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Fifty Years of Africana Studies: A Symposium

Sat, April 6th, 2019
10:00 am
- 1:00 pm

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Africana Studies presents a series of three consecutive panels with former and current community members (10:00-10:50am), former and current faculty  (11:00-11:50am), and former and current students (12:00-12:50pm) as part of the weekend-long commemoration of its 50-year presence at Williams. Panelists (listed below) will convene, and in conversational style, reflect on the myriad of experiences that have informed their lives within and beyond Williams, with attention to their hopes for and the particular impact of Africana Studies. Attendees will leave with a broad picture of the diverse experiences that comprise Black experience at Williams College.

Africana Studies is an interdisciplinary field that emerged during the 1960s Freedom Movements and that expands our knowledge of the vast experiences of people of Africa and the African Diaspora. In 1969, student organizing at Williams helped usher in what was then Afro-American Studies. To consider fifty years of Africana Studies at Williams College is to acknowledge the ways that the formal study of people of African descent that was institutionalized in 1969 is tied to histories of student organizing and faculty strategic planning. It is also to consider the longer, deeper histories of Black Williams, where the ebb, flow, and “limbo time” of Black experience made plenty good room for what Africana Studies has since become.

Produced in collaboration with other campus partners including The Davis Center (which celebrates 30 years at Williams in 2018), Special Collections, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, Alumni Relations, Communications, and the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Program in Democratic Studies.


10-10:50am   Current and Former Community Members
Sandra Burton, Lipp Family Director of Dance, Moderator
Bilal Ansari, Director of Community Outreach & Acting Director Adrianna DeGazon ’16, Admission Counselor
Arif Smith, Program Manager, Old Town School of Folk Music,Chicago, IL
(Assistant Director, Multicultural Center, 2008-2010; Campus Life Coordinator 2006-2008)

11-11:50am   Current and Former Faculty
Neil Roberts, Associate Professor of Africana Studies, Moderator
Eileen Julien, Director, Institute of Advanced Study, Indiana University
(Assistant Dean and Lecturer in English from 1975-1978, and Assistant Professor of French from 1978-1981.)
James Manigault-Bryant, Associate Professor & Chair of Africana Studies
D.L. Smith, John W. Chandler Professor of English

12:00-12:50   Current and Former Students
Shanti Singham, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History, Moderator
Olaide Adejobi ’19
Sevonna Brown ’15
Bobette Reed Kahn ’73
Khalil Abdullah ’72
Robin Powell Mandjes ’82

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