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Multi-mediating Africa: Emerging Artistic and Technological Re/presentations Symposium

A two-day conference examining images of Africa and the Diaspora to be held at UCLA, Friday, May 25 and Saturday, May 26, 2007.

Saturday, May 26, 2007
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
314 Royce Hall
UCLA campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Scheduled Conference Dates/Times:

  • Friday, May 25 - 6 - 8 PM
  • Saturday, May 26 - 9 AM - 5 PM


  • In an effort to encourage discourse on how Africa is represented, the African Activist Association is hosting a forum to collectively recognize innovative ways that Africans leverage and negotiate locality in a globalized world. Possible contributions could address the use of internet, digital technology, emerging artistic media, and new ways of using traditional media. Academic papers and artistic and technical formats are acceptable. While our primary focus is on Africa, we welcome work from and about the Diaspora.

Keynote Address: Giving Africa A Bad Name: History, Cultural Production, and Complexities

Professor Jude Akudinobi, University of California, Santa Barbara

The 'Africa' of dominant popular imagination is indexed in multiple sources and cliches that, over time, have fashioned evocative vocabularies, epistemological straitjackets, and pernicious iconography. Anchored in early explorer tales, missionary accounts, colonialist anthropology, ethnography, memoirs, propaganda, these, largely, depreciatory representations of Africa, irrespective of 'globalization', certain cultural, political, and technological shifts, find berths in powerful cultural institutions like museums, schools, the media, and various arenas of Western cultural production. In creating an 'instant Africa', the continent's ostensibly intractable peculiarities are underscored and animated, facts seamlessly merge with fiction, overwrought naturalistic discourses prevail, and the continent's ostensible realities become hostage to formulaic regurgitations of myths and incarceratory reference points. Not surprising, this conjectural 'Africa', marked by fixity and lacks (usually of law, order, civilization, 'progress'), generates a sense of intriguing wonderment, ambivalent systems of identification, and, crucially, paradoxes.

Jude G. Akudinobi, PhD, teaches in the Department of Black Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.


  • Sheetal Gandhi, World Arts and Cultures, UCLA

Reception - light refreshments

Schedule (subject to change):

8:45 - light breakfast


I. Technological Representations - 9:00-10:30am

  • Moderator: Allen Roberts, Director James S. Coleman African Studies Center, and Professor, Department of World Arts and Cultures, UCLA


  • Rayed Khedher, California State University, Long Beach
    "Dreams Beyond the Mediterranean: An Ethnography of Tunisian Clandestine Migration to Italy"
  • Emma Nesper, UCLA
    "Digital Disciples: Mouride Media in and out of Touba"
  • Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah, PhD, Chair, Department of African American Studies, Western Illinois University
    "Problems and Practicality of the Global Electronic Age in Nigeria"

II. Musical and Educational Representations 10:45-12:15pm

  • Moderator: Katrina Daly Thompson, Professor in Residence, Department of Linguistics and African Language Coordiator, African Studies Center, UCLA


  • Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy and Nazir Jairazbhoy, Professors, Department of Ethnomusicology, UCLA
    "From Africa to India: Sidi Music in the Indian Ocean Diaspora"
  • Jewel Edward Love II, USC
    "Popular Music, Technology, and Youth Culture in Contemporary Ghana: An Overview"
  • Brian Hogan, UCLA
    "Gendered Modes of Resistance: Power and Women's Songs in West Africa"
  • Kristen Thompson, UCLA Globalization Research Center-Africa
    "GlobaLink Africa Online Curriculum"

LUNCH 12:30-1:30pm Terrace of Royce Hall 306 (West African Cuisine) for conference attendees

III. Visual Representations -- 1:30-3:00pm

  • Moderator: Steven Nelson, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, UCLA


  • Yves MagloĆ©, Assistant Professor of ESL and French, Department of Languages Pasadena City College
    "Ali Dilem's Daring Drawings"
  • Regan Buck Bardeen, UCLA
    "An African France: Commercial Discourse on National Identity in Interwar France"
  • Diana Essex, UCLA
    "Toward Providing Relevant Services for African Refugees"
  • Jennifer Giroux, Program Manager, Venice Arts
    "The House is Small but the Welcome is Big"

IV. Performative Representations -- 3:15-4:45pm

  • Moderator: Andrew Apter, Chair, African Studies and Professor, Department of History, UCLA


  • Lauren Adrover, UCLA
    "Principles of Cultural Economy: Culture, Capital and the Politics of Exchange in Fetu Afahye"
  • Cristina Coleman-Rosa, UCLA
    "Hip Play: Negotiations of Place and Identity within the Practice of Capoeira Today"
  • D. Sabela Grimes, UCLA
    "World War What? Ever?"
  • Habib Iddrisu, Northwestern University
    "Ancestral Wisdom: Dagamba Lung-a (Talking Drum), African Nationalism, and the Ghana Dance Ensemble"

The conference was made possible by generous support from the UCLA Graduate Division, UCLA Graduate Student Association, UCLA African Studies Center, UCLA Social Sciences Council & UCLA Department of French and Francophone Studies.

For parking, go to a parking kiosk and purchase a parking pass (closest entrance is Wyton Drive and Hilgard Ave.). The attendant will direct you to the closet parking structure, lot 5 (mention the AAA conference on Africa).

Cost : Free and open to the public; parking is available for $8.

African Activist Association at UCLA310-825-3686

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, French and Francophone Studies, African Activist Association at UCLA, UCLA Graduate Division, UCLA Graduate Student Association, UCLA Social Sciences Council

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