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Nov
30
Thu
Tubman Talks: “Afropolitanism and the Literary and Popular Imagination,” — November 30, 2017 @ 314 York Lanes, Resource Centre
Nov 30 @ 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Dr. Vermonja R. Alston will present a paper entitled, Afropolitanism and the Literary and Popular Imagination.”

Abstract:

In the social sciences, the concept of cosmopolitanism has come under increasing criticism as a mask for globalization, neo-colonialism, or a shape shifting, multiculturalism. Despite those negative connotations, Anthony Kwame Appiah, in Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, salvages the term, meaning “citizen of the cosmos,” with its ancient roots in the Cynics of the fourth century BCE, as a rubric for reading African cultural production. For Appiah, cosmopolitanism acknowledges that we have obligations and responsibilities to others to whom we are not related by kin, kind, or nation, but also that we have differences and that we can learn from our differences. If cosmopolitanism challenges us to think beyond tradition and nation, how then afropolitanism distinguish itself from cosmopolitanism? Coined by Taiye Selasi in her 2005 essay “Bye-Bye Babar,” Afropolitans are the “newest generation of African emigrants.” “There is at least one place on The African Continent to which we tie our sense of self: be it a nation-state (Ethiopia), a city (Ibadan), or an auntie’s kitchen. Then there’s the G8 city or two (or three) that we know like the backs of our hands, and the various institutions that know us for our famed focus. We are Afropolitans: not citizens, but Africans of the world.” Although social, political, and cultural theorists have not wholly embraced the commodification of the term, Afropolitanism is a useful interpretive lens through which we read and view contemporary African literary and popular culture. In this paper, I provide a brief overview of writers and artists whose work might productively be understood as Afropolitan before focusing on the poetry and crime fiction of Mukoma wa Ngugi, the United States born and Kenya raised son of the world-reknowned anti-colonial African writer and Nobel finalist, Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

Bio:

Vermonja R. Alston is associate professor in the departments of Humanities and English at York University. She came to York University in 2004 as a postcolonialist with a specialization in Caribbean literature and visual culture, after two years at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. Professor Alston earned a doctorate in Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies from the University of Arizona in 2004, a Master of Liberal Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997, a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University in 1982, and an AB in Cognitive Psychology from Brown University in 1978. Although Professor Alston has taught a wide variety of courses from Postcolonial and Diaspora Literature to Indigenous Cinema and Critical Theory, her research interest and publications theorizes cosmopolitanism in literary and cultural production from the African Diaspora. Most recently, Professor Alston has embarked on the study of Afropolitanism as represented in the literary and visual culture of African and African descended writers and artists. The title of her presentation, “Afropolitanism in the Literary and Popular Imagination,” is from her work in progress.

 

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Jan
11
Thu
Tubman Talks: Using Genealogical Tools for Biographical Research @ Resource Centre, 314 York Lanes
Jan 11 @ 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Guylaine Pétrin will present a paper entitled, “Using Genealogical Tools for Biographical Research.”

Abstract:

This presentation will focus on how historians can use tools such as Ancestry and FamilySearch.org to research the lives of the formerly enslaved.  Some general tools will be examined to see how they can enrich research into the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Bio:

Guylaine Pétrin BA, MLS is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She is a reference librarian at Glendon College, York University. She is also a genealogist who teaches family historians about research in Canadian Black communities before Confederation.

 

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Jan
18
Thu
Tubman Talks: “The Intellectual Origins of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Emancipative Philosophy” — January 18, 2018 @ Resource Centre, York Lanes 314
Jan 18 @ 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Abstract:

Martin Luther King, Jr. is without doubt the greatest American figure in 20th century. A Baptist priest of vast intellectual depth and complexity, King was also a systematic political thinker.  His thoughts on nonviolence and his struggle against segregation and inequalities in the US influenced several generations of nonviolent thinkers and activists. This historical breakthrough, formulated by King’s social and political strategies, was the outcome of a long period of philosophical incubation that constituted King’s intellectual evolution. King was influenced by a variety of authors such as Walter Rauschenbusch, L. Harold De Wolf, Reinhold Niebuhr and Personalistic thought, but also he adopted the Gandhian principle of nonviolence. In other words, King had not only a sound understanding of Christian thought, but also an acute awareness of Western philosophy. King was not a philosopher in the traditional sense of the term, but what really matters is the use which he made of philosophers in order to shape his own thought and create his own intellectual world, one in which the dialogue between religion and philosophy is permanent.

Bio:

Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo is a political philosopher. He is presently the Executive Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and the Vice-Dean of the School of Law at Jindal Global University- Delhi, India. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy, History and Political Science and later his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Sorbonne University. In 1993 he taught at the Academy of Philosophy in Tehran. He has been a researcher at the French Institute for Iranian Studies and a fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.  Ramin Jahanbegloo taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto from 1997-2001. He later served as the head of the Department of Contemporary Studies of the Cultural Research Centre in Tehran and, in 2006-07, was Rajni Kothari Professor of Democracy at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, India. In April 2006 Dr. Jahanbegloo was arrested in Tehran Airport charged with preparing a velvet revolution in Iran. He was placed in solitary confinement for four months and released on bail. He was an Associated Professor of Political Science and a Research Fellow in the Centre for Ethics at University of Toronto from 2008-2012 and an Associate Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto from 2012 – 2015. He is also a member of the advisory board of PEN Canada. He is the winner of the Peace Prize from the United Nations Association in Spain (2009) for his extensive academic works in promoting dialogue between cultures and his advocacy for non-violence and more recently the winner of the Josep Palau in Fabre International Essay Prize. Among his twenty-eight books in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Persian are Conversations with Isaiah Berlin (Peter Halban, 1992), Gandhi: Aux Sources de la Nonviolence (Felin, 1999),   Penser la Nonviolence (UNESCO,2000),  Iran: Between Tradition and Modernity (Lexington Books, 2004India Revisited: Conversations on Contemporary India(Oxford University Press, 2007), The Clash of Intolerances (Har-Anand 2007) The Spirit of India (Penguin 2008), Beyond Violence (Har-Anand 2008), Leggere Gandhi a Teheran (Marsilio 2008),  India Analysed (Oxford University Press 2009),Talking Politics (Oxford University Press 2010), Civil Society and Democracy in Iran (Lexington Press, 2011), The Gandhian Moment (forthcoming at Harvard University Press) Democracy in Iran (Palgrave 2013) Introduction to Nonviolence (Palgrave 2013)  Time Will Say Nothing (University of Regina Press 2014)  Gadflies in the Public Space (Lexington Press, 2016) The Decline of Civilization (Aleph Books 2017), Letters to a Young Philosopher (Oxford University Press, 2017) and very recently On Forgiveness and Revenge (University of Regina Press 2017)

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Feb
8
Thu
Tubman Talks: “Gendered Migrant Labour: Serial Monogamy and the Political Economy of Cash Crops and Wage Labour in Post-WWII Southern Tanganyika” 8 February 2018 @ Tubman Resource Centre, YL 314
Feb 8 @ 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Dr. Husseina Dinani will present a paper entitled, Gendered Migrant Labour: Serial Monogamy and the Political Economy of Cash Crops and Wage Labour in Post-WWII Southern Tanganyika,” on February 8, 2018 at the Harriet Tubman Institute from 2:30 – 4:00.

Abstract:

My presentation examines how the expansion and intensification of a male dominated cash economy profoundly altered the sexual division of labor within households, strained marital unions, and created new insecurities for rural residents in Lindi district, (Lindi region, located in the southeast of Tanganyika) from the 1940s and onwards. I argue that the emergence of a lopsided gendered political economy that enabled men to engage in different types of work, but confined women to the household economy, resulted in men and women having different ideas about marriage, work and the quality of life they wanted; in the case of women, they increasingly approached marriage as a provisional resource. Taking advantage of the changing nature of conjugal relations and household economies, women pursued serial monogamy to enhance their security and craft unions that reflected their understandings of marriage.

Women’s perennial mobility— travelling across and beyond the southern region to repeatedly re-create their lives in different (marital and kin’s) households—illuminates their inventiveness to navigate a gendered political economy that created profound instability in their daily lives and marginalized their productive capabilities to the household economy. Additionally, women’s itinerancy challenges prevalent understandings of mobility being solely a feature of wage labor economies and urbanization, or as being hinged on borders. In fact, one could argue that women’s engagement in serial monogamy as a life strategy is a form of gendered migrant labor.

Bio:

Dr. Husseina Dinani is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at University of Toronto Scarborough. She received her PhD from Emory University. She is currently completing a book manuscript–Women of Lindi: Gender, Nation-building and Resourcefulness in Tanzania (1945-1985)–which is a history of the early African postcolony from the perspective of rural women in Lindi district, Tanzania. She has published on this topic in the International Journal of African Historical Studies.

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Feb
15
Thu
Tubman Talks: “”Africa is Here”: Afropolitan Imagineering, Global Presence and the White Gaze” @ Tubman Resource Centre, 314 York Lanes
Feb 15 @ 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Dr. Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin will present a paper entitled, “Africa is Here”: Afropolitan Imagineering, Global Presence and the White Gaze.  

Abstract:

Branded as “Africa’s first luxury perfume”, the Scent of Africa perfume is a “scented declaration of progress”. Particularly fascinating is the commercial advertisement for the perfume, which I argue to be an “Afropolitan Imagineering” project that is intended to signal Africa’s rise and its new association with global cosmopolitanism. At first glance, the Scent of Africa perfume advertisement seems to point to the ways in which Imagineering projects can reproduce colonial discourses about Africanness. However, in this presentation, I suggest that we complicate the advertisement and examine its subversive potential to decenter whiteness and celebrate Africanness while writing Africa into the world (Mbembe and Nuttall 2004). Despite this subversion, I conclude that African worlding practices should disinherit the familiarity of Eurocentric geographic determinism that is embedded in Afropolitan Imagineering and instead become informed by afro-futuristic imaginings and dis-identification politics.

Bio:

Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin is currently an Assistant Professor of  Women’s   and  Gender  Studies  at  Carleton  University  in  Ottawa,  Canada.  She is interested in urban renewal and new city building projects in Nigeria and Ghana. She also engages with the paradoxes of  ‘Africa rising’ narratives in popular culture.

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Feb
28
Wed
Community Forum: African Indigeneity & Finance @ Warden Woods Community Centre
Feb 28 @ 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm