poto-mitan on the Haitian cultural heritage that is such an integral part of the nations future."
The work of the Congress of the Santa Barbara is part of the larger Indigenous Religion Project that the Center plans to develop.
C. Conferences Organized
2. The Spirit and the
Reality: Vodou and Haiti Colloquium II, held at
Symposium, co-sponsored by the Department of Black Studies and the Multicultural
D. Colloquia (schedules attached)
Fall 1997 Colloquia
Richard Flacks, Sociology Department, UC Santa Barbara:
Ines Talamantez, Department of Religious Studies, UC
Fred Moten, English Department, UC Santa Barbara:
Giles Gunn, English Department, UC Santa Barbara:
Avery Gordon, Sociology Department, UC Santa Barbara:
Anna Everett, Department of Film Studies, UC Santa
Gaye Johnson, University of Minnesota:
Winter 1998 Colloquia
France Winddance Twine, Sociology Department, UC Santa
Maureen Driscoll, Writing Program and David
Wakefield, Graduate School of Education:
Aaron Jones: Alumni, Former UCSB AS President:
Jean Pierre-Brax, Independent Filmmaker and Producer:
Marc-A Christophe, University of the District of
Alycee Lane, English Department, UC Santa Barbara:
Jacob Olupona, African-American and African Studies, UC
Davis: Professor Olupona, a visiting researcher, is also a recipient of a John Simon
E. Other Activities/Workshops Sponsored
Presentation: Claudette Werleigh Former Prime Minister of Haiti: Grass Roots Womens Movement in Haiti: Fifteen Years of Political and Economic Organizing. Ms. Werleigh also served as Haitis Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief of Staff and Minister of Social Affairs. She is also founder and director of a womens grass roots organization called Lig Pouvwa Fanm.
Workshops: Anti-Defamation League/National Day of Race Dialogue: Can We Talk? National Days of Dialogue on Race Relations. Nationwide groups of concerned citizens participated in small group dialogues to increase understanding and cooperative action between citizens of different races and ethnic backgrounds within their communities. The Center for Black Studies organized two workshops at the MCC for the National Day of Race Dialogue (Jan. 14, 1998) with the assistance of facilitators from the Anti-Defamation League and Epca.
Presentation: Gerald Horne: Proposition 209 and the Fate of Affirmative Action. Dr. Horne is a professor of African and Afro-American Studies, History, and Communications Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. We received funding for this event from Office of Affirmative Action & Division of Student Affairs.
Presentation at the Womens Center
Presentation at the Womens Center
F. Co-Sponsored Activities
Santa Barbara Jewish Federation, Santa Barbara News-Press, Exhibition: Anne Frank in the World. A month-long program consisting of an opening ceremony at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, art exhibits, lectures, films and presentations throughout the city of Santa Barbara and the UC Santa Barbara campus.
Graduate School of Education, UCSB and Center for Black Studies, Presentation: Michele Foster, Studying Social Interaction in Educational Settings. Dr. Foster is a professor at the Claremont Graduate School in Pomona, California. She is studying race, class and gender and the impact they have on childrens lives and classroom instruction.
Anti-Defamation Holocaust Education Program, Karpeles Manuscript Museum Auditorium, Conference: A Look Through the Eyes of an African American, Leon Bass. Dr. Bass is a retired Philadelphia high school principal. He describes the nature of racism and its powerful effect on one man. He witnessed the unspeakable horrors when his army unit marched into the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. The memories of what he saw drove Dr. Bass, as an educator, to commit himself to teach the lessons of the Holocaust to schoolchildren.
KCSB Radio Station, MultiCultural Center,
Department of Psychology, UCSB and Center for Black
The UCSB Womens Center, Conference: Seventh Annual National Student Conference on Campus Sexual Assault. Students from around the country visited UCSB to share their educational programs and conduct workshops to examine the links between sexual violence and other forms of oppression.
American Indian Student Association, Lecture: Chief Joseph Chasing Horse. Chief Chasing Horse is an ordained Sun Dance Chief and ambassador to the United Nations for the Lakota Sioux Nation. He is also a direct descendant of the great spiritual leader, Crazy Horse.
El Congreso, Raza College Day: The Sixth Annual Raza College Day events focused on the importance of higher education for students of Latino descent.
Ethnomusicology & Anthropology Departments, Workshop: West African Dance Workshop. Youssouf Koumbassa, formerly of the National Ballet of Guinea, is teacher and choreographer of this workshop. He has taught West African dancing throughout North America, Europe, Africa, Russia, Bangladesh, India, Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada. Karamba Dambakate is the lead drummer.
MoonSisters Drum Camp, Workshop: Afia Walking Tree The African Shekere: Using Percussion to Represent Transcultural Experience. Ms. Walking Tree has been studying and teaching African Diasporic Drumming and Shekere for more than seven years.
