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2009 Events at Brown

PSTC African Alumni Conference

Scientific Sessions
April 27-28, 2009
68 Waterman Street

The Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University welcomes back African doctoral and postdoctoral alumni for a scientific conference and discussion of the challenges faced by African demographers. This conference is free and open to the public.

Read more details about the symposium. (PDF document)

History, Memory, and Violence: A Focus on Africa Symposium

Friday, April 24, 2009
Joukowsky Forum
Watson Institute for International Studies
111 Thayer Street, Providence

12pm Film Screening: The Two Faces of War: National Liberation in Guinea-Bissau

With Flora Gomes, distinguished film-maker from Guinea-Bissau.
A documentary on the war of liberation in Guinea-Bissau (and by extension, in Angola and Mozambique). In this film, Gomes’ lens is on both the Portuguese colonial soldiers and the African freedom fighters.

2 p.m. Lecture: History, Memory and Freedom Park

Wally Serote, CEO Freedom Park, South Africa
Freedom Park, 52-hectares on the outskirts of Pretoria, is dedicated to celebrating South Africa’s heritage and its vision for the future that’s embedded in the African Renaissance. It also highlights South Africa’s role in the genesis of life forms and hominids, including geological formations dating back 3.6 billion years.

4 p.m. Play excerpt and panel discussion: A Time of Fire, by Charles Mulekwa

An unnamed African country. A civil war. A student, a soldier, a thief, one story of Africa.
Panel participants include: filmmaker Flora Gomes (Geri Augusto, interpreter), playwright Charles Mulekwa, scholar Peter Mendy and CEO, Freedom Park Wally Serote; moderated by Tony Bogues, Harmon Family Professor of Africana Studies.

Read more details about the symposium (PDF Document)

Symposium on History, Memory, Violence and Democracy in Africa

April 24, 2009
Watson Institute for International Studies

This symposium will bring together thinkers and policymakers, who have attempted to build a new politics in parts of Africa, which opens democratic spaces. This event will look at how societies, founded upon historical injustices, are able to build democratic polities, exploring new meanings of history in politics and art.

Symposium on African Philosophy: The Politics of freedom in Africa and the World

Thursday, March 19, 2009
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Pembroke Hall, Historic Seminar Room 202

This symposium will bring together some of the most important philosophers in the field of African philosophy. In a one-day series of conversations, they will explore various aesthetic, ethical, and political conceptions of freedom in Africa and the implications for modern politics and political philosophy. Participants will also consider the possible relations between conceptions of freedom developed in Africa and conceptions of freedom that have emerged elsewhere in the world.

Speakers include:

Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Professor of French and Philosophy at Columbia University, and leading philosopher in the fields of the history of logic, mathematics, epistemology, Islamic philosophy and philosophy and literature.

F. Abiola Irele, Visiting Professor of African and African American Studies and Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University, and a leading literary critic and scholar of African literature.

Ifeanyi Menkiti, Professor of Philosophy, Wellesley College, a leading philosopher on the relationship between philosophy and literature and the philosophy of law and medical ethics.

Nkiru Nzegwu, Professor of Africana Studies and Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture, Binghamton University, and leading African philosopher on African feminism. She also is a poet and curator.

Symposium Schedule

9 a.m. Welcome and Introductory Remarks

  • Corey D. B. Walker, Brown University

9:15-11:15 a.m. Conversation I

  • F. Abiola Irele, Harvard University “The Political Imagination in Africa”
  • Ifeanyi Menkiti, Wellesley College “Freedom and Community: From the Personal to the Political”


  • Corey Brettschneider, Brown University
  • Anani Dzidzienyo, Brown University

1-3 p.m. Conversation II

  • Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Columbia University “On the African Charter on Human Rights”
  • Nkiru Nzegwu, Binghampton University “The Missing Omu Parallel: Reconceptualizing Political Systems to Guarantee Women’s Rights and Freedoms”


  • Olakunle George, Brown University
  • Paget Henry, Brown University

Harmon Family Lecture: And what About the Human? Africana Political Thought and the Politics of Freedom

Thursday, March 19, 2009
5 p.m.
Room 305, Pembroke Hall

This lecture by Tony Bogues, department chair and professor of Africana Studies, will challenge some of the conventional ways in which we think about Africana political thought and intellectual history. Working through the ideas of Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral and Aime Cesaire, the lecture will explore overarching questions posed by these thinkers in Africana anti-colonial thought, and suggest the relevance of these preoccupations for the contemporary world.