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Expressive Arts Symposium explores concepts of transationalism, citizenship from artistic perspective March 24-25
Expressive Arts Symposium explores concepts of transationalism, citizenship from artistic perspective March 24-25March 13, 2006Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
The Ray Smith Symposium series, under the Humanities Council in The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, presents “Insurgent Cross-Cultural Conversations in the Expressive Arts: Contesting Notions of Transnationalism and Citizenship,” March 24-25 on the SU campus.
The symposium will bring together scholars, specialists, practitioners and activists in orature, rhetoric, literature, writing, music, theater, dance and film to discuss the meaning of transnational citizenship. Events scheduled for the symposium include roundtable discussions featuring scholars, students, professional artists and community activists; an evening of performances; lunch; and closing remarks.
The aim of the symposium is to decode, analyze and debate the concepts of transnationalism and citizenship from an artistic perspective. The point of departure is the recognition that mainstream notions of the concepts require serious interrogation because of their tendency to universalize definitions. The symposium will thus take into account factors such as class, race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, cultural orientation, disciplinary location and many other ways of “knowing” in defining the concepts. It will invite insurgent cross-cultural conversations while providing democratic space within which the various expressive art forms are able to converge in conversation with each other in order to illuminate the concepts.
“The intervention of the humanities in this debate that has tended to be dominated by the social sciences is critical,” says Mycere Gythae Mygo, professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies. “By entering it, expressive and performing arts scholars, practitioners and activists make a loudstatement, namely: the art forms they profess are fertile ground for theorizing, intellectualizing and analyzing, as well as enacting contested intellectual concepts with a view to making them yield meaning. Consequently, the symposium will create space that emphasizes exchange, debate, dialogue and interaction as opposed to long monologues of paper deliveries that leave no room for discussion.” Mygo, Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, is also chair of the organizing committee for the symposium.
A highlight of the symposium will be “Song Lines of Memory in a Globalized World,” a lecture delivered by keynote speaker M. Nourbese Philip, a Toronto poet, novelist, essayist and playwright. The lecture will take place March 24 at 1 p.m. in Room 500 of the Hall of Languages.
Among Philip’s best-known published works are “She Tries Her Tongue: Her Silence Softly Breaks” (Ragweed Press, 1992), “Looking for Livingstone: An Odyssey of Silence” (The Mercury Press, 2002) and “Harriet’s Daughter” (Sagebrush Education Resources, 1989). She has won numerous awards, including the Pushcart Prize, the Casa de las Americas Prize for poetry (Cuba) and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2005, Philip was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency. Her short stories, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in magazines and journals in Canada, the U.K. and the United States, and her poetry and prose have been extensively anthologized. Philip has produced plays in London and Toronto, and practiced law in Toronto for seven years.
Later, the symposium will host an evening of performances featuring poetry by Omanii Abdullah, adjunct instructor in the Department of African American Studies; African storytelling with Arthur Flowers, associate professor of English; African American storytelling with Jackie Grace, assistant principal at Hughes Magnet Elementary School; performances by the SU Brazillian Ensemble and Etse Nyadedsor’s African Dance Company; African drumming by Nyadedsor & Co.; readings and poetry by Jackie Warren-Moore, local poet and playwright, Eileen Strempel, vocalist, assistant professor of fine arts, with Ken Meyer, guitarist; and a performance by Bill Cole, musicologist and professor of African American studies, with Warren Smith, composer, arranger and percussionist.
The symposium will serve as a pilot project for brainstorming the meaning of transnationalism and citizenship in the expressive arts and as a sounding boardfor a larger project. The definitions emerging from the expressive arts will be used to compare and contrast perspectives from other disciplines in the humanities. Just as significantly, the total undertaking will demonstrate the centrality of the humanities in defining the meaning of transnational citizenship — a task often, erroneously, perceived as the primary responsibility of the social sciences. “Insurgent Cross-cultural Conversations” can help gauge the extent to which assumed global oneness is real, or elusive or even non-existent. The project will also provide a means of exploring the possibilities of, as well as conditions under which, an egalitarian, dialogical exchange between world cultures can truly take place.
The events are free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in Irving Garage on March 24. Guests with disabilities may access parking in the Q1 lot by contacting Nicole Acevedo at 443-1414 by March 23. Free parking is available on March 25. For more information and a complete schedule of events,visit http://thecollege.syr.edu/depts/EAS/index.htm.