Faculty and students from across Johns Hopkins will
convene on April 7 on the Homewood campus to discuss a
particular subject that ties them all together, Africa.
The 20th annual Hopkins All University Seminar on
Africa will feature presentations from 15 experts in the
fields of anthropology, economics, engineering, history,
medicine, political science and public health. The
university divisions represented will be the schools of
Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Public Health and
Advanced International Studies.
The seminar, which kicks off at 8:20 a.m., will be
held in Levering's Great Hall.
I. William Zartman, the Jacob Blaustein Professor of
International Organization and Conflict Resolution and
former longtime director of African Studies at
SAIS, founded the
all-day seminar in 1985 in an effort to bring together the
wealth of Africa expertise scattered throughout the
Jane Guyer, professor of anthropology, is
convener for the event on behalf of the host institution
for this year, the Krieger School's
Africana Studies. She said that from its inception, the
seminar has been about forging an academic community.
"The original idea centered on the fact that we have
so many people doing research on Africa at Johns Hopkins,
but they are spread over several different schools, so they
hardly know what each other is doing," Guyer said.
"Professor Zartman thought we should have one day devoted
to those who wanted to present their research to others and
gain a broader sense of how JHU was engaging with
The seminar, whose theme this year is "Imagining
African Futures," will feature two morning panel
discussions: HIV/AIDS, and Building Nations and Mediating
Conflict. Following a lunch and poster session, faculty
will give presentations in two areas: Language Studies, and
Migration, Health and Natural Resources.
Specific topics to be addressed include "Ethnic Quotas
and the Engineering of Peace in Burundi," "Long-term
Research on HIV/AIDS: Past Achievements and Future Goals"
and "Engineers Without Borders and Water Projects in
The day concludes with talks on institutional
initiatives in Africa and an African students' forum on
training for work in African health. All participants and
visitors are also welcome to join a tour of the Baltimore
Museum of Art's African collection from 5 to 6 p.m.
Guyer said the seminar offers participants a unique
perspective to see the interrelatedness of disciplines.
"Government conflicts and wars, for example, have a
tremendous impact on public health. In a conflict,
oftentimes it's difficult just to transport medicine from
one town to the next," she said. "This event is an
opportunity to see and make those connections and for the
greater Hopkins community to network with each other."
The seminar, which is free and open to all Johns
Hopkins affiliates, is sponsored by the Center for
Africana Studies and the Provost's Office.
The Krieger School established the Center for Africana
Studies in 2003, and the center offered its first courses a
year later. The CAS is an interdisciplinary program
organized around African-American studies, African studies
and African diaspora studies. It offers an undergraduate
minor and, beginning this year, an undergraduate major.
The location of the Hopkins All University Seminar on
Africa rotates each year. Guyer said that there was no
seminar in 2005 due to the ongoing formation of the Center
for Africana Studies. Next year's, she said, will be held
either at the Bloomberg
School of Public Health or SAIS.