Commemorating 50 Years of Africana Studies at Williams College

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 14, 2019—The community is invited to join in commemorating the 50-year presence of the Department of Africana Studies at Williams College with a series of events that provide opportunities to collectively reflect on the department’s past, present, and future. Highlights include a drumming circle, campus walking tour, museum talk, musical performance by the Kusika and Zambezi Marimba Band, and a symposium featuring panel discussions with former and current Williams students, faculty, and community members. The events will take place on Thursday, April 4 through Saturday, April 6. Events are free and open to the public, but registration is requested.

To register and view more information, visit:
https://africana-studies.williams.edu/afr50/afr50-the-weekend-april-4-7th-2019/

The interdisciplinary field of Africana studies emerged during the 1960s Freedom Movements, and expands our knowledge of the vast experiences of people of Africa and the African Diaspora. Founded in 1969 as Afro-American studies in the aftermath of student action and protest, the Department of Africana Studies at Williams College celebrates the institutionalization of Black studies on campus, recognizing that, even in the rural hills of Berkshire County, Mass., Black lives have always and continue to matter.

“In 1973, Joseph E. Harris, who was the first chair of Afro-American Studies, stated: ‘Afro-American studies programs will achieve many things for different people: affirm black identity, pride and confidence, and provide clear perspectives for future courses of action…’, says Associate Professor of Africana Studies Rhon Manigault-Bryant, organizer of the events. “Commemorating 50 years of Africana Studies is a momentous occasion that provides us with the great opportunity to reflect on our achievements during this half century, but also a chance to consider the work that continues today and into the future. We anticipate the return of our beloved alumni, former faculty, staff, and community members, and invite everyone in our local communities to take part in this celebration of our founding moments.”

At Williams College, Africana studies is a concentration that critically and systematically examines the cultures, histories, and experiences of people of African descent globally, grounding students in their multiple ways of knowing. Through a wide variety of courses and programming in the humanities, arts, and sciences, the broader concerns of Africana studies as a field are merged with dynamic faculty expertise and interests, and combined with the educational needs of the diverse student population at Williams to encourage multi and interdisciplinary research, writing and analysis. While intellectual rigor is a significant programmatic focus, the Department of Africana Studies also recognizes the importance of grounding intellectual engagement with activism and life experience, assisting students in finding unique and compelling perspectives from which to pursue and make their own contributions to the field of Africana studies.

Schedule of Events

Thursday, April 4

4 p.m.  “The Call: Hopkins Occupation Drumming Circle.” Hopkins Hall, west side.

5 p.m. “Not A Onetime Event: Echoes of the Hopkins Occupation | A Walking Tour.” Hopkins Hall, west side.

Friday, April 5

10 a.m. “Not A Onetime Event: Echoes of the Hopkins Occupation | A Walking Tour.” Hopkins Hall, west side.

2 to 3:30 p.m.  “Africana Studies & The Arts: An AFR/WCMA Collaboration,” an interactive session with Africana Studies faculty about the intersections of Black Studies and Black art. Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), Rose Gallery.

5 p.m. “Not A Onetime Event: Echoes of the Hopkins Occupation | A Walking Tour.” Hopkins Hall, west side.

8 p.m.  “Kusika and Zambezi Spring Performance.” With members from various places and cultures, the performance features work informed by these origins as well as traditional and contemporary folklore from Mali, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and the Americas. MainStage, ‘62 Center for Theater and Dance.

Saturday, April 6

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  “Fifty Years of Africana Studies: A Symposium.” Consecutive 50-minute panels with former and current students, faculty and community members. Griffin Hall, room 3.

3 to 4:30 p.m.  “For Such A Time As This.” Reception and walk-through of the AFR50 exhibit, celebrating the formal presence of Africana Studies at Williams while denoting cyclical time in Williams’ history, where tides of student, staff, and faculty have had unique impacts upon the study of the Black diaspora. Sawyer Library’s Special Collections, Schow Gallery.

8 p.m. “Kusika and Zambezi Spring Performance.” With members from various places and cultures, the performance features work informed by these origins as well as traditional and contemporary folklore from Mali, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and the Americas. MainStage, ‘62 Center for Theater and Dance.

END

For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications 413-597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map

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