Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Notes on UTSA's Annual African American Studies Symposium

This was my first time attending UTSA's Annual African American Studies Symposium. However, I've heard about the program for years now based on conversations with Joycelyn Moody, who founded the symposium when she arrived at the university. This was the seventh year of the symposium.

Organized by Rhonda Gonzales, Sonja Lanehart, Joycelyn Moody, Scott Sherer, and Deborah Thomas, the symposium theme this year was "100 Years Forward in African American Literary and Visual Arts."

The program included presentations on Jim Crow signage in works by Toni Morrison, race in children's books, contemporary black visual artists, Ernest Crchlow's lithograph Lovers, and the artwork of Mary Frances Robinson. I contributed a presentation on Malcolm X.
UTSA's symposium is a really good model for what's possible at various other institutions interested in African American programming. Among other things, the UTSA symposium really serves the local student population in useful ways. The presentations are set on the time of changing classes, so several teachers and professors at the university invited their classes to attend. The event exposed them to a range of ideas from specialists in different fields; the student may not have otherwise had such opportunities.

Malcolm X & Visual Aesthetics

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