Dr. Stephen Selka presents “Mapping the Moral in African Diaspora Tourism in Brazil”

Photo courtesy of Dr. Stephen Selka At 12:00pm on April, 30th the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute will host Dr. Stephen Selka.  His lecture will explore African diaspora tourism in Bahia, Brazil, particularly African American “pilgrimages” to the Afro-Catholic festival of Our Lady of the Good Death (or simply Boa Morte) celebrated every August by women of African descent involved with the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé. Although recognized as part of the official heritage of Bahia, Boa Morte occupies a complicated position on the Afro-Brazilian moral landscape. To evangelical Christians, for example, Boa Morte and Candomblé are diabolical; from this perspective, Afro-Brazilian religion is something to leave behind. By contrast, to the extent that the festival of Boa Morte is understood as a celebration honoring the ancestors, it is particularly appealing to African Americans seeking to “recover” their ancestral past. Nevertheless, ancestors are understood to be dangerous and morally unpredictable in Candomblé; therefore Boa Morte is something morally ambiguous for many Candomblé practitioners, contrary to what most African American visitors might expect. Accordingly, this talk focuses on the contested links between heritage, personhood, and morality that are enacted at the festival of Boa Morte.

Stephen Selka is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. A cultural anthropologist, he researches religion, politics, and cultural heritage tourism in Afro-Brazilian communities in northeastern Brazil, where he has conducted ethnographic fieldwork since 1999. His first book, Religion and the Politics of Ethnic Identity in Bahia, Brazil (University Press of Florida, 2007), explores the various ways that Afro-Brazilians in both Christian and African-derived religious communities construct their ethnic identities and struggle against racism.

This public program is part of the Religion and Ethics Roundtables series of the IU Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics, and Society. Religion and Ethics Roundtables highlight the work of scholars at IUB, IUPUI, and beyond, with the goal of engaging the IU community and the public in dialogue about important issues at the intersection of religion, ethics, and society.

Dontrell: Talkback

Immediately following the April 12th performance of Dontrell, Who Kissed the SeaLogo of Phoenix Theatre, the Phoenix Theatre and the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute will co-host a talkback session to discuss some of the “big ideas” that emerge from the play, including the influence of historical events in shaping our experience, the importance of family in molding our identity, and the role of free will in determining our life’s journey.

This conversation will be moderated by Dr. Ronda Henry Anthony, Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies and Public Scholar of African American Studies and Undergraduate Research in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. She is the author of Searching for the New Black Man: Black Masculinity and Women’s Bodies, published by the University Press of Mississippi in 2013. She writes on African American literature, gender, and race.

Tickets for the April 12th performance of Dontrell can be purchased here.

INconversation with Nathan Alan Davis

Join us, on April 9th, for an INconversation with playwright Nathan Alan Davis, Nathan Alan Davis.  Photo courtesy of inside.iub.eduwhose play “Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea” will be featured at the Phoenix Theater April 9-26. Nathan received his MFA in playwriting from Indiana University in 2014 and is currently a Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at Julliard.

The discussion, moderated by Modupe Labode, IUPUI’s Public Scholar of African American History and Museum Studies, will center around themes of memory, identity, African-American history, and the different ways we understand these ideas–through history, through theater and art, through material culture and family stories.

Nathan’s plays have also been produced, presented or developed at Baltimore Center Stage, Chicago Dramatists, San Diego Rep. and Source Festival (DC). Other honors include: Jerome Fellowship finalist, Heideman Award finalist and Bay Area Playwrights Festival finalist. Learn more.

INconversation is an Indiana Humanities program. This event has been supported by the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, and is held in partnership with the Phoenix Theater

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!

Marc Lamont Hill to keynote IUPUI dinner honoring Martin Luther King’s legacy

Marc Lamont Hill

Marc Lamont Hill

Journalist, educator, hip-hop generation intellectual and Ebony Power 100 honoree Marc Lamont Hill will deliver the keynote address during the 46th annual Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner.

