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Africana Studies

Calendar of Events

Human Trafficking Q&A

Human Trafficking Q&A

April 24, 201412:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Thorne Hall, Pinette Dining Room

June Guo will share insights from her recent experience attending the Not Here conference on Human Trafficking. She will be joined by a panel of faculty and other concerned students to answer questions, examine the local and global dimensions of the problem, and discuss what Bowdoin can do to make a difference on this issue.

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AIDS is a Kinship Disease: Orphan Care and the Changing Family in Lesotho

AIDS is a Kinship Disease: Orphan Care and the Changing Family in Lesotho

April 14, 20146:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Adams Hall, Room 208

In Ellen Block's talk, titled AIDS is a Kinship Disease: Orphan Care and the Changing Family in Lesotho, she argues that AIDS is best understood through its definitive connections with kinship practices as its impact reaches beyond the individual who is sick, transforming families and reflecting broader concerns about societal change. Rather than simply maintaining that people respond to the problem of AIDS by drawing on sociality and cultural ideologies, she argues that AIDS is at the center of a crisis in African kinship and that orphan care provides a lens through which to examine the complex webs of belief, social relations, biomedical practices, and structural realities which characterize the crisis. She will illuminate two key areas where this relational view of AIDS is exhibited and where the intersections of AIDS and kinship is revealed.  First, she discusses the way in which biomedical knowledge is filtered through a social lens in order to shape Basotho’s understanding of AIDS’ impact on the body.  Second, she explores how the presence of AIDS orphans has changed household configurations.  She will show how the negotiations for AIDS orphans has served to simultaneously reinforce patrilineal and patriarchal values, while fundamentally shifting caregiving practices to favor matrilocality.

Sponsored by the Departments of Sociology & Anthropology, Gender & Women's Studies, and the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund

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The Uncondemned: The Prosecution of Rape at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

The  Uncondemned:  The Prosecution of Rape at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

April 8, 20147:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Cleaveland 151

5.3 From April through July 1994, many Tutsi men, women and children were attacked, abducted, raped and massacred in their residences or at their places of shelter or arrested, detained and later murdered. The Accused commanded, organized, supervised and participated in these attacks.

5.4 These attackers, comprising the members of the Police Communale, Gendarmerie Nationale and Interahamwe militia who were under the control of the Accused, used guns, grenades, machetes, spears, pangas, cudgels and other weapons to slaughter the Tutsis.

5.5 The Accused ordered and witnessed the raping and other sexual assaults on the Tutsi females. At all times material to this indictment, the Accused, as a person in authority over the attackers failed to take any measure to stop these nefarious acts on the Tutsi females. The Accused is responsible for the rape of Tutsi(s) as part of a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population on political, ethnic or racial grounds, and thereby committed CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, pursuant to Article 3(g) and punishable in reference to Articles 22 and 23 of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda.

Join co-producer, director and writer Michele Mitchell on Tuesday, April 8 at 7:30 PM in Cleaveland 151 to discuss "The Uncondemned:  The Prosecution of Rape at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda." 

Michele Mitchell is the executive editor of Film at Eleven and the filmmaker behind the PBS special “Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?” which won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Television Documentary, the Gracie Award for Best Investigative Documentary, the CINE Special Jury Award for Best Investigative Feature and the CINE Golden Eagle for Investigative Feature, among other honors. She recently complete work as co-director of “The Water War” which is currently in post-production.

 Previously, she was the investigative correspondent on “NOW with Bill Moyers” (PBS), where she won a Gracie Award and an honorary citation at the Overseas Press Awards, and political anchor at CNN Headline News. She is the author of three books and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, and “All Things Considered” on NPR. A graduate of Northwestern University, she began her career on Capitol Hill.

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Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War: Russwurm Lecturer Robert Levine

Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War: Russwurm Lecturer Robert Levine

April 3, 20146:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Moulton Union, Lancaster Lounge

Robert S. Levine, Professor of English and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland, College Park will deliver the annual John Brown Russwurm Lecture at 6:30 pm Thursday, April 3 2014, in the Lancaster Lounge of Moulton Union. A reception in the Main Lounge will precede the lecture, and both are free and open to the public.

Professor Levine's topic, "Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War" reflects his interest in Douglass, who is the subject of his current book project, The Lives of Frederick Douglass, which "aspires to offer a cultural history of how Douglass's life has been conceived over the past 170 years".

