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INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE "REEXAMINING THE BLACK ATLANTIC: AFRO DESCENDANTS STILL AT THE BOTTOM?"

April 28 to 30, 2010

University of South Florida

Jointly hosted by:

  • Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Department of Africana Studies
  • Institute on Black Life
  • Jim Walter Partnership Center
  • Patel Center for Global Solutions
  • Latin American Students Associations

General Description

Slavery has forever changed the face of the Americas and racism is a persistent problem, as well as a common element that unites the destinies of historically excluded groups across the different geographical and political unities that together form the Americas. Over the last decade, most countries of the western hemisphere have not only recognized the continuing importance of colonial legacies and racism, some of them have also designed social policies that take explicit account of the far reaching effects of racism. This recognition has produced a land-slight revision of national projects and official versions of imagining and presenting the nation to its own citizens and to the rest of the world. Countries that only 10 years ago officially declared that racism did not affect them are now enacting Affirmative Action policies. In Brazil, for example, the myth of “racial democracy” has been steadily dismantled over the last years and over the past five years the Brazilian state has enacted several federal affirmative action policies to actively address the deep inequalities characterizing this country. In the United States, to the contrary, the voices against such policies are growing stronger and affirmative action might be at the verge of its end. Comparing the Americas through the lenses of racism and exclusion has already produced very fruitful insights into the shortcomings of American and Caribbean democracies and into the continuing importance of colonial legacies in the region. Regional comparison also adds significantly to our understanding of persistent poverty and provides insights into the effectiveness of different measures of targeted poverty reduction. Especially Inter-American dialogue among historically excluded groups promises to allow lessons learned in one country to inform affected groups in others.

Aim of the Conference

This international conference aimed at analyzing and comparing the causes and effects of racism in the Americas. Instead of stopping at this merely academic level, we also invited local activists and development practitioners, such as private foundations and international aid agencies, to join into this discussion, in order to add a concrete policy component. By facilitating a dialogue between scholars and development practitioners, we seek to stimulate an important dialogue that is not only grounded in real life experience, but will also produce valuable policy suggestions. This conference therefore actively embraces and promotes the USF’s combination of research with real life problem solving agency. This international and cross-disciplinary conference will further facilitate cooperation among different USF scholars and research units, namely ISLAC, International Affairs, Africana Studies, and the Patel Center.

Panels and Abstracts of Presentations

Wednesday, April 28 MSC 3707:

  • 9 – 10 am: Welcome and Keynote Address by Faye Harrison
  • 10 - 1 pm: Panel 1: Cultural Politics
  • Chair: Kevin Yelvington, Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida
  • Scholar: Robin Derby, Department of History, University of California Los Angeles
  • Scholar: Amanda Holmes, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida
  • Activist: Leonardo Reales, Rep. Movimiento Nacional Cimarron, Colombia
  • Funder: Judith Morrison, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Discussant: Scott Ickes, Department of History, University South Florida

2.30 – 5pm: Panel 2: Human Rights and Black Social Movements:

  • Chair: Rachel May, Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean, University of South Florida
  • Scholar 1: Darien Davis, Middlebury College
  • Scholar 2: Juliet Hooker, Department of Government, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Scholar 3: Paula Lezama, University of South Florida
  • Activist: George Martinez, Hip Hop Ambassador, Honduras
  • Funder: Todd Cox, Deputy Director of Human Rights, the Ford Foundation
  • Discussant: Edward Kissi, Department of Africana Studies, University of South Florida

Thursday, April 29 MSC 2708, 9.30 – 12.30 pm: Panel 3: Structural Inequalities and State Policies

  • Chair: Bernd Reiter, Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean, University of South Florida
  • Scholar 1: Gladys Mitchell, Political Science, Duke University
  • Scholar 2: Seth Racusen, Department of Criminal Justice and Political Science, Anna Maria College
  • Scholar 3: Tianna Paschel, University of California, Berkeley
  • Activist: Dorotea Wilson, Red de Mujeres Afro-Latinas Afro-Caribeñas y de la Diaspora
  • Activist: Altagracia Balcacer, Red de Mujeres Afro-Latinas Afro-Caribeñas y de la Diaspora
  • Funder: Lorelei Williams, the Kellogg Foundation
  • Discussant: Mark Amen, University of South Florida

2 – 5 pm: Panel 4: Migration, Diasporas, and Identity

  • Chair: Cheryl Rodriguez and Eric Duke, University of South Florida
  • Scholar 1: Judith Anderson, University of Florida
  • Scholar 2: Mamyrah Douge-Prosper, Florida International University
  • Scholar 3: Susan Greenbaum, Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida
  • Scholar 4: Kimberly Simmons, Department of Anthropology, University of South Carolina
  • Activist: Isnel Pierreval, Youth Ambassador, Haiti
  • Funder: Linda Borst-Kolko, Interamerican Foundation
  • Discussant: Eric Duke, University of South Florida

Friday , April 30th Grace Allen Room

  • Friday , April 30th Grace Allen Room
  • Coordinator: Rachel May, Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 9:30 – 12pm: Workshop: Lessons Learned and Elaboration of Action Plan