Hill, distinguished professor of African American studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta, was included among Ebony magazine’s annual list of the 100 “most influential and intriguing men and women in Black America” and celebrated as such during a Hollywood ceremony Wednesday. The 2014 Ebony Power 100 list is featured in the magazine’s December issue.

The IUPUI Black Student Union will host the annual IUPUI King Dinner, one of Indianapolis’ longest-running events honoring the slain civil rights leader, at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18, at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, 140 W. Washington St.

Hill, the host of HuffPost Live and BET News, will address the dinner’s theme of “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.”

“Today as one of the world’s leading hip-hop intellectuals, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill enjoys sharing his teachings as well as his experiences with audiences all around the world, and we truly look forward to having him share them with us as well,” said Karina Garduño, coordinator for social justice education in the IUPUI Office of Student Involvement.

Individual dinner tickets are $25 for IUPUI students, $65 for IUPUI faculty and staff and $75 for general admission community guest tickets. They are on sale now at the Office of Student Involvement at the IUPUI Campus Center, Suite 370, 420 University Blvd.

Sponsorship packages are also available for $1,000, $850 and $435 and include respectively, 10, 10 and five dinner tickets, along with advertisement space in the dinner program and sponsorship of student tickets.

The deadline for ticket purchases is Dec. 19.

For additional information, contact the Office of Student Involvement at 317-274-3931 or dinner@iupui.edu .

IUPUI Africana Studies Program receives award from National Council for Black Studies

385606_w296The Africana Studies Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has received the Mary McLeod Bethune and Carter G. Woodson Award for Outstanding Service in the Promotion of Social Responsibility in Africana Studies from the National Council for Black Studies.

The award was presented at the 38th annual National Council for Black Studies Conference in March in Miami, Fla. IUPUI’s Africana Studies Program served as the local co-host of the council’s 2013 conference, along with IU Bloomington, Notre Dame and Purdue universities.

“This award acknowledges the collective efforts of Africana studies faculty, students and staff who played strategic roles in the local conference planning as well as their active participation in the NCBS conference that was held in Indianapolis last year,” said Bessie House-Soremekun, director of Africana studies and professor of political science and Africana studies. “We are deeply humbled to receive this prestigious award named in honor of two great exemplars of social responsibility, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and Dr. Carter G. Woodson.”

The 2013 National Council for Black Studies conference, at the Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis, had the second highest attendance in the organization’s history. The conference, which featured more than 400 concurrent sessions, drew on the diverse talents of IUPUI Africana studies faculty, staff and students, as well as members of the Indianapolis community. Professor Monroe Little served as chair of the local arrangements committee, and IUPUI senior Kendrea Williams and graduate assistant Juhanna Rogers provided invaluable service as members of the local arrangements committee.

IUPUI and Indianapolis community members also presented papers and served as volunteers at the conference. House-Soremekun presented a welcome speech at the opening reception at the Madame Walker Theatre Center. Three IUPUI students — Stella Brown, Leon Bates and Gregory Efiom — were inducted into the National Council for Black Studies National Honor Society.

The National Council for Black Studies was founded in 1975 by African American scholars who believed in the importance of providing scholarly information on the historical contributions of Africa and the experiences of African descended people in the African Diaspora. It has emerged as one of the most respected professional organizations in the United States dedicated to engendering an ongoing respect for people of African descent.

University center founders honored at Walker/Douglass lecture series

Two founders of university centers focused on African American business ventures were honored for their contributions during an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis lecture series named for historic businesswoman Madam C.J. Walker.

Juliet E.K. Walker, a pioneer scholar of black business history in America, received the first Madame C.J. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award during the inaugural Madame C.J. Walker/Frederick Douglass Annual Lecture Series on Dec. 6 at the Jewel Center in Indianapolis.

