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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 29, 2008 | Vol. 38 No. 5
Center for Africana Studies to Host Summer Institute With NEH Grant


By Amy Lunday

The Center for Africana Studies has received a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, funding that the five-year-old center will use to host a monthlong summer institute on the Homewood campus for college and university professors in 2009.

Ben Vinson, the center's director, said the event, titled "Slaves, Soldiers, Rebels: Currents of Black Resistance in the Tropical Atlantic, 1760-1888," will contribute to the university's legacy in the field of Atlantic history while also furthering the center's mission to bring Diaspora studies to college-level educators. Vinson is co-director of the summer institute, along with Stewart King, a professor of history at Mount Angel Seminar in Oregon, and Natalie Zacek, a lecturer in history and American studies at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

"Johns Hopkins has a long history of being a pioneer in Atlantic history, stretching back to the 1970s," Vinson said. "This conference will help us give it a fresh face for the 21st century, an opportunity to ask some new questions within the framework of studying the Atlantic."

The summer institute will be a training ground for 25 faculty members from colleges and universities across the country. Sessions will be led by approximately 10 visiting scholars from Vanderbilt, Columbia, Duke, Yale, Northwestern, Stanford and other universities who are leaders in their fields. Topics will include slave resistance and the rebel presence in Latin America, the United States, and the English and Dutch Caribbean, as well as Haiti, with a particular emphasis on the Haitian revolution. New insights will emerge on how black slave resistance helped form modern nations in the late-18th and 19th centuries.

Vinson said that he and his colleagues have been working on the summer initiative since he joined the center two years ago.

"Obviously, this is an important gift for the center," Vinson said. "It is going to help us elevate our profile and really improve some of our programmatic offerings. This allows us to enhance our ability to create training initiatives for educators in areas of Diaspora."

Prior to the institute, the Center for Africana Studies will be hosting a two-day conference in February to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.


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