Conference Focuses on Race and Place
Photo Courtesy of Institute on Black Life
(Feb. 5, 2014) – A national conference, “Race and Place: Cultural
Landscapes of Black Life in America,” sponsored by the USF Institute
on Black Life
will be held at USF Tampa Feb. 19 to 21.
between race and place are historically, socially and culturally powerful. These relationships are dynamic and do change
over time,” said Associate Professor Cheryl
Rodriguez, who directs the USF Institute on Black Life and also
chairs the Department
of Africana Studies. “Yet, despite the post-racial discourse
that permeates global media, we are still affected by legacies of racial
segregation that impact housing, mobility, community development, education and
many other important aspects of life.
conference focuses on place as a geographic, political and socially-constructed
concept. The speakers and panelists will offer many creative and fascinating
perspectives on this theme which emerged from our ongoing engaged research and
partnerships with residents in local historically-Black communities,” she said.
“But aside from explorations of socio-spatial race histories, IBL also endeavors to provide a forum for interdisciplinary discussions about the ways that community, citizenship, resistance and resiliency intersect in relationships of race and place. So, we have invited social scientists, humanities scholars, faculty in education, as well as visual artists, actors, playwrights, musicians, genealogists, archivists and others to this gathering.”
The opening session of the conference runs from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in the Marshall Student Center’s Palm Room (2708) and starts with a welcome from Rodriguez with USF Provost Ralph Wilcox and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Eric Eisenberg. It will be followed by a presentation of select scenes from and a discussion of the play “the road weeps, the well runs by” with playwright Marcus Gardley, USF English Professor Gary Lemons and Assistant Professor Fanni Green. Green is directing the play for a production which opens April 13 in USF Theatre II. The afternoon program ends with a reception and refreshments.
The next day, Feb. 20, after registration at 8:30 a.m. at the Patel Center for Global Solutions, Rodriguez welcomes attendees to the plenary session, “Contested Places and the Invisibility of Black History: Recent Investigations at Boot Hill, a Segregation-era African-American Burial Ground in Northwest Florida.” Panelists include Associate Professors Antoinette Jackson, Erin Kimmerle and E. Christian Wells. They will discuss the findings of their project at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. This headline-making research effort underscores the invisibility of Black history and conflicts about heritage, civil rights and juvenile justice in Florida.
Following the plenary, concurrent panels are scheduled throughout the afternoon. The lunch period features guest speaker Marshall University Professor Luke E. Lassiter. He teaches anthropology and the humanities and directs the graduate humanities program. Lassiter is the author of the ethnography, “The Other Side of Middletown: Exploring Muncie’s African American Community.”
poster presentation “The Freedom Summer Oral History Digitization Project:
Making Hidden Collections Visible” will be held from 2 to 2:30 p.m. along with
book signings by Lassiter, several USF faculty and Friday’s featured guest
speaker, N. Y. Nathiri.
final morning at the Patel Center, author, activist and folklorist Nathiri will
speak on the topic “Zora! Zora Neale Hurston: A Woman and Her Community,” the
title of a book she edited. She is executive director of the Zora
Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts in Eatonville FL and
director of multidisciplinary programs at the Association to Preserve the Eatonville
plenary session that follows is moderated by Maurice Harvey, president of the Carver
City-Lincoln Gardens Civic Association. This panel will feature
research on local African-American communities, including Tampa’s historic
Carver City-Lincoln Gardens and Progress
Two pairs of concurrent panels follow lunch: from 1 to 2:15 p.m.: “Florida as a Raced Place” and “Complicating Race and Place” and from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m.: “The Anthropology of Race, Gender, Poverty and Place” and “Culture and Politics: Present and Past.”
discussions all revolve around place-making, memory, identity and resiliency in
Black communities,” Rodriguez said. “I especially hope to see student
participants take away an understanding of the importance of these concepts to
the fabric of this country.”
Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563