African American Studies 10th anniversary celebration at MSU [Nov. 5-6]

Earl Lewis (Submitted photo)

Mississippi State University will welcome prominent black studies scholars this month for a two-day conference celebrating the culmination of the African American Studies program's 10th anniversary.

Free to all, the conference gets underway Nov. 5 with a 6 p.m. film screening and panel discussion for the award-winning 2016 documentary "Agents of Change" in the Colvard Student Union's second-floor Bill R. Foster Ballroom. Rick Travis, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will give opening remarks.

Panelists include the film's co-director Frank Dawson, interim dean of career education at Santa Monica College's Center for Media and Design; Shirley Hanshaw, MSU professor of English; and Jerry Varnado, attorney at law, activist and San Francisco State University graduate.

Nicole Rader, interim administrative director of MSU's AAS program and College of Arts and Sciences interim associate dean for academic affairs, will deliver an official conference welcome at 8:30 a.m. Monday [Nov. 6] in the Union ballroom. Following her remarks, MSU Department of History Head Alan Marcus will give a "Thinking Back on 10 Years of AAS" presentation. 

Several panel discussions with question-and-answer sessions, as well as a keynote address luncheon, featuring Earl Lewis, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will take place Monday in the Union ballroom. They include:

—9-10:30 a.m., “Historical Issues in African American Studies” panel discussion moderated by Anthony Neal, MSU assistant professor of philosophy and religion. In addition to Varnado, panelists include Benny Stewart, activist and San Francisco State University graduate, and Jason Morgan Ward, MSU professor of history.

—11-12:30 p.m., luncheon featuring a keynote address by Earl Lewis, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Judy Bonner, MSU provost and executive vice president, and Don Shaffer, MSU associate professor of English, will give remarks prior to Lewis’ presentation.

—1-2:30 p.m., “Contemporary Issues in African American Studies” panel discussion moderated by Shaffer. Panelists include Maggie Hagerman, MSU assistant professor of sociology; Mark Christian, professor and chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Lehman College - City University of New York; activist Vernon Smith, former journalism and radio-TV-film production student and Black Student Union member at San Francisco State University; and activist Bernard Stringer, a San Francisco State University graduate who became the first student in the U.S. to earn a degree in black studies.

—2:45-4:15 p.m., “Future Issues in African American Studies” panel discussion moderated by Andrea Spain, MSU associate professor of English. Panelists include James Garrett, activist featured in “Agents of Change”; Francoise Hamlin, associate professor of history and Africana studies at Brown University; Irene Smalls, award-winning author, historian, literacy entrepreneur, activist and Cornell University graduate; and Ramona Tascoe, activist, physician, ordained minister and San Francisco State University graduate.

A reception with complimentary refreshments will take place 4:15-5:30 p.m. in the Union’s second-floor Old Main Lounge.

2017 Black Studies Conference Flyer