Africana Studies Conference Feb. 26-27 at Gettysburg College

Public health policies that affect people in sub-Saharan Africa and African Diaspora will be the topic of the annual Central Pennsylvania Consortium Africana Studies Conference Feb. 26-27 at Gettysburg College.

This year's conference, "Public Health, Human Prosperity, and Justice: Public Policy in the African American Diaspora," will feature an art exhibit, jazz concert, panel discussions and keynote address by Dr. Beverly Wright, director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University in New Orleans. Scholars from multiple disciplines will foster dialogue among panelists, visiting faculty, students and other attendees.

The conference schedule appears below and all events and talks are free and open to the public. To register for the conference, contact Sheila Supenski at 717.337.6796 or There is no cost to register.

Feb. 26
Artist talk, 4-5 p.m., Schmucker Art Gallery
"Maren Hassinger: Lives," an exhibition of the artist's films, sculptures, and installations. Hassinger's work provides a contemplative perspective on complicated issues of nature, culture and identity in relation to broader themes of race, gender, politics and social policy.

Opening reception and art exhibit, 5-7 p.m., Schmucker Art Gallery
Works in the exhibition include "Legacy" (2006), a thirteen-minute video of phrases related to the African-American experience projected onto an archival photograph of former slaves harvesting sweet potatoes. Hassinger questions how contemporary perceptions and racial stereotypes intersect with past American politics. In "Wrenching News" (2008), sculptures composed of twisted pieces of The New York Times, Hassinger provides an examination of how public issues, politics and social problems are dispersed, received and (literally) twisted and wrenched.

Jazz-Poetry Conversations, 7:30 p.m., Schmucker Hall's Paul Recital Hall
Featuring the poetry of Michael S. Harper in dialogue with music composed and performed by Gettysburg College professor Paul Austerlitz. The concert will include a performance by the Gettysburg College student jazz group, Jazz Dispatch, with student Tyreen Sims reading original poetry. Harper and Austerlitz will also release their new CD, "The Fret Cycle," at the event.

Feb. 27
Continental breakfast, 8 a.m., Science Center

Panel, "Race, Public Policy, & Public Health," 8:30-10 a.m.,
Dr. Richard Mizelle, assistant professor of history at Florida State University; Dr. Amy Dailey, assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at University of Florida; and Dr. Clarence Spigner, associate professor in the department of health services at University of Washington School of Public Health.

Panel, "The Failure of AIDS Policy for Africa," 10:30 a.m.-noon
Moritz Hunsmann, Freiburg University in Germany; David Gisselquist, independent consultant; and Larry Sawers, American University.

Lunch, Specialty Dining Hall

Environmental Justice, Ecological Citizenship and Urban Policy, 1-2:30 p.m.
Dr. Kenneth Gould, professor and chair of sociology at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York; Dr. Kimberly Ruffin; and Dr. Tammy Lewis, visiting professor at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.

Keynote address, 3-4 p.m.
Dr. Beverly Wright, director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University in New Orleans. A sociology professor and New Orleans native, Wright joined the environmental justice movement after a visit to "Cancer Alley," as many residents call the Lower Mississippi River Industrial Corridor, an 85-mile stretch of oil refineries and petrochemical plants between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Her recent book is "Race, Place, and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina" with Robert D. Bullard.

The Central Pennsylvania Consortium, founded in 1968, comprises Dickinson, Gettysburg and Franklin & Marshall colleges. The consortium promotes institutional collaboration among the three schools and offers a wide range of academic and cultural programs for students, faculty, administrators, as well as residents in the surrounding communities. Through an annual Africana Studies Conference, the CPC colleges explore the multifaceted and interrelated histories, cultures and intellectual contributions of Africans and peoples of African origin on the continent and throughout the Diaspora. The conferences seek to bring together scholars, visual and performing artists and political activists who are critically engaged in the study and production of Black identity and communities.


Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Posted: Fri, 19 Feb 2010

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