Boston University Sponsors First International Conference on Blacks and Asians

in BU In the Community, Humanities/Social Science, News Releases
March 29th, 2002

Contact: Ann Deveney, 617/353-2240 |

Boston, MA — The African American Studies Program at Boston University will host a first-of-its-kind international conference on global relations between people of Asian and people of African descent from antiquity to the present. The event, “Blacks and Asians: Encounters Through Time and Space,” will be held from April 12 to 14, 2002.

Nearly 90 scholars from the United States, China, Japan, Africa, Australia, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom will participate. The conference is sponsored by African American Studies, under the direction of Professor Ronald K. Richardson, as the inaugural event in its new global program.

“We hope that this conference will contribute to broadening the discussion of inter-ethnic relations beyond black and white and to promoting deeper understanding between Americans and the peoples of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East,” says Richardson.

Bob Moses, famed civil rights advocate and education reformer, will deliver the keynote address Saturday, April 13, at 6 p.m. “As a proponent of non-violent social activism who was influenced early by the study of Asian religions and philosophies, Moses epitomizes the African-Asian connection,” says Richardson.

In the 1960s, Moses worked as Mississippi field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and director of SNCC’s Mississippi Project struggling to register rural blacks to vote in the face of violent opposition. He is the director of the Algebra Project, a program designed to assist students in inner city and rural areas to achieve mathematics literacy as a key to civil rights in contemporary society. Moses is also a recipient of a Heinz Award and a MacArthur Fellowship.

African American filmmaker Regge Life will speak on the continuing need for understanding between different cultures. His special lecture, “Global Consciousness – Global Identity,” will also include a retrospective of his works, such as the documentaries “Struggle and Success, The African American Experience in Japan,” and “After America, After Japan.”

The Conference is part of a larger series, “Crossing Racial and Cultural Borders.” The first part of the series will be a special symposium by jazz impresario George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz Festival. Wein will be accompanied by his wife Joyce, and they will discuss their interracial marriage as part of the talk, “Love and Jazz Across the Color Line.” The event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, 2002 at Boston University’s Photonics Center.

Co-sponsors of “Blacks and Asians: Encounters Through Time and Space” include the Institute of West Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China; the Asian American Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut; the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; The Korea Society, New York City; and The Children’s Museum, Boston.

Boston University’s African American Studies Program explores the African American experience in global and comparative perspective. It is designed to make students aware of connections between Americans of African decent, other Americans, and global populations. It encourages critical examination of racial, ethnic, gender, national, and cultural categories. The program also works to foster greater understanding and cooperation between Americans and the peoples of the Third World.

The keynote address, Mr. Life’s lecture, and all panel presentations are free and open to the public. For a $50 pre-registration fee, registrants will receive breakfast and lunch for all three days, admission to Friday night’s opening reception and Saturday night’s conference banquet, as well as a specially printed conference program.

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