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The late Conseula Francis (1973–2016), the former director of the African American Studies Program, was deeply committed to mentoring and supporting junior faculty, and one of the many ways in which she championed the work of junior scholars in the field of African American Studies was to establish the Emerging Scholar Lecture Series. We still feel the loss of Conseula every day, and to commemorate her unflagging commitment to our program and to the work of junior scholars, we have named this lecture series in her memory.
This year, Sami Schalk, an assistant professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will deliver a Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture on September 10, 2018. She published her book, Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction with Duke University Press in 2018, and her lecture will draw upon the main arguments put forth in that project. Her research traces how black women’s speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds—the intertwinement of the mental and the physical—in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability. Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, Professor Schalk demonstrates that this genre’s political potential lies in the authors’ creation of bodyminds that transcend reality’s limitations. Outlining (dis)ability’s centrality to speculative fiction, Schalk shows how these works open new social possibilities while changing conceptualization of identity and oppression through non-realist contexts. Her other publications include articles in Disability Studies, African American Review, Palimpsest, the Journal of Modern Literature, and the Journal of Popular Culture, among others. Professor Schalk’s lecture is titled “Black Women’s Speculative Fiction and the Deconstruction of Able-Mindedness” and will be held at 6:00 pm in Addlestone Library Room 227.
The African American Studies Study Abroad Program began in 2012 with Roneka Matheny. During the Maymester, she took a group of students to the island of Barbados. The following academic year, I was asked to continue the program. Instead of organizing a subsequent trip in the summer of 2013, with the assistance of Mary Battle, I had the pleasure of taking a planning trip to Barbados. Prior to my travels, Mary Battle connected me with Rhoda Green, the Honorary Barbados Consul to South Carolina who resides in Charleston, SC. She provided me with significant information on the history of the connectedness between Charleston and Barbados, along with providing me the names of several individuals to contact and plan to meet while in Barbados. As I embarked to Barbados, I had the privilege of meeting with several stakeholders who were vested in seeing the program continue as it did in 2012. I met with Janet Caroo, Marketing Officer and Regional Student Development at UWI-Cavehill, and Kevin Farmer, Deputy Director of the Barbados Museum & Historical Society. This planning session provided us the opportunity to work out details for the study abroad trip (e.g., costs; classroom space; dorm space; tours, etc.). Upon my return to Charleston, Dr. Conseula Francis and I created a planning committee that included the relaunching of the trip for the summer of 2014. During the 2013-2014 academic year, we actively promoted the trip through the Center for International Education, along with emails to the African American Studies minors as well as other students enrolled in our classes.
We billed the program as a bridge to Rhoda Green’s Carolina-Barbados Foundation, by highlighting the social, economic, political, and cultural link between Charleston and Barbados. Barbados has a unique cultural history with the low country. From the plantation life to architecture, there are relics of historic Charleston that owes its existence to Barbados.
Our recruitment efforts resulted in securing ten CofC students for the three-week study abroad trip. The program was organized into two sections. The first week students remained in Charleston, SC exploring the local history of Charleston, and its link to Barbados, by visiting Charlestowne Landing and Magnolia Plantation. Students also had an opportunity to meet with Mrs. Rhoda Green, who provided an in-depth history of the Carolinas-Barbados connection. The remaining two weeks were spent in Barbados where students took 6-credit hours (Comparative Black Identity; Blackface in the Global Imaginary); participated in several island tours exploring the local history (e.g., Barbados Museum of History; Mount Gay Rum Tours; St. Nicholas Abbey; Speighstown; walking tour of historic Bridgetown). Additionally, students were also able to explore the island as a group, void of professor oversight. During this time, students were able to shop, meet and interact with the locals, and connect classroom course information with the physical, tangible world of Barbados.
As an assignment, students were required to make daily posts on a created blog to chronicle their group outings and adventures. The videos below are examples of our experiences on the beautiful island of Barbados.
In the upcoming academic year, Roneka Matheny plans to relaunch the AAST Study Abroad program. She plans to create a broader, more comprehensive program where students would spend two weeks in Charleston, again exploring the cultural and historical links to the Caribbean; two weeks in Barbados; and two weeks in Jamaica. Although course proposals are in the preliminary stages, the two purported courses would focus on the use of music as a form of social protest (e.g., Bob Marley) and on the shared Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade History.
Dr. Anthony D. Greene
Adeyemi Oduwole’s internship at the Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology, at the University of Pennsylvania
In 2013, the remains for 36 likely African and African-descendant individuals were found during renovations at the Gaillard Center. These burials date to the 1760s-1800. Dr. Ade Ofunniyin (African American Studies) and Joanna Gilmore (Sociology and Anthropology), adjuncts at the College of Charleston and Gullah Society staff, are now working with Prof. Theodore Schurr and Raquel Fleskes, molecular anthropologists at the University of Pennsylvania, to explore the ancestry of the Anson Street individuals, prior to their reburial and the construction of a monument.
