IUPUI professor Edward Curtis to edit new book series on Africana religions

INDIANAPOLIS — Pennsylvania State University Press has named Edward Curtis,http://www.iupui.edu/~iahi/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/398357_w296.jpg Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the co-editor of a new book series.

Curtis, co-founder of the Journal of Africana Religions, says that the book series will adopt the journal’s global vision of both African and African diasporic religions.

“Like the journal, the book series will emphasize the translocal nature of Africana religions across national, regional and hemispheric boundaries,” Curtis said. The journal is also published by Pennsylvania State University Press.

The IUPUI professor will co-edit the book series with Sylvester A. Johnson, associate professor of African American studies and religious studies at Northwestern University. Johnson is also the co-founder of the Journal of Africana Religions.

Curtis sees the book series as yet another sign of the growing interest in Africana religions and their global reach.

“National and colonial-drawn boundaries have too long shaped the formation of knowledge about black people and their religious commitments,” the IUPUI professor said. “This book series will help to nurture a community of scholars dedicated to analyzing the entire Africana world in all its richness.”

The series’ editorial board includes Afe Adogame of Princeton Theological Seminary, Sylviane Diouf of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Paul Christopher Johnson of the University of Michigan, Elizabeth Pérez of Dartmouth College, Elisha P. Renne of the University of Michigan and Judith Weisenfeld of Princeton University.

“We want to publish academic monographs in addition to books designed for classroom use about Africana religious experiences, identities, beliefs, aesthetics, ethics and institutions,” co-editor Sylvester Johnson said. “And we welcome a variety of methods, including archival, theoretical, literary, sociological and ethnographic approaches.”

Bessie House-Soremekun reveals “The Africa the World Seldom Sees”

Bessie House-Soremekun

Bessie House-Soremekun

Dr. Bessie House-Soremekun analyzes the production of knowledge about African Societies by interrogating the multifarious stereotypical images of Africa often presented by network television, radio, popular media, movies and novels. These images often encapsulate static narratives and encoded messages that diminish Africa’s historical and contemporary contributions to the world. In many cases, Africa is still projected as a static “other” that has not embraced change and development. Dr. House-Soremekun compares these interpretations to earlier conceptualizations of African people and their cultures which were depicted by the Europeans during the era of imperialism and colonialism. She also probes the various ways in which peoples of the African Diaspora are continually affected by these images and are marginalized in the era of globalization when modern technologies daily project these images to many countries of the world.  This lecture supplements “The Africa the World Seldom Sees” Art Exhibition, which is on display at the IUPUI Cultural Arts Gallery in February 2015.

Dr. Bessie House-Soremekun is the Director of Africana Studies, Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies, Public Scholar in African American Studies, Civic Engagement, and Entrepreneurship, and the Founding Executive Director of the Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.  She has published 6 books and numerous scholarly articles and book chapters.

February 19, 2015 | 12:00-1:00
IUPUI Library, Room UL 4115P

Click here for free tickets!

Michael Eric Dyson headlines event to honor outstanding IU School of Education alumni

Michael Eric Dyson

Michael Eric Dyson

Scholar of African American, religion and cultural studies Michael Eric Dyson is the keynote speaker for the third annual “Celebration of Transformational Educators” event presented by the IU School of Education at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The event, at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Madame Walker Theater, 617 Indiana Ave., in Indianapolis, is free and open to the public.

Dyson is a well-regarded public intellectual who appears regularly on national television and radio and has published numerous academic works. The Chronicle of Higher Education calls him “one of the youngest stars in the firmament of black intellectuals” and “one of the most important voices of his generation.”

Dyson will keynote the annual awards ceremony for the IU School of Education at IUPUI, which recognizes outstanding early-career alumni who have conducted their work in an urban setting. A committee selects honorees from a pool of nominees. Each honoree receives a $1,000 award to advance his or her work.

The Steward Speaker Series is co-sponsoring the event as a part of its ongoing effort to bring some of the country’s top African American leaders and luminaries to Indianapolis to share their thoughts and work. The IUPUI Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a contributor to this event.

“We are very pleased to have a speaker of Dr. Dyson’s caliber to shine a positive spotlight on the work of our outstanding alumni who are, indeed, transformational educators,” said Pat Rogan, executive associate dean of the IU School of Education at IUPUI. “His message is sure to inspire.”

Dyson is the Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University. He has taught at Chicago Theological Seminary, Brown University, the University of North Carolina and Columbia University. He received his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, magna cum laude, from Carson-Newman College, and his Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in religion from Princeton University. He has provided commentary on American culture for “Nightline,” “Charlie Rose,” “Good Morning America,” “Today” and “Oprah.” He has also been heard on every major show on National Public Radio. He has written for numerous academic publications, including Cultural Critique, Cultural Studies, DePaul Law Review, The Leadership Quarterly, New Art Examiner, JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Transition, Social Text, Religion and Literature, Theology Today, Union Seminary Quarterly Review, Princeton Seminary Bulletin and Black Sacred Music.

Dyson’s 1993 debut book, “Reflecting Black: African-American Culture Criticism” won the Gustavus Myers Center for Human Rights Award in 1994. His critically acclaimed follow-up, 1994’s “Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X,” was named “Notable Book of 1994” by both The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Dyson is also author of the acclaimed “Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black Culture,” named a “Best Bet” by USA Today, and the national best-seller “Race Rules: Navigating the Color Line.” In January 2000, the Free Press published Dyson’s “I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.”

