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Black women in Africa and African diaspora topic of conference

Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor
(217) 333-5491;

Mary Antonakos, I space coordinator  (312) 587-9976


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — An upcoming conference at the University of Illinois will focus on a variety of topics pertaining to black women in Africa and the African diaspora.

“Black Women in Africa & the African Diaspora:  Identity, Culture and Politics” is the theme of the conference, scheduled to take place June 1-4 at the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana.  It is being hosted by the UI’s Afro-American Studies and Research Program and Center for African Studies, with co-sponsorship provided by several campus units.

In addition to plenary speakers, panels and the presentation of academic papers on topics such as art and culture, education, health, politics, religion and technology, the conference will feature an exhibition of art by black women.  The exhibition, “Rivers of Spirit:  ArtWomen in the African Diaspora” will be on view June 2-Aug. 6 at the Krannert Art Museum, 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign.

“Our goals [in planning the conference] are to foster cross-cultural dialogues and discussions on black women’s research and to encourage course development in black women’s studies,” said conference organizer Alice Deck, a professor of English and of Afro-American studies and women’s studies.

Featured speakers:

• Carol Boyce Davies, the director of African new world studies at Florida International University and the author of “Black Women, Writing and Identity:  Migrations of the Subject.”

• Kathy Perkins, a UI professor of theater and the chair of lighting design, and the author of “Black South African Women:  An Anthology of Plays.”

• Dorothy Roberts, a professor of law, Northwestern University, and the author of “Killing the Black Body:  Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty.”

• Cherry Short, a businesswoman and county councillor, Cardiff, Wales, and the author of “Working with Differences.”

The conference registration fee is $130; after May 15, the fee increases to $150.  The fee for students is $90.  To register, or for more information, call 333-2888, or visit the conference Web site: