Africana Studies Scholars to Meet April 4 and 5


Africana Studies Scholars to Meet April 4 and 5

A gathering of prominent regional, national and international scholars on collegiate Africana studies will share their ideas during the annual conference of the New York African Studies Association (NYASA) on Friday, April 4, and Saturday, April 5, at SUNY Cortland.

Events in the conference, “Praxis Africana: (Re)framing the Arts, Sciences, Cultural and Community Engagement,” will take place in Moffett Center and Sperry Center.

The conference program can be viewed at

“We are expecting scholars from Europe, Russia and Africa, about 140 presenters plus visitors,” said Mechthild “Mecke” Nagel, this year’s NYASA president. “We are very excited that the conference is returning to Cortland after a very successful conference was hosted here in 2000.”

Oyeronke Oyewumi
Professor Oyeronke Oyewumi

Nagel, a SUNY Cortland professor of philosophy, is co-chairing the two-day event with Seth Asumah, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science at the College and chair of the Africana Studies Department.

Stony Brook University Professor Oyeronke Oyewumi will deliver the keynote address during Saturday’s NYASA banquet and awards ceremony.

Born in Nigeria and educated at the University of Ibadan, and the University of California at Berkeley, this sociologist by training has focused her research on gender, race and knowledge, and social inequalities both local and global. Her monograph, Invention of Women, won the 1998 Distinguished Book Award in the Gender and Sex Section of the American Sociological Association and was a finalist for that same year’s Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association. She has garnered three Rockefeller Fellowships, a Presidential fellowship and a Ford Foundation grant. Oyewumi delivered a keynote lecture at the fourth European Conference on African Studies (ECAS) in Uppsala, Sweden.

Another conference highlight is a plenary session titled “Madiba Nelson Mandela: The Man, His Vision, Politics and Legacy,” which features a panel of distinguished Africanists. Moderated by Asumah, the discussion will include Binghamton University Professor Ali A. Mazrui, Syracuse University Professor Micere Mugo and Cornell University Professor Locksley Edmondson.

Sam Kelley
 The conference will give a forum to scholars from Europe, Russia and Africa, and will feature about 140 presenters. 

Additionally, Friday’s conference opening reception will include remarks by Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin, SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum, Student Government Association President LeighMarie Weber and Black Student Union President Jahtayshia Davis. The event is set for 5:45 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.

The cost is $150 for regular registration and $60 for students. The fee covers meals, refreshments and the conference banquet on Saturday, April 5. This year, neither one-day nor senior registration is available.

Walk-in registration in the Sperry Center lobby will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 4, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 5. Registration and payment online also is available. For more information about the conference including the speaker lineup and advance registration, visit the conference’s website.

After the conference is over, organizers plan to publish a book of the proceedings.

NYASA, founded in 1967 as the SUNY African Studies Faculty Association, is a non-profit membership association, incorporated as NYASA in 1975, dedicated to advancing the discipline of Africana Studies.

NYASA encompasses Africanists who are faculty members at colleges and universities, researchers, professionals and students.

As a regional organization, the New York African Studies Association promotes the visibility and advancement of the discipline in New York state and surrounding areas. The association offers opportunities for the scholarly and professional development of educators and enhanced education for community members, leaders and activists.

For more information, contact Nagel at 607-753-2013 or Asumah at 607-753-2064.