Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference

Leadership, Student Activism and the Struggle for Democracy: National and International Contexts”

Postponed, new date to be announced.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Akinyele Umoja

The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Akinyele Umoja, is an educator, scholar-activist and author. Currently, he is a Professor of the Department of African-American Studies at Georgia State University (GSU).

Dr. Umoja’s writing has been featured in scholarly publications including The Journal of Black Studies, New Political Science, The International Journal of Africana Studies, Black Scholar, Radical History Review, and Socialism and Democracy. He is the author of We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in The Mississippi Freedom Movement (New York University Press, 2013). Keynote address will be announced at a later date.

The Department of Africana Studies at Kent State University will hold its fifth biennial Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference (AGAWC). 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 nine students who were wounded, on Kent State's campus during a student protest held on May 4, 1970. Situating the May 4 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 activism has historically and currently pushed their nations toward change. Prior to the May 4 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 toward social change. Students were massacred in 1976, in Soweto, South Africa, and Gwangju, 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.

We invite abstracts for papers, workshops, panels, roundtables, video and poetry performances, and other artistic forms that address any of the above goals and themes. Abstracts should not exceed 250 words. Abstracts should explain the topic, the content and highlight key discussion points that advance the conference theme of increased activism from the 1960s to the present. The deadline for all abstracts has been extended to Dec. 1, 2019. Please submit a 50-word biography with your abstract.

Download full Call for Papers

For more information about the conference or to submit an abstract, please contact the Conference Committee electronically:

Information about the April 2018 Conference

The Department of Africana Studies at Kent State University held its fourth biennial Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference on April 12 and 13, 2018. The conference focused on intersectionalities between approaches to resistance that various communities have historically deployed to confront systemic forms of dominance. 

Professor Linda James Myers served as the keynote speaker for the April 2018 conference. She currently serves as the Director of the AAAS Community Extension Center, College of Arts and Sciences, and faculty of the Department of African American and African Studies at Ohio State University.  Professor Myers specializes in psychology and culture; moral and spiritual identity development; healing practices and psychotherapeutic processes; and intersections of race, gender and class.  

If you have questions or would like to learn more about the 2020 conference, please contact Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference Committee: