Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Black Buzz in Paris in June

There is an intellectual buzz going on in Paris around the Black presence in France in June. It’s a rare occasion and treat. Several conferences and groupings around various aspects of Blacks in France - and that includes our reflections on our own African-American history, Negritude, Immigration and Identification in Black France, and lots more. Plus the screening of hosts the PBS documentary series ‘African American Lives’ hosted by Henry Louis Gates, and to top it off, some insight on the Barack Obama effect in France.

June 2008 in Paris - Black Is Beautiful! And up for some pretty hot discussion.

Here’s a quick look:

June 6 & 7

France Noire - Black France

The Poetics and Politics of Blackness

This colloquium is offering some really high level discussions with leading thinkers and movers. Some inviting sessions include: The Unheard of Voice in Black Paris with Brent Edwards of Columbia U., Reflections on the Future of Black Paris by Rosetta Jules-Rosette, The Black Question in the French media since 2005 by TV journalist Fatimata Wane-Sagna, and much more.

You can read the full schedule and location here: http://history.berkeley.edu/faculty/Stovall/conference/

Novelist Jake Lamar and Artist/Author Barbara Chase-Riboud will also be participating.

Of special note: Opening remarks will be by Tyler Stovall, author of the very informative guide ‘Paris Noire’, and key note speaker is Madame Christiane Taubira of the French Parliament (whose groundbreaking legislation Taubira Law recognizes slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity).

If you are within flying distance of Paris, don’t miss this gathering of great minds and fodder for brilliant discussion.

June 19-21

The American University in Paris is hosting an International Conference on Richard Wright. September 4 of this year would have been the writer’s 100th birthday and the university program is drawing scholars and experts from across the world. Wright left such a rich body of work and his life experience played out to characterize several crucial moments in Black American history - from his childhood in Natchez Mississippi where this intellectually curious young boy found a way to obtain a forbidden library card, to sidestepping a ‘set for life’ job at the post office in Chicago in exchange for the precarity of speaking his mind through his writing, exploring the decidedly non-American option of communism, and finally breaking away to friendlier turf in France.

The conference also honor former Richard Wright scholar, Professor Michel Fabre, who brought many students of all ages and nationalities to the richness of African-American literature. I, for one, remember being quite surprised to find myself the only Black student in one of his Black Lit classes at the Sorbonne.

For the full schedule on the International Richard Wright Conference:


For the conference, Walking The Spirit Tours is the official tour provider of walks through Black history in the Latin Quarter & St.Germain-des-Pres. www.walkingthespirit.com

June 4

The screening of the unprecedented PBS series ‘African-American Lives’, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B Du Bois professor of the Humanities and chair of African and African-American Studies at Harvard U.

The series provides a life-changing journey for 12 highly accomplished African-Americans (such as Maya Angelou, Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock, Tina Turner…). It uses genealogy, oral history, family stories and DNA analysis to help trace lineage through African history and back to Africa.

Episode 1 June 4 - The Road Home focuses on stories of the participants’ ancestors from the early 20th century

Episode 2 June 11- A Way Out of No Way continues back through the late 1800s to the Civil War.

Shows at 12 noon and 7 pm.

At the Mona Bismarck Foundation, 34 avenue de New York, Paris 16, Metro: Alma-Marceau or Iena,

Cost 5 E.

Absolutely must RSVP to aawe@wanadoo.fr

June 3rd - Tuesday

The Barack Obama Effect in France

Want to know what the French think of Obama? Here’s your chance to hear it firsthand.

This one-evening conference is organized by the French Committee for the Support of Barack Obama. And will be held and the Political Science campus, and speakers include Constance Borde - super delegate and VP of Democratic Party in France.

If you can get a cheap ticket and get over to Paris, it will be worth the mental stimulation to get this close to the fire - yes Paris will Burning Bright and Black.

And to go out with some special honors -

May in Black history in Paris the month to celebrate the life of Langston Hughes (died May 19), James Reese Europe (brought jazz to France) also died May 19, and the granddaddy of expatriate African-American painters - Henry Ossawa Tanner - died May 25, 1937.


Persia Walker said...

Hi Julia,

I'm glad to see that you're blogging again. I wish I could be there to take part in the events. Congratulations to all those who make it.



Kahlil said...

Very nice.