He serves on various editorial boards, including American Literary History; Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies; ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance; J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. His recent awards include a 2012-2013 National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Fellowship, and a 2013-2014 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

Named after the first African-American graduate of Bowdoin College (class of 1826), the lecture series explores the "legacy and status of Black Americans." Notable speakers include Carl Stokes, Vernon Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Bayard Rustin, Benjamin Hooks, and Julian Bond, among others.

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Community Lecture Series

Community  Lecture Series

April 3, 201412:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Moulton Union, Main Lounge

Will History Get it Right on Martin Luther King Jr.? by Brian Purnell, Assistant Professor, Africana Studies.

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Jessa Lingel Lecture - Facebook is Anti-Drag: Issues of Online Community and Communication

Jessa Lingel Lecture - Facebook is Anti-Drag: Issues of Online Community and Communication

March 31, 20147:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Moulton Union, Lancaster Lounge

Online technologies have provided a means of storytelling, visualization, community building, and educational resources that have particular significance for groups that have been historically disenfranchised.

Jessa Lingel addresses the role of technology in the lives of a specific queer community, performers in Brooklyn's drag scene. Her talk addresses both the benefits and limitations of social media platforms for members of this particular set of queer lives and the intersection of queer theory with internet studies.

Jessa Lingel is a postdoctoral research fellow at Microsoft Research New England, working with the Social Media Collective.

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Mayra Santos-Febres: Postcolonial Delusions - The Caribbean and Global Dissolution

Mayra Santos-Febres: Postcolonial Delusions - The Caribbean and Global Dissolution

March 26, 20147:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

Mayra Santos-Febres is one of the most versatile authors in the contemporary Caribbean literary scene and the first Latin American Afra-Hispanic literary celebrity. A PhD graduate from Cornell, and a professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Santos-Febres is a poet, novelist, blogger and critic, as well an active public voice promoting literature as a means for decolonization. She has published the novels Sirena Selena vestida de pena (2000), Cualquier miercoles soy tuya (2002), Nuestra senora de la noche (2006), and Fe en disfraz (2009) (all translated in English), several collections of poetry, volumes of essays and short stories. Her writing and public engagement make her emblematic of her generation of Latin American writers, shuttling between the traditionally intellectual arena and the popular culture scene. Santos-Febres is the recipient of several international awards, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard and Cornell University.

Santos-Febres' unique poetic universe is populated by marginalized and itinerant characters, such as transvestites and sex-workers, whose fictional voices both embody and challenge the global fantasies around the Caribbean and its people. Both in her fiction and scholarly work the author addresses the colonial legacy on the Caribbean, and the region's ongoing relation to the Global North, main themes of her public presentation at Bowdoin. She will also lead a Creative Writing Workshop with students (Wednesday, March 26, 4 pm at Sills 117). For more information please contact Nadia Celis (ncelis@bowdoin.edu).

The event is hosted by the Department of Romance Languages and co-sponsored by the Programs of Latin American Studies, Africana Studies, the English Department, the McKeen Center for Common Good and Lectures and Concerts.

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Power and Survival: The Untold Story of Slave Drivers in the British Caribbean

Power and Survival: The Untold Story of Slave Drivers in the British Caribbean

March 24, 20144:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Moulton Union, Lancaster Lounge

Dr. Randy Browne, Assistant Professor of History at Xavier University in Ohio, will lecture on a topic that most historians of slavery have overlooked - the role of slave drivers on plantations. 

"Drivers, who were ubiquitous on New World plantations, had one of the most difficult and most important jobs in Atlantic slave societies", and despite that, and "their importance in running plantations and shaping the daily lives of other enslaved people, little is known about them, especially in the Caribbean."


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Lecture: Who Was Mary Webb?

Lecture: Who Was Mary Webb?

March 3, 20145:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Massachusetts Hall, Faculty Room

Mary Webb was a black female elocutionist who toured Britain in 1856 as Harriet Beecher Stowe's public reader. Not enough is known about Mrs. Webb, the daughter of a fugitive slave who was one of the earliest professional African American performers. 


Laura Korobkin is Associate Professor of English at Boston University, and author of Criminal Conversations: Stories of Adultery and the Law in Late 19th Century America.


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Film Screening: Fruitvale Station (2013)

Film Screening: Fruitvale Station (2013)

February 27, 20147:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Cleaveland 151

Black History Month Film Festival

Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award of U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Fruitvale Station follows the true story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008; a day that takes a tragic turn, however, when BART officers shoot him at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year's Day.

85 min.

Brought to you by Africana Studies and the African American Society

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Discussion Panel with artist Zen Browne

Discussion Panel with artist Zen Browne

February 27, 20147:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Burnett House, Living Room

The panelist will discuss trans experiences and media representation, and closes the exhibit in the Blue Gallery of Smith Union.



