The Department of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University will hold its fifth biennial Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference (AGAWC) on April 9 and 10, 2020. The conference will focus on the leadership and activism of university/college students and the militarized violent responses they faced. The conference will occur at a time when the City of Kent and Kent State University will recognize and honor the lives of four students who were killed, and 9 students who were wounded, on Kent State’s campus during a student protest held on May 4, 1970. Situating the May 4th massacre within national and international contexts, we aim to capture the leadership and collective action of students during the late 1960s and early 1970s and how their increased activisms have historically and currently pushed their nations toward change. Prior to the May 4th killings at Kent State, hundreds of students in Mexico City (1968) were gunned down at the hands of the military. Similarly, students were killed on other university campuses including Orangeburg (1968, now South Carolina State) and Jackson State (1970, Mississippi). In Quebec, Canada, students were jailed after the Sir George Williams uprising (1969); in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (1970) and the University of the West Indies, students formed the National Joint Action Committee (1969) and began a radical movement towards social change. Students were massacred in 1976, in Soweto, South Africa and in Gwang-ju, South Korea in 1980. Further student uprisings occurred in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, and, more recently, across Africa and the Middle East, in the "Arab" Spring of 2010/11.
Since the major gains of a global Civil Rights Movement have been increasingly challenged, weakened, or eroded by various political administrations and inefficient or ill-intended public policies, it is imperative to revisit the history and legacies of activism that led Peoples of African descent and other marginalized communities worldwide to stand against exploitation and state violence. Re-examining and safeguarding this history through the prism of student protests from the 1960s to the present will enable us to center the resistance of Peoples of African descent, Indigenous Peoples, and other Peoples of Color in national and international debates on civil rights, individual and communal liberties, freedom, equality, upward mobility, and other measurements of democracy.
The AGAWC is particularly interested in highlighting the lives of Peoples of African descent, Indigenous Peoples, and other Peoples of Color. Topics and themes of papers/artistic works include:
Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference Pre and Post Events
Babacar M’Baye, Ph.D.
English and Pan-African Studies
207 E. Satterfield Hall
316 Oscar Ritchie Hall
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44240
Tel: (Office) 330-672-1742;
Tel: (Office) 330-672-0155