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artwork by Sinzo Aanza


Global Africa and the Humanities

A Rutgers University Intercollegiate Symposium

Sans titre 6Global Africa and the Humanities Series presents the second of a three-part symposium, focusing on the theme, "Translating Africa/Africa in Translation." The term translation is employed here in both its literal and metaphorical senses, and as a micro as well as a macro phenomenon. It encompasses a wide range of experiences, from the migration of texts across languages/cultures/societies/regions and their influences on the construction of (new) imaginings of/about Africa, to the formation of and/or actions on ideas/theories/policies/initiatives across disciplines that open up new possibilities for understanding what Africa was, is, and can be. What has been the impact of the machinery of translation globally on our changing readings of Africa in the longue durée? What has been the role of translation in (re)shaping the African literary canon? How have translations and translation practices been galvanized as instruments of political resistance to a range of hegemonic forces that have been at play over the decades? Into what kinds of representations do the contesting metaphors of/about Africa translate in the global marketplace of platitudes and banalities, and what are their implications on the "Africas" and "Africanities" we imagine? How are the interventions of activists and scholars in areas ranging from the economy to theology, from education to ecology, translating into new framings, figurations, and fissures of hope, transforming Africa into a knowledge economy? What are some of the ways in which translation becomes an embodied performance through dance, music, theatre, and visual culture? These are some of the broad questions that “Translating Africa/Africa in Translation” examines, exploring theories and practices of translation in their full multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary character while challenging Eurocentric parameters and terms of reference.

Symposium – Day 1


10:30 am: Opening Remarks by Rebecca Walkowitz (Dean of Humanities, SAS)

10:40 am: Poetry Performance by Tariro Ndoro

10:55 am: Welcoming Remarks by Ousseina Alidou (Convenor)

11:00 am: Panel I – Contagion In/As Translation

1:15 pm: Panel II – Feminist Translations

3:00 pm: Poetry and Conversation with Ọládùnńkẹ́ Ayọ̀ọlá Àránsí and Olúyẹ́misí Adébọ̀wálé


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Symposium – Day 2


10:30 am: Opening Remarks by James Masschaele (Executive Vice Dean, SAS)

10:40 am: Poetry Performance by Conceição Lima

11:00: Panel III – Translation and African Indigenous Knowledge

1:00 pm: Panel IV – Translating Africa In/For the World

2:45 pm: Reading and Conversation with Fatoumata Adelle Barry and Barbara Cooper

4:00 pm: Photography and Conversation with Beryl Goldberg and Dena Seidel 


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Symposium – Day 3


10:30 am: Slam Poetry Performance by Kassoum Hamani (Jhonel)

10:45 am: Opening Remarks and Introduction of Keynote Speaker by Anjali Nerlekar (Chair, AMESALL)

11:00 am: Keynote Address by Souleymane Bachir Diagne – Translatio Studiorum and Africa

1:00 pm: Sinzo Aanza’s Plaidorie pour vendre le Congo/A plea to sell the Congo – Author’s Presentation, Live Performance, and Conversation

3:00 pm: Phantom Africa: Conversation with Brent Hayes Edwards and Stéphane Robolin


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Symposium – Day 4


11:00 am: Panel V – Africanity, Originality, and Materiality

1:00 pm: Panel VI – Africa Between Local and Global

2:45 pm: Closing Reading and Conversation with Véronique Tadjo and Ousseina Alidou


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  • School of Arts and Sciences
  • Executive Vice Dean and Dean of Humanities
  • Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures
  • Center for African Studies
  • Department of French
  • Department of English and Writers House
  • Rutgers Global
  • The Language Center
  • Program in Comparative Literature
  • Advanced Institute of Critical Caribbean Studies
  • Mason Gross School of the Arts
  • School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
  • Other special sponsors include Professor Evie Shockley and Professor Nelson Maldonado-Torres
  • And with special thanks to Dean Kara Donaldson, Ian Defalco, and John Chadwick