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World Cinema Film Festival: "The Ambassador"

World Cinema Film Festival: "The Ambassador"

February 20, 20147:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

Bowdoin's World Cinema Film Festival offers a varied program of important contemporary narrative and documentary films from around the world with post-screening discussions moderated by faculty and students.

The Ambassador (Mads Brugger, Denmark, 2011) is presented by Ericka Albaugh (Government) and Evan Bulman (Reed House). Armed with hidden cameras, black-market credentials, and his wit, a journalist transforms himself into the caricature of a European-African consul to expose Africa's blood diamond trade.

A post-screening reception will be provided by the students of Reed House.

Official Trailer

For more information, contact the Film Studies Program at (207) 725-3552

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Film Screening: "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners" (2012)

Film Screening: "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners" (2012)

February 13, 20147:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Cleaveland 151

Black History Month Film Festival

A documentary that chronicles the life of young college professor Angela Davis, and how her social activism implicates her in a botched kidnapping attempt that ends with a shootout, four dead, and her name on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.

102 min.

Brought to you by Africana Studies and the African American Society

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Zen Browne Exhibit

Zen Browne Exhibit

February 12, 20148:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Blue Gallery

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"Was Uncle Tom from South Carolina?" Thoughts about revelations, inspirations and the storied life of John Andrew Jackson

"Was Uncle Tom from South Carolina?" Thoughts about revelations, inspirations and the storied life of John Andrew Jackson

February 10, 20145:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Massachusetts Hall, Faculty Room

Susanna Ashton, Professor of English at Clemson University, made an exciting discovery in 2013 - she found the previously unnamed slave who she believes helped inspire Harriet Beecher Stowe to pen Uncle Tom's Cabin.

His name is John Andrew Jackson, and in 1850 he was fleeing the recently passed Fugitive Slave Act. After arriving in Maine, he was directed to Stowe's home where she took him in for the night, hiding him in her home's "waste room."

Uncle Tom's Cabin, published in 1852, fueled the abolitionist movement and helped set the nation on the path to abolishing slavery. Some even claimed it helped start the Civil War.

Jackson was born in 1825 on a mid-size plantation in what is now known as Lee County, S.C. He had a wife and daughter who were sold and sent to Georgia. Shortly after, Jackson made his escape. He made his way to Canada by way of Maine, where he was directed to Stowe's home.

Jackson later learned to read and write and published his own book, The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina, in which he writes, "(Stowe) took me in and fed me, and gave me some clothes and five dollars. She also inspected my back, which is covered with scars which I shall carry with me to the grave. She listened with great interest to my story."

Ashton will talk about how this discovery "changes the history of one of the most important works of American literature." Her findings can be found here: http://www.common-place.org/vol-13/no-04/ashton/

This lecture is presented as part of the Civil War Era cluster, made possible with a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Environmental Justice: At the Crossroads with Public Health, Conservation Politics, and Generational Change

Environmental Justice: At the Crossroads with Public Health, Conservation Politics, and Generational Change

February 8, 201410:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Schwartz Outdoor Leadership, Beebe Room

Schwartz Outdoor Leadership, Beebe Room

This program will bring together practitioners and experts in the environmental justice movement who will focus on the interconnected issues of environmental health, and conservation politics. Speakers and participants will also explore and discuss the importance of equity, inclusiveness and diversity for the future of the environmental movement and social change.

Angela Park will be the keynote speaker. Ms. Park is the founder and executive director of Diversity Matters (soon to be Mission Critical), a Fellow of the Sustainability Institute's Donella Meadows Leadership Program, and author of Everybody's Movement: Environmental Justice and Climate Change. Ms. Park is a writer and a consultant to non-profits, governments, foundations, and companies. Much of her work focuses on the integration of social, environmental, and economic issues, and she is a leading expert on equity and diversity in the environmental field in the United States.

This symposium is free to Bowdoin students, staff, and faculty. A $10 registration fee to cover lunch is asked of other participants.

REGISTER HERE.

For more information please contact Rosie Armstrong, 207-725-3396, rarmstro@bowdoin.edu.

CO-SPONSORED BY the Departments of Africana Studies, Earth & Oceanographic Science, Gender & Women's Studies, Government & Legal Studies, History, Math, Philosophy, the Asian Studies Program, Environmental Studies Program, the McKeen Center, and Sustainable Bowdoin.

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Film Screening: Hollywood Shuffle

Film Screening: Hollywood Shuffle

February 6, 20147:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Cleaveland 151

Black History Month Film Festival.