Dramatic Arts, Lecture: Sthembile West: African Aesthetics in Contemporary US Culture. Dr. West received her Ph.D. in African-American Studies from Temple University. Currently, she lectures at many universities throughout the United States.
George Washington Carver Scholarship Club, Inc., Fundraiser: Dinner & Dance to raise funds for future scholarships to be awarded to local high school graduates and college students.
Educational Opportunity Program & Education Program for Cultural Awareness, Presentations: Black Culture Week activities: Week-long activities observing and celebrating African American and Black Culture. Activities included various guest speakers, films, dance, arts & crafts, and food.
Asian! AS Program Board, Black Student Union, Lecture: Geronimo ji Jaga Pratt. Mr. Pratt will speak on his recent release from prison where he served a 27-year term for a murder he could not possibly have committed. While Mr. Pratt is celebrated more as a former member of the Black Panther Party, he also worked jointly with the Republic of New Afrika, the Black Liberation Army, and the Brown Berets, proving his loyalty to all peoples liberation struggles. Reception to follow.
Associated Students Program Board, Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Project Crossroads. Presentation/Panel discussion: The Evolution of Rap: Past, Present, and Future. The panel discussion explored the history and culture of rap music. Panelists include Tricia Rose, Professor of Africana Studies at New York University and author of Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America; hip hop pioneer Kurtis Blow; Cheryl Keyes, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at UCLA; Earl Stewart, Assistant Professor of Black Studies at UCSB; Jon Cruz, Associate Professor of Sociology at UCSB; Travis Dixon, UCSB graduate student; and Ndidi Oriji, UCSB undergraduate student. A reception followed with live rap music and a variety of Cajun and Soul foods.
Brooklyn College CUNY, Colloquia: The Spirit and the Reality: Vodou and Haiti Colloquium II (see Conferences above).
G. REPORT FROM DR.
SHIRLEY KENNEDY, CULTURAL AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS COORDINATOR
The Academic work of the Center for Black Studies is well known and highly respected. The Centers contribution to the intellectual life and reputation of UCSB has traveled beyond its walls, through the work, the research, and the publications of its Fellows and its faculty associates. One component of its work that is less well known is the Centers community outreach. Below is a brief outline of some of the Centers intramural and extramural activities, past and present.
The Center for Black Studies realizes the important role that an institution such as UCSB plays in the surrounding community. The Center therefore recognizes its own role in taking leadership and assuming responsibility. The Center for Black Studies is the campus component most able to respond to increasingly frequent calls for cooperative endeavors among campus entities, and between town and gown. The Center has a rich history of exchange with the community, including cooperative projects with the Center for Chicano Studies, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee, and others. This memo will focus on recent activities.
The Center was central to the organization of a day of workshops on the MLK Holiday last year, entitled, Its Not A Day Off; Its a Day On. Faculty members from several disciplines conducted workshops on topical issues.
The Center played an important supporting role in organizing the Santa Barbara NAACP Not In Our Town forums. The forums addressed incidents of racism that had occurred in Santa Barbara, and explored ways in which the community can come together and meet this threat to the common well being.
The Center sent a representative to the Outreach Committees Anne Frank in the World activities, a month long series of events which both commemorated the ordeal of Anne Frank, and examined global racism. The Center, together with the Santa Barbara NAACP, sponsored two video programs with discussion. The two programs were: Not In Our Town, a video about the response of the people of Billings, Montana to racial incidents; and, The Shadow of Hate, a history of bigotry in the U.S. The Center hosted a reception for Dr. Leon Bass. Dr. Bass spoke about his experiences as a member of the Black tank battalion that liberated several of the death camps in Germany at the end of WWII.
The Center was the lead organization applying for a multi-disciplinary Crossroads grant to bring Chinese jazz musician, Fan Shengqi to UCSB. Many departments, campuses and other organizations cooperated to make this three-week series a success. A second grant was awarded for the purpose of editing the videotapes of the events down to classroom length.
Last year the Center initiated a meeting with Dos Pueblos high school principal and faculty to explore the possibility of a partnership between the University and the high school in closest proximity to the campus.
The Center is collaborating closely with the Department of Black Studies to plan their thirtieth anniversary celebration.
The Outreach Committee of last years Anne Frank events has reconstituted itself, and has formed a new committee called Building Bridges, whose goal is to continue the momentum, and build on last years success. A calendar of events will be presented in October focusing on the theme of people reaching out to others in a positive way. The Centers representative on the Steering Committee has been integral in the formation of these plans.
The Center is mindful of opportunities to promote
cooperative endeavors with a variety of campus and community organizations. In
keeping with this goal, the Center supports a variety of activities such as Black Culture
Week, KWANZA, Upward Bound, STEP, Black Graduation, and many others. In times of
crisis, the Center is prepared to step in and play the role of mentor, as happened last
year with the shocking and tragic deaths of two former students. The Center has
established a study lounge in their memory.