Toni Morrison: New Directions – University of Durham, UK

Hat tip: Lorraine Spencer

Toni Morrison: New Directions
University of Durham, UK
Thursday 25th June 2009

This one day international symposium seeks to assess, revisit and reflect on the work and position of the contemporary African American novelist and critic Toni Morrison. There will be particular emphasis on the author’s most recent publications as well as on new theoretical, critical and comparative approaches to her oeuvre.

Keynote speakers: Dr. Alan Rice (University of Central Lancashire) and Prof. Justine Tally (Universidad de la Laguna)

Evening Reading by Laura Fish, author of Strange Music (2008)
For registration and programme details contact Jenny Terry Registration will close at the end of May.

This event is supported by the British Association for American Studies, the Department of English Studies at the University of Durham and the Clinton Institute for American Studies at University College Dublin.

Democrats Abroad Sweden


If you are a member of the US Democratic Party you are invited to join Democrats Abroad Sweden.

We have regional chapters in different parts of Sweden.

Sign up at to make sure you keep up with voting in the 2010 elections, local events and more.

And be sure to follow us on Twitter:

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4th of July Celebrations are being planned!

Taking Care of Business in the UK Part 3 – Nina Odejimi-Riley

Exciting Education With NinaLaZina


Nina Odejimi-Riley is the Business Manager for NinaLaZina.

We are a dedicated team of professional staff from a variety of creative arts and teaching backgrounds; from performance arts, teaching to fine arts. NinaLaZina invests in our training to ensure that we have the best tutors that can inspire and guide students. All tutors are fully CRB –policed – checked and all references are up-to-date. You will find our tutors creative, motivated, supportive and most of all friendly.

Young people and children are our number one priority, and we take pride in their achievements and development. NinaLaZina exist to empower students through arts education and subject tuition. We pride ourselves on building community relationships and working with young people and children from diverse backgrounds. Education should be inspiring and fun and it is with this ethos that our students constantly strive to achieve.

Another Dutch Novel Reinforces Sexual Sterotypes Of Black Women In Holland

Hat tip: Afro Europe International Blog


In the Netherlands an author started a row by publishing a book that is sexual stereotyping black women. The book ‘Alleen maar nette mensen’ (Just fine people) is the debut of Dutch author Robert Vuistjes.

Naturally all of the information I’ve seen about this book is in Dutch except for the Afro Europe International Blog post. Read it here for a synopsis of the book, a recent debate about the book, and for the mixed reviews the book is receiving.

European, African and American Scholars

Hat tip: Lorraine Spencer

Guest Speaker for 2009-2010 Global Awareness Program in Florida

Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida is accepting applications from European, African and American scholars and political leaders with outstanding achievements in their countries who will be in the United States in September, October, February or March during the 2009-2010 academic year.

The guest speaker will give one evening public presentation to a general audience in the Leesburg Public Library and also visit two classes on the Beacon College campus. The presentations have to be in power point and accompanied by several visuals representing the country.

The guest speaker will select a topic covering any social, historical, political, legal, medical, cultural, economic aspect of a particular country in Europe or Africa or a combination of U.S.A and any other foreign country. The speaker should begin with a general, broad overview of the history of the country covered before narrowing down the presentation to a more specific topic. The general public presentation should be 45-50 minutes, followed by a Q and A session.

Here are some examples of the topics featured in this Global Awareness Program last year:

1. Gender and the Constitution in Uganda
2. Poland: From Gentry, through Communism to Hip-Hop Culture
3. Global Affirmative Action Policies: U.S.A, Brazil & Malaysia
4. Denmark: Still a Fairy Tale?
5. Race Travelers and African-American Romance with Soviet Russia
6. Latvia: From Siberia to Freedom

The college will fly the scholar from any city in the United States to Florida and provide accommodation and meals during the two-day visit to the Beacon College Campus.

The college will pay an honorarium for the guest speaker.

Interested scholars should email the following items to Dr. Harriet Masembe,

1. A copy of a resume or CV
2. A one page letter with suggested topics for the presentation. You can suggest 2-3
topics from which we can pick.
3. 3-4 good pictures, two of which should be head shots
4. The months when the speaker will be available in the U.S.A

Applications will be reviewed as they come in.

Nordic Africa Days 2009

Hat tip: Zola Mumford

Africa: In Search of Alternatives
Nordic Africa Days 2009
1-3 October – Trondheim, Norway

The conference is organised by Africa Network Norway, in close cooperation with the Nordic Africa Institute. It is interdisciplinary and open to researchers, master students and practitioners who apply research-based knowledge pertaining to African issues. More information is available at

The global financial crisis has lately been on everyone’s lips. It began in 2007 with a liquidity crisis and the bursting of the US housing bubble, before it deepened and widened until the media proclaimed that ‘the world as we know it is going down!’ Official forecasts still project a worsening worldwide recession. Earlier projections suggested that Africa would not be too adversely affected, but the IMF now predicts that the continent will be hard hit. The global downturn affects Africa through reduced capital inflows, lower demand for its exports, low commodity prices, and reduced remittances. These developments combine with other challenges on the continent, associated with transnational movements, maladapted structures, and failed policies and ideologies that extend beyond the African context.

However, recent years have been a period of unprecedented economic growth in many parts of Africa. Some countries experience more wealth and stability, as well as a stronger democratic trend that facilitate foreign investment and development. In turn, this spurs new debates regarding privatisation, diversification and the distribution and redistribution of wealth. Not the least, these debates concern energy consumption and resource management.

Africa searches for alternatives: for new ways to foster development and claim its place in a global context, without destroying the natural environment.

At the same time, ordinary people have their concerns regarding how to survive, handle illness and inequality, and bring meaning to their lives.

Local discourses struggle to sustain people’s experiences of post-colonial Africa, as they intertwine and are co-produced with global practices and discourses that challenge them in fundamental ways. These broader social trends are manifest in a variety of rich cultural expressions from language and ritual to fashion, film, and literature, including modern art and music.

What are we to make of all this? NAD 2009 challenges researchers to focus on these efforts and strivings for something better and more fruitful, in their discussions of different areas of nature, society, and culture in Africa. In the current situation, it is important to gain knowledge of the dynamic and creative potential of the processes and phenomena we study, in order to strengthen people’s capacity to cope with crisis and facilitate growth. This claim rests not only on a sympathetic reading of contemporary Africa, but is inspired by calls for ‘robust knowledge’ – a growing trend in the philosophy of science. We therefore welcome engaged and forward-looking perspectives that aim to make a difference in the world.

We especially invite panels concerning the following areas: – the financial crisis; – energy, environment, and resource management; – peace building, reconciliation, and conflict prevention; – agriculture and food production; – livelihoods and health; – urbanization; – children, youth and gender; – governance and human rights; – language and artistic expressions; – Africa’s international relations. Panels concerning other topics are also warmly welcome.

Following the tradition of NAD, PhD candidates and other young scholars are strongly encouraged to participate. NAD aims to be a forum for academic exchange and intellectual development, where contributions from a new generation of researchers play a vital part.

Paper abstracts not exceeding 300 words may be sent to before June 1, 2009.