Directed by Robert Townsend. An actor limited to stereotypical roles because of his ethnicity, dreams of making it big as a highly respected performer. As he makes his rounds, the film takes a satiric look at African American actors in Hollywood.

87 min.

Brought to you by Africana Studies and the African American Society.

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Zen Browne Exhibit

Zen Browne Exhibit

February 6, 20148:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Blue Gallery

Exhibit in the Blue Gallery of Smith Union 
February 6 – 28

Opening reception in the Blue Gallery on 
February 6 at 4:30 pm

Zen Browne is visual artist whose current work focuses on oil paintings of transmale figures. These portraits of female-to-male transsexuals meditate on identity and serve to counteract the underrepresentation of the transsexual experience in visual culture. Moreover, these paintings also mirror Browne's own sense of selfhood, both artistically and personally. 

Where Browne's past work has documented a self-expression in flux through allegorical representations, his adopting of the portrait form serves to ground these themes in transformation of everyday life, producing representations of friends and acquaintances of various races and ethnicities that are at once intimate and real. The portraits - 12 in total, ranging in size from 24" x 48" to 48" x 49" - strive to locate a commonality on the plane of human experience, while initiating a constructive dialogue about the spectrum and self-expression of gender and racial identity. 

This exhibit coincides with the programming schedule for a month-long series of events devoted to issues related to LGBTQ visibility, politics, and culture. Collectively, these events are known as "Februqueery."

Sponsored by the Gay & Lesbian Studies Program, Visual Arts, Bowdoin Queer Straight Alliance, Burnett House, Lectures & Concerts, and the Resource Center for Gender & Sexual Diversity.

Open to the public.

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Climbing PoeTree Performance, Martin Luther King Jr. Campus Celebration

Climbing PoeTree Performance, Martin Luther King Jr. Campus Celebration

January 20, 20147:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

Climbing PoeTree (Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman) is a performing duo from Brooklyn, New York, that explores the intersection of arts and activism by interweaving spoken word, hip hop and award-winning multi-media theater. 


With flawless cadence and impeccable lyricism, Alixa and Naima weave together their voices to tell powerful stories of love and liberation, state and personal violence, social, environmental, racial, and sexual justice, woman's empowerment and human transcendence.

This event is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Programs.

Free. No tickets required. For more information contact the Office of Events and Summer Programs, events@bowdoin.edu or 207-725-3433.

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"Their Eyes Were Watching God"

"Their Eyes Were Watching God"

December 5, 20137:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Moulton Union, Main Lounge

Revisiting Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God


Bowdoin Book Lecture by Guy Mark Foster, associate professor of English

About the novel:
First published at the closing years of the Harlem Renaissance, in 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God has since become a landmark text within the African American women's literary tradition. The novel's black female protagonist, Janie Crawford, experiences more than her share of joy and tragedy as she embarks on a series of intimate relationships with three different men, each of whom has a significant role to play in this character's colorful and tumultuous journey to self-knowledge. Along the way, Janie learns a great deal about the world of men and women during an era of racial inequality, as well as her own capacity to love and endure. Many early critics considered Their Eyes to be somewhat anomalous, as most black writers during this period chose to center the narrative of racial conflict between the races in their writings. Hurston's novel is an exception.

About the speaker:
Guy Mark Foster teaches courses in African American literature as well as Gay and Lesbian Studies at Bowdoin College. He has published critical essays on such diverse topics as interracial intimacy, black female identity, the contemporary romance novel, and LGBTQ representation in popular culture. He is presently revising a book-length manuscript entitled, "Waking up to the Enemy: Towards a New Ethics of Interracial Intimacy in African American Literature." Also a fiction writer, Professor Foster's short story collection, The Rest of Us, was recently published by Lethe Press.

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Winter of Arab Discontent

Winter of Arab Discontent

November 18, 20137:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

As'ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. AbuKhalil is the author of Historical Dictionary of Lebanon (1998), Bin Laden, Islam & America's New "War on Terrorism" (2002), and The Battle for Saudi Arabia (2004). He maintains a blog, The Angry Arab News Service. He will be discussing trends in the Middle East in the age of uprising.

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Slavery, Freedom and the Legacy of the American Revolution

Slavery, Freedom and the Legacy of the American Revolution

November 12, 20134:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Hawthorne Longfellow Library, Nixon Lounge

Matthew Spooner ('01), ABD, Columbia University, presents Slavery, Freedom and the Legacy of the American Revolution.