Juliet Walker is the founder of the Center for Black Business History, Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of Texas at Austin, where she has been a professor of history since 2001.

Bessie House-Soremekun, director of Africana studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, received the Global African American Activist Ambassador Award.

House-Soremekun is founding executive director of the Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development, part of the School of Liberal Arts. The center’s mission is to build entrepreneurial capacity and sustainable development initiatives in America and African countries.

Juliet Walker, who earned her Ph.D. in American history from the University of Chicago, is considered the foremost scholar in black business history in America. Her development of that field is linked to the publication of her book, “Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier.” Her book, “The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship,” was the first comprehensive study of African American businesses.

“It is entirely befitting for Professor Walker to receive this prestigious award … for the first woman to establish a major field in black entrepreneurship to (receive the inaugural) award named after the first female self-made millionaire in the United States,” said Walker’s letter of nomination.

photo house-soremekun

Bessie House-Soremekun

The Walker/Douglass lecture series was co-hosted and co-created by the Africana Studies Program, an academic unit of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, under the leadership of House-Soremekun, and the Frederick Douglass Papers in in the Institute for American Thought in the School of Liberal Arts, led by Professor John Kaufman-McKivigan.

The theme for this year’s event was “The Life and Times of Madame C.J. Walker: The Historical Development of a Business Empire.” Madam Walker was a self-made African American millionaire, having made a fortune from beauty and hair-care businesses before her death in 1919. Juliet Walker was the luncheon keynote speaker for the event.

The Activist Ambassador Award acknowledges House-Soremekun, also professor of political science and Africana studies at IUPUI, for investing in multicultural networking; exhibiting hope and faith for a brighter future for African-Americans; and bridge building to ensure the African-American community is enlightened and enhanced.

“The presentation of this award is emblematic of the impact that Dr. House-Soremekun has made both at home and abroad,” said David A. Scott Sr., who presented the award to House-Soremekun on behalf of the African American Restoration Movement of Indianapolis and the Globe Changers Movement.

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.

 

Inaugural symposium, “The Life and Times of Madame C.J. Walker: The Historical Development of a Business Empire”

The Africana Studies Program at IUPUI and the Frederick Douglass Papers invites the public to attend the upcoming inaugural symposium that is part of the Madame C.J. Walker/Frederick Douglass Annual Lecture Series. This lecture series is designed to celebrate the brilliance, accomplishments and ingenuity of two African American global icons, namely Madame C.J. Walker who was the first African American female millionaire entrepreneur in America and Fredrick Douglass, a great orator, abolitionist, and political statesman. Our first public symposium will take place on Friday, December 6, 2013 at the Jewel Center from 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM. Please see the event flyer.

The theme of this year’s symposium is “The Life and Times of Madame C.J. Walker: The Historical Development of a Business Empire.” The events of the day are as follows:

  • Registration and continental breakfast is at 8:00 AM-9:00 AM
  • Welcome Remarks: 9:15 AM by Dr. Karen Dace, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Welcome Remarks: 9:20 AM by Dr. Jack Kaufmann-McKivigan, Editor and Founder, The Frederick Douglass Papers, IUPUI
  • The first panel discussion starts around 9:30 AM on the theme of “The Life and Times of Madame C.J. Walker”
  • Our keynote speaker for noon is Dr. Juliet E.K. Walker, the foremost scholar and expert on Black business history in America and distinguished Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, who will discuss “African American Businesses in the Arc of History: Culture, Innovation and Black Business Success.”
  • Introduction of the Keynote Speaker: Dr. William Blomquist, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, IUPUI
  • At 2:00 PM, Professor Bessie House-Soremekun will make a research presentation on “Lessons Learned from History: The 10 Personality Characteristics of African American Entrepreneurs and How to Achieve Them.”

The event is free and open to the public. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Dr. Bessie House Soremekun at beshouse@iupui.edu or cmorlan@iupui.edu.