The Gullah Society is supported by the City of Charleston in this project and, with our colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, has applied for a grant from the National Geographic Society, to conduct ancient DNA research to learn more about the individuals buried at Anson Street and to take DNA samples from 36 living individuals to try to find any ancestral ties between those buried at the site and those living in Charleston today. The Gullah Society is currently researching 18th century property owners for the land at George and Anson Street to try to identify and offer DNA tests to living descendants of the deceased.
This summer, a student from the College of Charleston, Adeyemi Oduwole, will complete a four-week internship with Dr. Theodore Schurr & Raquel Fleskes at the Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology, at the University of Pennsylvania. Adeyemi is a junior, majoring in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry – Pre-medicine. During his time in Pennsylvania, Adeyemi will learn how to characterize the mitochondrial DNA diversity of 36 contemporary individuals from Charleston.
She tasked the students with creating an engaging, educational video about an assigned topic. Many of these videos were created with iPads from the Addlestone Library as a part of the College’s Program to Bring iPads into the Classroom.
Congratulations to all the students and their outstanding work!
Professor Deirdre Cooper Owens, who delivered the 2017-2018 Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture in March, received the Organization of American Historians’ Darlene Clark Hine Award for her book, Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology (2017). The OAH also selected her as a speaker for the upcoming academic year’s OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program. Congratulations, Professor Owens!
We will be announcing the invited speakers for the African American Studies Program’s 2017-2018 Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture Series in the coming months.
In conjunction with Professor Crabtree’s LCWA Junior Faculty Colloquium, Nicole Guidotti-Hernández will deliver a public lecture titled “Latinx: The Future is Now” on April 6 at 2:00 pm in Addlestone 227. This lecture charts out the histories of how we went from using Mexican American and Puerto Rican to Chicano and Nuyorican and then to the latest iterations, Latina/o and now Latinx. By drawing on specific bodies of evidence both in the creation of new-phase ethnic studies departments in the 2000s and public digital discourse, I demonstrate that while millennials are leading the charge with the Latinx conversation, their boomer intellectual forerunners not are ready for and are often outright resistant to the use of Latina/o let alone Latinx, indicating the futurist potential and political necessity of the term. In making a historical argument about terminology linked to the fields of Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, I show the work of hegemonic logic in how majority minority populations shape discourse with their mere numbers and their access to discourse: print, digital, and aural. To be a part of the affective community is antiessentialist because Latinx bears the load of recognition and diversity and represents the power of inclusion without speaking for everyone. Ultimately, people invest in Latinx because it carries the excessive and diverse affective load of a population in ways that other ethno-nationalist and pan-Latina/o terms cannot.
This lecture is free and open to the public.
The African American Studies Program will be offering a new course in the Fall 2018 semester, “The Life and Writings of James Baldwin.” This is a pilot course for a variable topics seminar, “The Africana Intellectual Tradition,” which will be added to the curriculum in the next couple years.
AAST 300: “The Life and Writings of James Baldwin”
The literary and cultural icon James Baldwin was a prophetic and radical voice for racial justice at the height of the Civil Rights Movement and in its aftermath. This seminar examines Baldwin primarily as a writer through his essays, novels, and plays, but also analyzes his role as a ‘witness’ to the Black freedom struggle in the US and abroad. Major themes in the course include race and sexuality, diasporic connections, history and memory, impiety (religious and otherwise), and the role of the artist in public life. Reading assignments from his body of work will be paired with critical texts and films by his contemporaries and scholars from Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Ralph Ellison to David Leeming, Raoul Peck, and Douglas Field. Discussions and essay assignments will provide students with an opportunity to closely analyze Baldwin’s work while offering a lens to understand and confront issues of power and justice in our times.
Please contact the professor for this course, Mari N. Crabtree, with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AAST Director Kameelah Martin was featured in CofC’s The College TODAY.
Check out the article here http://today.cofc.edu/2018/02/15/african-american-studies-black-history-month/
Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens to Deliver a 2017–18 Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture on Enslaved Women and Medical Experimentation
The Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture Series was established to support the scholarship of junior faculty in the field of African American Studies across the country. On Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 6:00 pm, Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens will deliver a lecture on her new book, Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology, for this lecture series. Cooper Owens is an assistant professor of History at Queens College in New York, and her book explores how pioneers in gynecology experimented on enslaved women and Irish immigrant women to develop a field that simultaneously produced medical advances and lent legitimacy to pseudo-scientific white supremacist and sexist theories. Her work not only recovers the voices of enslaved women who shaped these medical advances but also has implications for understanding contemporary distrust of the medical field on the part of many African American women.
Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens
“Medical Bondage: How Slavery Advanced American Gynecology”
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 6:00 pm in Addlestone Library Room 227
This lecture is sponsored by the African American Studies Program with additional support from the Avery Research Center, English Department, History Department, Public Health Program, Waring Historical Library (MUSC), and Women’s and Gender Studies Program.