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CFP: Symposium on African American Culture & Philosophy: "Afro-Latin America: Rethinking, Identity, Politics and Culture"

Call for Papers

The 27th Annual Symposium on African American Culture & Philosophy

Afro-Latin America:
Rethinking, Identity, Politics and Culture

Plenary Speaker: Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo-Hall, Michigan State University

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Kim Butler, Rutgers University

African American Studies and Research Center
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
December 1-3, 2011

In recent decades we have witnessed an outpouring of new research on African-descended
communities throughout Latin America. Black political organizing and grassroots activism have
also exploded in the region, as activists from Colombia to Puerto Rico have sought to increase
the visibility of ongoing questions related to black socioeconomic marginalization. These
endeavors continue to unfold however, within colonial and neoliberal contexts that frequently
interpret Afro-Latin histories and political mobilizations as auxiliary to or subsumed within other
local or national narratives. In particular, black cultural expressions are frequently depoliticized
within the realm of “folklore,” or highly racialized within Latin American film, performance culture,
and national mythology.

Though Latin America has the largest populations of African-descended people outside of
Africa, recent events illuminate the recurring tendency for black histories, cultures and political
expressions to be pushed to the margins of conferences on Latin America, minimizing of the
roles of the multitude of communities of African descent in shaping the contemporary realities
and interactions with nation states. For this reason, there remains an acute need for public
intellectual spaces that privilege Latin American blackness, and rigorously examine the
discourses around it. Thus, the time is certainly propitious to assess the state and direction of
the field of the African Diaspora in Latin America. The symposium responds to this call by
exploring various ways to locate interrogations of Afro-Latin America squarely within the larger
framework of the African Diaspora.

Our focus is designed: (1) to initiate interventionist dialogues about the African presence in Latin
America (2) to generate interaction and discussion around some of the more salient concerns in
the field and (3) to publish selected papers from the proceedings. Through a variety of prisms,
our sessions will promote a reevaluation of African-descended communities vis-à-vis their
agency and objectives past and present. In this manner, we will consider exciting new directions
that African diasporic research is capable of taking when Latin American blackness is placed at
the center.

This conference is framed with the eve of 2012 in mind, a year that marks the bicentennial of
Cuba’s “Aponte Movement” of 1812, and the centennial of Cuba’s “Little War of 1912,” which
followed the organization of the first black political party in the western hemisphere. Albeit one
hundred years apart, both episodes were met with bloody state repressions that became crucial
barometers for the possibilities of racial equity throughout the region. Furthermore, both
anniversaries point to many forms of black resistance throughout the Americas, in colonial and
postcolonial times.

We seek papers and panels from across the disciplines on such sample topics as:

African-descended Communities in Iberia from Medieval to Early Modern Times
The Experiences of Afro-Jamaicans under Spanish Rule
African-descended Women in Colonial and or Post Colonial Latin America
Relations among Native, African, and Asian Communities in Latin America
Religious Interactions among African Theologies, Christianity, and Islam
Relations among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Antilleans at Home and Abroad
Dominicans, Haitians, and Africans in the United States and Spain
Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Communities in Belize, Curaçao, St. Croix, and Trinidad-Tobago
Marronage and other Forms of Militant Resistance
Afro-Latin Americans in the Military
Afro-Latin Americans in Sports Industries
Afro-Latin Americans in Entertainment Industries
Afro-Latin Americans as Authors and Protagonists in Literature
Afro-Cuban Exiles, 1845-2010
Gender, Sexuality and Hip-hop Culture
Blackness and the Spanish American Wars of Independence
Black History, Culture, and Politics in Argentina and the Andes
Black Identity and Spanish Identity in the Central American Republics
Recent Research on Afro-Mexican History and Culture
Racial Belonging and Exclusion in Post-special Cuba

Send paper and panel submissions by May 2, 2011 to:

Venetria K. Patton, Director African American Studies
27th Annual Symposium on Philosophy & Culture
Beering Hall, Room 6182
100 North University Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2098
Email abstracts to: aasrc@purdue.edu [Include “Abstract” in subject line]
Website: http://www.cla.purdue.edu/african-american/

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