Hôtel Sokhamon, Dakar, Senegal
11th May 2014 – 12 May 2014

The Institute for Comparative Modernities (Cornell University) and the Institute of African American Affairs (New York University) will hold the international conference “Global Black Consciousness” on May 11 and 12, 2014, in Dakar, Senegal. The conference is coordinated by Margo Natalie Crawford and Salah Hassan (Cornell University) and Manthia Diawara (NYU). The conference will coincide with the opening days of the Dakar Biennale (Dak’Art 2014), which opens on May 9, 2014. The two-day gathering will focus on the theme of “Global Black Consciousness,” with invited participants who will present new and unpublished work.


Now that we have such tremendous scholarship on particular identities shaped by the African diaspora (Afro-German, Black British, African American, Afro-Latina/o, Afro-Caribbean, and many more) and tremendous theories of the value and limits of Pan-Africanism, Afro-pessimism, and many other “isms,” how do we create a space for the critical and nuanced analysis of global black consciousness as both a citing of diasporic flows and a grounded site of decolonizing movement? This multi-event and multi-site conference aims to explore the confluence between theories of diaspora and theories of decolonization. Moreover, the crisscrossing of visual art, literature, film, and other cultural productions will be explored alongside the crosscurrent that shaped the transnational flow of black consciousness. The scholars participating in this conference will situate their work in the space of the crisscrossing that occurred as the Black freedom struggle became a layering of locations and dislocations and past, present, and future.
The 1960s and 70s will be the pivot point as we think about the precursors and legacies of the 1960s and 70s black freedom struggles. From May 9 to June 8, 2014, Dak’Art, la Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain, will be held in Dakar. The theme and the occasion allow to revisit major Black and Pan-African intellectual movements and festivals (such as the Dakar’s Festival of World Negro Arts of 1966, Algiers of 1969, and FESTAC 1977 in Lagos, Nigeria, among others) in addition to revisiting individual artistic and intellectual work tied to Africa and the African Diaspora.
As a keynote event, there will be a screening of Manthia Diawara’s film Edouard Glissant: One World in Relation (2010), on the Martiniquan philosopher and poet Edouard Glissant.
The conference’s papers will be published in a co-edited volume entitled Global Black Consciousness.