17 March, 2016


mandala blanca y amarillo




CAAR MALAGA JUNE 13-16  2017: 

Diasporic Encounters, Subjectivities in Transit: Race, Gender, Religion and Sexualities in the African Diasporas.


 From June 13-16, 2017, the Collegium for African American Research (CAAR) meets for its biannual conference in Malaga, Spain, the closest European geographical area to Northern Africa and the historical site for encounters between diverse peoples from what we now call Europe and Africa. Juan Latino, the first Black man to earn a permanent position at the University of Granada in 1565, offers a useful perspective on the negotiation of racial subjectivities in the emerging global empires of Europe. Latino addressed King Philip II with the following remark: “If our black face, your majesty, is disagreeable to your ministers, Ethiopians dislike white faces in men.” Latino’s mention of Ethiopia, one of the world’s oldest sites of Christendom, is an epistemological critique of concepts developing in Europe and later in the Americas about the intersection of race, religion and social status. Further, it should not be lost to us that Latino’s insertion of Africa into the origin of Christendom is in the context of a repudiation of Islam, a religion that had been present in Spain for the past 800 years and whose racially diverse leadership class included sub-Saharan Africans. The historical figure of Juan Latino and his complex message open up a wide terrain for an analysis of the role of Spain and other European countries in their engagement with the international slave trade; Spain played a leading role in the establishment of the slave trade along with other European countries, such as Portugal, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, among others. Opposing the barbarism of this international enslavement, Juan Latino and others like him contributed their knowledge to the Enlightenment of European societies. Mastering Latin, the language of the quest for science and modernity in Spain at that time, he introduced subtle, yet powerful ways of interpreting Black identity and the very concept of race in both the Old and the New Worlds.

For CAAR 2017, we call for papers that would carry this exploration into the second and third decades of the twenty-first century. We seek proposals for individual papers, complete panels and workshops that focus on transatlantic connections and the contributions of Africans to Europe and the Americas and of Europe to the African diasporas worldwide. We would especially like to explore these diasporic encounters through a wider concept of diaspora literacy in order to comprehend and critically interpret the cultural backgrounds of Africa, Afro-America and the Caribbean from informed, indigenous perspectives, as well as with historical, cultural studies, literary, and any other relevant scholarly perspectives. We invite proposals that engage thinking beyond the linear Hegelian dualities, in order to embrace the complexities, axes of difference, borders, fragmentation, and multiplicities inherent in the realities and shared experience of the African diasporas. We welcome presentations that aim at questioning blackness in transnational and transitional terms, so that we can access the intricate dynamics of wholeness, complexity, along with double-consciousness and ancestral spiritualism that have developed following Juan Latino’s 16th-century remark on the reductive binaries of race.


  • Explorations of the trope of migration as a major component in African American history, literature, and culture: from the earliest forms of African American cultural production—oral folk tales and spirituals, to the narratives of enslaved Africans and their descendants, to 20th and 21-st century migration narratives, including migratory circulations that include the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe.
  • The history of Black people and their diasporas, of diverse peoples in constant state of motion and transition, including the recently more available stories of individual transitions, including across the borders of gender and sexuality, as well as those of intersex.
  • The term “African diaspora” used metaphorically and against over-rigid, ideologized exclusionary concepts that work to the detriment of rigorous and imaginative research; Diaspora as a metaphor of change and interdependence between African, European and American cultures.
  • The investigation of the locales to which the dispersed peoples went or were taken to, and in which their descendants are currently living; the study of the interaction between these centers and their peripheries at all possible levels; and the unceasing attempt to integrate these studies into the overall history of humanity; slavery and colonization, racial segregation and ghettoization as events of history, metaphors, or philosophical and political interpretive stances.
  •  The literature of the African diasporas created by the Atlantic slave trade in North and South America and parts of Europe; colonization and repatriation; recent migration and its impact on narratives of national identity and nationalism; dispersions of African immigrants within and without the African American communities of the United States, other Black communities in the Americas and Europe; the globalization of literature from the African diaspora.

The organization encourages workshops proposals around groundbreaking topics such as the future of black studies or critics of intersectionality.


CAAR 2013 Atlanta: Dreams Deferred, Promises and Struggles: Perceptions and Interrogations of Empire, Nation, and Society by Peoples of African Descent. Agnes Scott College, Decatur/Atlanta, GA, USA, March 13 to 16.