He has also written for many popular publications, including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Vibe magazine and Rolling Stone. Time, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, Current Biography, The New Yorker, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Essence have profiled him. Dyson has lectured across the nation and throughout the world in countless colleges, universities and public auditoriums. He won the 1992 Award of Excellence for Magazines from the National Association of Black Journalists.

While the event is free, seating is limited. RSVP online by Nov. 17 to ensure your space.

Frederick Douglass scholars, IUPUI to celebrate publication of Douglass’ ‘The Heroic Slave’


Frederick Douglass

INDIANAPOLIS — University scholars from the U.S. and Europe will gather at an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis event next month celebrating a new publication of an “underappreciated gem” – a novel authored by famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The Frederick Douglass Papers Edition, a documentary editing project of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, will host the conference, “Frederick Douglass’s ‘The Heroic Slave’ and the American Revolutionary Tradition” on Oct. 9 and 10. The conference takes place in conjunction with the Second Annual Madame C.J. Walker/Frederick Douglass Public Lecture.

The two-day event will observe and assess the significance of the Frederick Douglass Papers’ publication of the first scholarly edition of “The Heroic Slave” by Douglass (1818-95), a runaway slave who became an internationally recognized orator, reformer, journalist and diplomat.

“I am very excited that the forthcoming symposium will generate public attention for this underappreciated gem in early African American literature,” said John R. Kaufman-McKivigan, editor of the Frederick Douglass Papers. “Douglass’ achievements as an orator, autobiographer and political leader are well-remembered but not his important accomplishment as a fiction writer.”

“The Heroic Slave” was inspired by the actions of Madison Washington, a cook on a ship sailing to New Orleans. Washington led an 1841 slave rebellion on a ship that then sailed instead to the Bahamas, allowing 128 slaves to find freedom.

The Douglass Papers’ publication of the book received funding as part of a $52,060 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Conference presenters will provide special insights and tools to educators to help them better explain Douglass’ life and times to their modern-day students, Kaufman-McKivigan said.

The Oct. 9 conference sessions will take place at The Tower, 850 W. Michigan St., on the IUPUI campus. The Oct. 10 sessions, along with the Second Annual Madame C.J. Walker/Frederick Douglass Public Lecture and Workshop, will meet at the Jewel Center, 3333 N. Illinois St.

Robert S. Levine, professor of English at the University of Maryland, will deliver the Oct. 9 keynote address, “Heroic Slaves: Madison Washington and ‘My Bondage and My Freedom,'” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at The Tower.

V.P. Franklin, chair and professor of history and education at University of California Riverside, and editor of the Journal of African American History, will deliver the second conference keynote address, “The Power to Define: History, Scholarship, and Social Change,” from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Jewel Center.

Symposium sponsors include the IU School of Liberal Arts, the IUPUI departments of English and history, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, the IUPUI Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Indiana Humanities and the Africana Studies Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Additional conference details, including a complete syllabus, bios of speakers and online registration, are available on the conference website. For additional information, please contact the Frederick Douglass Papers.

Call for nominations: Madame C.J. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award

Deadline: Monday, November 24, 2013 at 5:00 P.M.

The Africana Studies Program and Frederick Douglass Papers at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis invite nominations forthe inaugural Madame C.J. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award, the first of which will be presented at the upcoming Madame C.J. Walker/Frederick Douglass Annual Lecture Series that will take place on December 6, 2013. This award is named in honor of the phenomenal Madame C.J. Walker, who is credited with being the first female self-made millionaire in the United States as a result of her creative genius, hard work and ingenuity in creating a hair-care business in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The above programs invite nominations for senior scholars who currently hold the rank of Associate or Full Professor. In particular,  nominations are sought for an individual who has served as a dedicated pioneer and innovative scholar in the fields of History, Black Business History, African or African American Entrepreneurship, Business and Marketing, Sociology, Women’s Studies, African Studies, African American Studies, Anthropology, or other related disciplines.

According the Call for Nominations: “We seek to honor a scholar who has served as an intellectual front-runner and scholar extraordinaire in uncovering the contributions, historical narratives, and real world experiences of African or African American entrepreneurs as they created various products and services to enhance the economic marketplace and promote economic development in their communities and nations. We seek to honor a scholar who has dedicated his/her lifetime to the relentless pursuit of knowledge and all that this embodies to create a large body of research and publications which has been considered by his/her peers to be of the highest quality. We seek scholars who have made indelible impacts on the academy both in terms of the sheer volume of their publications as well as the depth of their research. We seek to honor scholars who have performed original, innovative work to illuminate the historical and contemporary activities, accomplishments, and manifestations of entrepreneurial endeavors in order to demonstrate how it has impacted the survival mechanisms of African or African American entrepreneurs either on the continent of Africa or in the African Diaspora with regard to the promulgation of various principles of self-help and economic self-sufficiency.”

Please, email all letters of nomination along with a resume of the nominee to Dr. Bessie House-Soremekun, the Director of Africana Studies at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis at beshouse@iupui.edu.