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Introduction to African Studies – Spring 2019

Course Number: AAAS 103, CULANTH 105, HIST 129, POLSCI 108, ICS 110

Course Attributes: ALP, CCI, CZ

Course Description:

This course offers a broad introduction to the archaeology, history, politics, language, culture, aesthetics, and religion of African peoples. With the help of a variety of sources—scholarly works by historians, anthropologists, literary figures, filmmakers, and journalist—we will explore the ways in which Africans, across a massive and incredibly diverse continent, have responded to and engaged with the slave trade, colonial overrule, transnational markets, and to other more recent experiences and challenges after political independence.

Faculty Biographies:

Samuel Fury DalySamuel Fury Childs Daly specializes in the history of twentieth-century Africa. His research bridges West and East Africa, and it combines legal, military, and social historical approaches to the study of the past. His current project considers the history of the Biafra War (1967-1970). This book manuscript entitled Sworn on the Gun: Law and Crime in the Nigerian Civil War draws a connection between the crisis conditions of the war and the forms of crime that came to be associated with Nigeria in its wake. Using an original body of legal records from the secessionist Republic of Biafra, it traces how technologies, survival practices, and moral ideologies that emerged in the context of the fighting shaped the practice and perception of crime after Biafra’s defeat. Connecting the violence of the battlefield to violent crime, it provides a new perspective on the discursive relationship between law and disorder in the African postcolony. His other areas of interest include customary law in the British Empire, the history of vigilantism in Tanzania, and the methodologies of postcolonial African history.
 
Anne-Maria MakhuluAnne-Maria Makhulu is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies and Core Faculty in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University. Her research interests cover: Africa and more specifically South Africa, cities, space, globalization, political economy, neoliberalism, the anthropology of finance and corporations, as well as questions of aesthetics, including the literature of South Africa. Makhulu is co-editor of Hard Work, Hard Times: Global Volatility and African Subjectivities (2010) and the author of Making Freedom: Apartheid, Squatter Politics, and the Struggle for Home (2015). She is a contributor to Producing African Futures: Ritual and Reproduction in a Neoliberal Age (2004), New Ethnographies of Neoliberalism(2010), author of articles in Anthropological Quarterly and PMLA, special issue guest editor for South Atlantic Quarterly (115(1)) and special theme section guest editor for Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (36(2)). A new project, South Africa After the Rainbow (in preparation), examines the relationship between race and mobility in postapartheid South Africa.

S19_AAAS_103

Arturo Schomburg and the Jim Crow South

This story was featured on Duke’s Council on Race and Ethnicity, https://sites.duke.edu/dcore/tag/vanessa-k-valdes/.

Written by Camille Jackson

On Wednesday, Vanessa K. Valdés of The City College of New York, presented her research on Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, whose personal collection became the foundation for the Harlem-based and world-renowned Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Valdés is the author of “Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg,” only the second full-length biography.

During her talk, “Building an International Archive in the Jim Crow South: Arturo Schomberg at Fisk University,” Valdés highlighted the collector’s global vision for his collection as well as the importance of access to the material.

The lunchtime talk was the latest installment of “Wednesdays at the Center,” held at the John Hope Franklin Center, which features a different speaker each week throughout the semester.

Valdés, a professor of Spanish and Portuguese, said that Schomburg, a Black Puerto Rican, helped establish Fisk University’s Africana collection in Nashville, now named the John Hope and Aurelia Franklin Library.

“Most have no idea about the man himself,” said Valdés, who pursued her graduate degree in Nashville. There is only one biography of Schomburg and it was published in 1989, she said.

Valdés and Neal

The Carnegie Foundation bought Schomburg’s personal collection for $10k which he used to travel across Europe and further develop his collection. However, he donated much of his work without compensation.

In Nashville, Thomas E. Jones was president of Fisk when Schomburg began assembling the library in 1929. He worked alongside his good friend, sociologist Charles S. Johnson, to replicate what he had accomplished in New York, building a black archive in Fisk University’s Cravath Hall, complete with a reading room.

“At the time, black people were steered toward vocational schools and not necessarily reading for pleasure,” Valdés said. Under Schomburg, Fisk established a reading room to “inculcate a desire” in students to read for pleasure.

“Being an active member of society meant being knowledgeable. He was creating spaces of liberation,” Valdés said. Schomburg spoke through his collection, highlighting moments of black independence and responding to U.S. hegemony in the Caribbean.

The Fisk collection concentrated on presence of people of African descent internationally, taking on a global character, telling the story of blacks in Europe and the Caribbean. There were 140 books when Schomburg arrived and more than 4,000 by the time he left Fisk. His efforts were not replicated at other schools until decades after his death, she said.

Johnson, the first black president of Fisk, acknowledged Schomburg’s “generosity and foresight” in curating books for the university’s then-named Race Relations Institute.

“Johnson was trying to get Schomburg to write his book but he wasn’t interested in that. He only wanted to disseminate his work,” Valdés said. “It’s important to consider different modes of scholarship and knowledge production. Establishing the collection, made it unequivocal that black folks were worthy of study and international analysis.”

The event was sponsored by the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship at Duke.

Introduction to African Studies – Fall 2017

Course numbers: AAAS 103, CULANTH 105, HISTORY 129, POLISCI 108, ICS 110

Course attributes: CCI, ALP, CZ

Course Description:

A range of disciplinary perspectives on key topics in contemporary African Studies: nationalism and pan-Africanism, imperialism and colonialism, genocide and famine, development and democratization, art and music, age and gender.

Professor biography:

Charlie Piot is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, where he has a joint appointment in African and African American Studies.  His area of specialization is the political economy and cultural history of rural West Africa.  His first book, Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West Africa (1999) attempted to re-theorize a classic out-of-the-way place as within the modern and global.  His recent book, Nostalgia for the Future: West Africa after the Cold War (2010), explores shifts in Togolese political culture during the 1990s, a time when the NGOs and charismatic churches take over biopolitics, organizing social and political life in the absence of the state.  His current project is on Togolese who apply for and attempt to game the US Diversity Visa lottery.

 

 

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