2005-2006 Events

March 23 – 26, 2006. Venue: Pyle Center, UW-Madison.
International Symposium on the African Diaspora and the Disciplines

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 – Seminar.
Toni Pressley-Sanon, The Uses of Zonbi: A Haitian Icon’s Convergent Meanings Across Temporal and Geographical Divides (to access this paper, contact Toni Pressley-Sanon at toni.sanon@gmail.com for required username and password)

In a bar, surrounded by kids with bloated bellies and skeletal dogs, Hector Hyppolite paints gods with a brush of hens’ feathers. Saint John the Baptist turns up in the evenings and helps him.

Hyppolite portrays the gods who paint through his hand. These Haitian gods, painted and painters, live simultaneously on earth and in heaven and hell: Capable of good and evil, they offer their children vengeance and solace.

Not all have come from Africa. Some were born here, like Baron Samedi, god of solemn stride, master of poisons and graves, his blackness enhanced by top hat and cane. That poison should kill and the dead rest in peace depends upon Baron Samedi. He turns many dead into zombies and condemns them to slave labor.

Zombies—dead people who have lost their souls—have a look of hopeless stupidity. But in no time they can escape and recover their lost lives, their stolen souls. One little grain of salt is enough to awaken them. And how can salt be lacking in the home of slaves who defeated Napoleon and founded freedom in America (Galeano 1988: 124-5). 

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 – Seminar.
Adam Malka, The Haitian Evolution: Diasporan Consciousness and Emigration in Nineteenth Century America (to access this paper, contact Toni Pressley-Sanon at toni.sanon@gmail.com for required username and password)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 – Seminar. Venue: 336 Ingraham | Time: 3-5 p.m.
Professor Madeleine Wong, Neither Here Nor There?: Negotiating Belonging and Betweenness in the Ghanaian Diaspora

Monday, November 28, 2005 – Roundtable: Why Is France Burning? Venue: 206 Ingraham | Time: 3-5 p.m.

For several weeks now, (sub)urban violence in France has grabbed the headlines. In order to try to make sense of these events, faculty members interested in the study of France from several disciplines have organized a roundtable on Monday November 28, 3-5 pm, 206 Ingraham. Sponsoring units: Department of French & Italian, Department of History, Department of Sociology, Center for Interdisciplinary French Studies, Center for European Studies, and the African Diaspora & the Atlantic World Research Circle.Participants and Tentative Titles:

  • Gilles Bousquet (Dean, International Studies/French & Italian), Welcome Remarks & Introductions
  • Richard Keller (History of Science/Medical History & Bioethics), “Immigration and the Banlieue: Sites of Memory, Sites of Pathology.”
  • Ivan Ermakoff (Sociology), “Discrimination, Denial and Contempt.”
  • Deborah Jenson (French & Italian), “The ‘Pétroleurs’ of the Fifth Republic: Insurgency, Alterity, and Memory in France.”
  • Laird Boswell (History), “Why now, why there, and what next?”
  • Aliko Songolo (French & Italian/African Languages & Literature), “L’Afrance.”
  • Florence Bernault (History), “Colonial Debt and Paternalism.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 – Seminar. Venue: 206 Ingraham | Time: 3-5 p.m.
Deborah Jenson, Diasporan Discursive Agency: Haitian Revolutionary Leaders “Spin” Freedom In the World Media, 1791-1804 (to access this paper, contact Toni Pressley-Sanon at toni.sanon@gmail.com for required username and password)

The dialectic of master and slave in Hegel’s model of unhappy consciousness was deeply informed, according to Susan Buck-Morss in “Hegel and Haiti,” by the philosopher’s reading of news stories about the revolution by slaves in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (which subsequently became the nation of Haiti). To make this case, Buck-Morss examined the unusually extensive media coverage of Saint-Domingue in the newspaper Minerva between 1804 and 1805. Buck-Morss’ analysis of the diffusion and reception of information about Haiti in the German media raises the question of the intellectual reception of the Haitian Revolution in other countries, notably France. Yet the significance of the reception of news of the revolution cannot be properly understood without considering the more fundamental question of how news was produced within and exported from Saint-Domingue during the revolution, and what role the ex-slaves played in disseminating their political demands and interpretations of events. In reconstructing that role, I argue that the discursive agency manifested by ex-slaves in proclamations, official correspondence, and other published statements in the media represents an important dimension of nineteenth-century decolonization and a historical “first” within the African slave diaspora. 

August 26 – September 25, 2005 – Exhibition of — and lectures on — Siddi quilts

The quilts, created by the Siddi people who are descendants of enslaved Africans taken to India, will be on display at the SoHE Gallery of Design in the Human Ecology Building. Our own Henry Drewal, Evjue-Bascom Professor of African and African Diaspora Arts in the Department of Art History, founded the Siddi Women’s Quilting Cooperative in 2004.

For more information regarding the quiltmaking cooperative and Professor Drewal’s work among the Siddi please go to: http://www.news.wisc.edu/11407.html.

Professor Drewal will give a talk on the Siddis at the African Studies Program’s Sandwich Seminar on September 14th at noon in room 206 Ingraham Hall. The lecture is entitled “The Siddis (Africans) of India: Arts and Agency”. Professor Drewal will talk about the exhibition and the quilting cooperative on Sept. 18th at 2 pm in room 21 in the Human Ecology Building.