Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Black & Latino Studies Group Expands Multicultural Reach

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Black & Latino Studies Group Expands Multicultural Reach

Article excerpt

HOUSTON -- If there had been a glass anywhere around, Dr. Ellen Foster Randle would have broken it. When she belted an ear-piercing ditty -- a Negro spiritual woeful of the pains slave mothers endured upon separation from their children -- many people came running down the corridor to see what was going on. Others already in the bantam conference room perked up, startled by the off-course method for presenting a research paper.

Not the usual M.O. for a scholarly conference. Then again, when Black folks get together, the agendum can sometimes get a little offbeat.

Do not conclude from this description, however, that there wasn't some serious scholarship being presented here last month at the fourth annual joint conference of the National Association of African American Studies (NAAAS) and the National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies (NAHLS).

More than 500 professors presented papers on topics ranging from the "Communication Process in a Traditional African Society" to "The Impact and Influence of Nike on the African American Community" in the weeklong sojourn that gathered nearly 3,000 Black and Latino scholars and students alike.

It wasn't a caucus of African American Studies' most renowned scholars, rather the attendees represented the gamut of disciplines from large and small colleges across the United States as well as several foreign countries.

"[The conference] serves as a resource for scholars in the field who desire information and support for research related to Africans, African Americans, and Hispanics," says Dr. Lemuel Berry, who is the executive director and founder of both organizations.

This year's conference was a first for Dr. Miriam Ma'at-ka-Re Monges. The coordinator of the African American studies program at California State University-Chico says she came because she wanted to expand her network in the field. …

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