This nation was born of a contradiction. The American Revolution, considered as an ideological watershed and as a long and bloody military struggle, led directly to both a new birth of freedom and a great expansion of slavery. Beginning with a discussion of the meaning that the War for Independence had for slaves and free citizens, this talk will reevaluate the impact of the Revolution and explore the twinned rise of slavery and freedom in American History, a complex legacy that we continue to carry in our cities, our prisons, and our foreign wars.

Sponsored by the Departments of History and Africana Studies

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Coffee Colonialism

Coffee Colonialism

October 30, 20137:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Searles Science Building, Room 315

Professor Steven Topik (History, University of California, Irvine) will be delivering the lecture "Coffee Colonialism: From the Spice Trade to European Colonies to Latin American National Export Crop"

Coffee, along with sugar, has long been considered one of the primary crops of European colonialism. Prof. Topik, one of the foremost authorities on the global history of the coffee market, will argue that European purveyors were “Johnny-come-latelies” and that New World colonies were much more than simply slaves of their colonial masters.  In fact, they played an important role in shaping the international market for this commodity. Topik’s lecture will trace the evolution of the coffee market and trace our love affair with a beverage that has become such a mainstay in our lives. 


Wednesday, October 30
7:30pm
Searles 315


This lecture is sponsored by the Latin American Studies Program, with support from the History and Africana Studies Departments.

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"The Rest of Us: Stories" with Guy Mark Foster

"The Rest of Us: Stories" with Guy Mark Foster

October 30, 20134:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Massachusetts Hall, Faculty Room

"The Rest of Us: Stories" Book Release Celebration with Professor Guy Mark Foster

Bowdoin College Associate Professor of English Guy Mark Foster will read from and discuss his newly released collection of short stories, The Rest of Us: Stories (2013).

The Rest of Us has been described as "a remarkable collection of short stories that embrace the breadth and depth of being a gay African-American ... The boys and men in Guy Mark Foster's tales refuse to be bound by the heavy chains of oppressive religion in the family household or racism encountered on campus."

Of Foster's short story collection, Nisi Shawl, co-author of Writing the Other: Bridging Cultural Differences for Successful Fiction says, ''Love makes us all vulnerable. Guy Mark Foster's exquisitely crafted new collection The Rest of Us cradles that vulnerability in crystal-clear yet cryptic language...The Rest of Us rings true notes, dances surely through complicated steps, and offers intimate, detailed vignettes of heroes who surprise readers and themselves with their despair, determination, and hope.''

Copies of The Rest of Us are available for sale at the Bowdoin Bookstore. This event is free and open to the public.

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American Political Economy From the Age of Jackson to the Civil War

American Political Economy From the Age of Jackson to the Civil War

October 19, 20138:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Hubbard Hall, Room 208 Thomas F. Shannon Room

This symposium is a forum for reexamination of American political economy from the Age of Jackson to the Civil War during the war's sesquicentennial. It brings together historians of economics, scholars of American political development, and historians of antebellum America and the Civil-War era to debate the originality and continuing relevance of a neglected set of American economic thinkers.

All panels, which are free and open to the public, will be held in the Shannon Room, Hubbard Hall, on Saturday and Sunday, October 19-20, 2013.  For more information, please see the symposium website »

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Adolescents in the Americas: Negotiating Identities, Shaping Contexts in an Interconnected World

Adolescents in the Americas: Negotiating Identities, Shaping Contexts in an Interconnected World

October 4, 20139:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Moulton Union, Lancaster Lounge

Friday, October 4th

9:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m. Friday, "Youth Refiguring Gender and Sexuality: Institutional Contexts, Interpersonal Dynamics"

1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Friday, "Political Engagement and Social Activism among Youth: Opportunities and Possibilities, Present and Future"

This two-day symposium examines the myriad ways in which the activities and voices of youth impact contemporary politics, public culture, and social and interpersonal relationships. Participants include leading scholars in Africana studies, anthropology, education, gay and lesbian studies, gender studies, Latin American and Latino studies, and sociology who conduct research in the United States, Canada and Latin America. For more information and the complete schedule of events, go to: bowdoin.edu/socanthro/symposia/adolescents-in-the-americas-2013/

SPONSORED BY the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs, the Departments of Education and Sociology and Anthropology, and by the Latin American Studies Program.

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Africana Studies Information Session and Open House

Africana Studies Information Session and Open House

September 25, 20135:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Russwurm African-American Center, Multipurpose

For all students contemplating their major or minor: 


Interested in Africana Studies? 

- Come and meet faculty and students of the program 
- Refreshments will be served!

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