Grinnell, IA - Africa’s current and future roles in the international arena will be the focus of a week-long symposium at Grinnell College, Apr. 9-13, sponsored by the college’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights. A former ambassador to Ethiopia, scholars of African politics and economics, and a recent leader of Africare will share first-hand experiences about the continent.
“Africa is a continent of contrasts that has tremendous importance for the rest of the world—international relations, economic growth, cultural affairs,” said Sarah Purcell, director of the Rosenfield Program. “We want to get at that importance by taking a look at Africa’s regional issues, as well as its effective relationships with the rest of the world.”
The week-long symposium will include the following free, public events to be held in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell campus (unless otherwise noted):
- Mon., Apr. 9, 8 p.m.: Lahra Smith, assistant professor in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, will discuss “Old Trade-Offs and New Realities: Challenges of Economic Development and Political Reform in Africa” in Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302.
- Tues., Apr. 10, 4:15 p.m.: Boniface Dulani, a member of the faculty at the University of Malawi, will consider recent political movements in “Neither Consolidating nor Fully Democratic: The Evolution of African Political Regimes, 1999-2008.”
- Wed., Apr. 11, 4:15 p.m.: Africa’s place in the arts world will be the topic for Kelly Askew, associate professor of anthropology and Afroamerican/African Studies at the University of Michigan, in “Poetry and Politics along the Indian Ocean Littoral.” Askew is also director of Michigan’s African Studies Center.
- Wed., Apr. 11, 8 p.m.: Ambassador David Shinn, former U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, will compare “China and Africa: An Evolving Relationship.” Shinn is adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University.
- Thurs., Apr. 12, 11 a.m.: Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow Julius Coles will deliver the Scholars’ Convocation on “Prospects for Africa in the 21st Century.” Coles, the former president of Africare, is director of Morehouse College’s Andrew Young Center for International Affairs.
- Thurs., Apr. 12, 4:15 p.m.: The role of women will be the topic of a talk by Pearl Robinson, associate professor of political science at Tufts University, in “African Muslim Women and Civic Islam.”
- Fri., Apr. 13, noon: The symposium will close with a lecture in South Lounge of the College Forum by Assefa Mehretu, professor of geography at Michigan State University. Mehretu, who is also director of the Center for Integrative Studies in Social Science at Michigan, will discuss “The Rise and Decline of America's Soft-Power in Africa: The Case of Ethiopia.”
The African and Caribbean Students Union will host a film festival in connection with the symposium, offering “Umkhungo” at 8 p.m. on Apr. 12; “Teza” at 7 p.m. on Apr. 14; and “Ties that Bind” at 4:15 p.m. on Apr. 15. All films will be shown in Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302.
For more information about the symposium, contact Sarah Purcell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 641-269-3091. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or email@example.com.
Grinnell, IA - Writers@Grinnell will open its fall semester program with a reading from novelist and essayist Natalie Bakopoulos on Thurs., Sept. 13. All readings will be in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center on the Grinnell College campus at 8 p.m. unless noted.
"We have an incredible group of writers coming this year," said Dean Bakopoulos, assistant professor of English, who is directing this year's program. "Some of the most entertaining readers and engaging teachers of writing in the country are coming to Grinnell this year. I'm excited for our students."
Natalie Bakopoulos will hold a roundtable discussion in Room 226 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center at 4:15 p.m. Bakopoulos recently released her first novel "The Green Shore," which paints a finely-etched portrait of one family, whose heartbreaking stories of love and resistance play out against the backdrop of the late 1960s Greek military dictatorship. She has also written essays for "Granta," "Salon," and "The New York Times" about Greece's current economic crisis. She is the sister of Dean Bakopoulos, who will join her for the roundtable discussion entitled "Sibling Rivalry: Writing About Family Without Getting Disowned."
Historian, biographer, and journalist Sam Tanenhaus, a 1977 Grinnell College graduate and visiting faculty in English, will give a presentation on Thurs., Sept. 27. Tanenhaus is the editor of "The New York Times Book Review" and the author of "The Death of Conservatism" and "Whittaker Chambers: A Biography."
On Oct. 4, author Charles Baxter, acclaimed fiction writer, critic, and one of the nation's most beloved creative writing teachers, will read from his most recent story collection, "Gryphon: New and Selected Stories," recently published by Pantheon/Random House. Baxter is also the author of a dozen other books, including the National Book Award finalist "The Feast of Love."
May-lee Chai, a writer, educator and 1989 graduate of Grinnell College, has participated in past Writers@Grinnell series and will be back on Thurs., Oct. 11 to lead a roundtable discussion on "Writing after Grinnell" at 4:15 p.m. in Room 226 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center. Following the roundtable, Chai will read from her new memoir "Hapa Girl." This event will be held at the college's Faulconer Gallery at 8 p.m.
On Thurs., Nov. 1, Ronald Wallace, will read from his poetry, including selections from "Long for this World" and "For a Limited Time Only." Wallace will also lead a roundtable presentation on formal poetry at 4:15 p.m. in Room 209 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center. Praised as "one of our liveliest, most readable poets" by Charles Harper Webb, Wallace's trademark warmth and wit makes poetry lovers out of the form's sworn enemies.
Brothers Davy and Peter Rothbart began FOUND Magazine in 2001. The magazine spawned the 2004 bestseller "Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World," as well as two other collections in 2006 and 2009. On Sun., Nov. 11, Davy will read selections from his new essay collection "My Heart is an Idiot" and will be accompanied by musical selections composed and performed by Peter. True performers, the Rothbart brothers have sat on David Letterman's interview couch and have been featured on the radio show "This American Life."
Students of the Grinnell Review will round off the fall semester readings on Thurs., Dec. 6, with readings from the campus's literary journal, which is edited and designed entirely by Grinnell students.
The Joe Rosenfield '25 Center is located at 1115 8th Ave. on the Grinnell College campus. Faulconer Gallery is located in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts at 1108 Park Street, also on the college's campus. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.