University of Rochester
Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African American Studies

Symposium: New Directions in African and African-American Studies

Spring 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Hawkins Carlson Reading Room, Rush Rhees Library

Learn about ground-breaking new research being conducted by UR researchers in the field of African and African-American Studies. Enjoy lively discussion, thought provoking presentations and complimentary refreshments. Free and open to the public. 

Individual 30 minute presentations. 

Since its inception in the 1960's, African and African American Studies has been a dynamic field of study, not easily defined by traditional disciplines and academic approaches. Inherently multidisciplinary, AAS draws from scholars of African American literature, history, politics, religion, sociology and many other branches of the humanities and social sciences.  Given the vibrant nature of the field, new modes and areas of inquiry are constantly being pioneered and developed. For example, innovative work in critical race, resistance and refugee studies has drawn from the insights and methodologies of AAS. A few decades ago, hip hop and rap were rarely the focus of academic study but they now constitute growing points of interest for young scholars investigating contemporary African American politics and culture.

Questions addressed:

  1. What does social justice mean for the future study of African and African-American Studies?
  2. What does social justice mean in the teaching of AAS?
  3. How have the goals of social justice changed since the Civil Rights Movement and in the post-Obama age?
  4. How does the mean of social justice change in a diasporic context?
  5. How has your own research been shaped or been reshaped by the tradition of social activism in the field of AAS?


8:45AM – Coffee available

9:00AM – Welcome Remarks: Cilas Kemedjio, Director, FDI

9:10AM – “How Judicial Qualifications Ratings Matter (and Why They Maybe Shouldn’t),” Maya Sen, Assistant Professor, Political Science

9:40AM – “Mabel and Robert F. Williams, the Cuban Revolution and the Production of Now,” Sarah Seidman, FDI Post-doctoral Fellow

10:10AM – Break

10:20AM – “Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts and the Cultural Politics of Reconciliation,” Kristin Doughty, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

10:50AM – “Sounds of Solidarity: Musicking Politics in Jazz and Hip Hop,” Elliot Powell, Northeast Consortium’s 2012-13 Dissertation Year Visiting Diversity Fellowship, Department of Music

11:20AM – “Tuku Music: Interpreting Popular Music in Post-Colonial Zimbabwe,” Jennifer Kyker, Assistant Professor of Music

11:50PM – Lunch, Hawkins Carlson Reading Room

Moderator: John Michael, Professor of English

Discussant: Jesse Moore, Professor Emeritus, History