The tenth biennial conference of our collegium addressed the diverse and complex ways in which people of African descent have understood, embraced, and challenged the configurations of political entities and the societies within them both in the past and in the present. In the widely celebrated “Age of Obama” racial polarization, inequality, and interracial tensions persist. The conference highlighted the abiding urgency of maintaining a focus on African-American history and culture as we have moved into the twenty-first century. We also spoke about the importance of relating to international networks of the Black Diaspora and its cultural and political challenges, and about insisting on sincere anti-racism in the face of pre-emptive media campaigns to favor facile versions of post-racial harmony. 

Click here for the CAAR 2013 Atlanta Website.

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CAAR 2011 Paris: Black States of Desire: Dispossession, Circulation, Transformation in Paris, FRANCE, April 6-9.

The conference highlighted the recognition of the central historical contribution of black feminist studies and movements, notably lesbian, in the American and South African contexts. In both their sought-after inclusiveness and productive failures they are exemplary of individual change and collective reformation. This goal, once pursued by Audre Lorde and James Baldwin, and still to be reached, is here emblematized by the figures of desire and the black states. 

In the wake of Lorde’s esthetical and political alliance of the self and the community, of Baldwin’s desiring consciousness and ethics of inclusion, desire and the black states are together rich with conscious revolutions to come. They work as immaterial and physical orientations, symbols of shifting identifications, of the diversity of black lived experiences. The black states of desire therefore set out to describe lack turned into impetus and actualization, the movement from what exists to what can be imagined and created, from words to the building stone, from statement to establishment.

Click here for the CAAR 2011 Paris Website.

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CAAR 2009 Bremen: “Black Knowledges – Black Struggles – Civil Rights: Transnational Perspectives” at the University of Bremen Bremen, GERMANY Mar 25 – 29, 2009.


The Eighth Biennial Conference of the Collegium of African American Research explored the global epistemological, political, literary, and cultural impact of the many forms of African American diasporic knowledges and struggles and their enduring transnational manifestations

For a two-part video of an interview conducted during the conference with professional actor and academic Dr. Baron Kelly, who talks about Ira Aldrige, click here.

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 CAAR 2007 Madrid: “Blackness and Modernities” Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia Madrid, SPAIN April 18-21, 2007.


CAAR 2007 focused upon Blackness and Modernities. The African American Experience of the Modern World can be dated to 1500, to 1776, to 1865, to 1920, to 1965, to 2000? The experience is multiple, the people many, and the modern manifold. We spoke of modernities because we did not want to define and dictate meaning; we wanted the conference to do the defining and any dictating to come from the power of the speakers. We wanted to consider ways in which peoples origined in Africa and living in the Americas have created as well as come to terms with modernism.

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CAAR 2005 Tours: “The Black World: INNERspace:INNERCity:InterAction:InterNation” Universite Francois-Rabelais Tours, FRANCE Apr 21-24, 2005.


INNERSpace: The spiritual, inner world of self and soul occupies spaces along and across the boundary lines of philosophy, religion, science, and art. INNERCity: Innercity life of Harlem, Watts, Atlanta, Chicago, Paris, Brixton, Berlin. INTERAction: What kinds of interaction are now making the scene in the art, culture and politics of the new African American? INTERNation: Catching the intonations of voices at the margins as well as at the centers: what will be the intercontinental alignments of the next fifty years?

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CAAR 2003 Winchester: “The African Atlantic: The Making of the Black Diaspora” University of Winchester Winchester, ENGLAND.


This conference will seek to take the longest and widest perspectives, viewpoints, and positions that speakers, panels and contributors can bring to the notions of the African Atlantic and the Black Diaspora. It will focus on the old triangle of Africa, the Americas and Europe as in previous conferences. However, by pulling back and out, other coasts and other worlds come into view. The Pacific of cities, states and provinces stretching from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego is a boundary of the Black Diaspora which calls for our examination, exegesis, evocation.

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CAAR 2001 Cagliari: Fourth Conference of the Collegium for African American Research “CrossRoutes: The Meanings of Race for the 21st Century” Cagliari, Sardegna, ITALY

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CAAR 1999 Muenster: Third Conference of the Collegium for African American Research “Black Liberation in the Americas”Westphalian Wilhelms Universitaet Muenster Muenster, GERMANY

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CAAR 1997 Liverpool: Second Conference of the Collegium for African American Research “Mapping African America” Liverpool, ENGLAND

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CAAR 1995 Tenerife: Inaugural Conference of the Collegium for African American Research “Transatlantic Passages” Universidad de La Laguna La Laguna, Tenerife, SPAIN

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