“This spring, I had the opportunity to present a draft of my article “Inventing Polynesia: The Creation and Appropriation of Polynesia in Twentieth Century Tiki Bars” at Temple University’s James A. Barnes Club’s Graduate Student History Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was on a panel with other graduate students who had written about similar issues of global cultures connecting and conflicting. After my presentation, I was able to attend other panels discussing academic and public history projects worked on by graduate students from around the United States.
“Venturing outside of your comfort zone is important when drafting an article you’re hoping to publish, and it was really gratifying to hear compliments and suggestions from attendees and moderators who hadn’t spent months listening to me discuss the paper to them. I came away from the conference with some great ideas of where to tweak the article before submitting it to a journal for publication. Equally gratifying was the opportunity to discuss projects and challenges faced by other grad students in different programs. One of the best parts of the historical community is its tendency towards collaborative discussion, and getting to meet new people and discuss their work is always exciting.”
– Emily Sullivan, CAS
“I attended the Society for Applied Anthropology’s Annual Meetings (SfAAs) in Philadelphia, PA this April. I participated in a roundtable discussion with other members of the 2017 University of Florida Ethnographic Field School (EFS). We used this opportunity to discuss the preliminary findings of our community-engaged research this past summer in Tallahassee, FL where we explored how White people experience race and perceive racism. We found that White cultural understandings and lived experiences of race provide insight into White interpretations and responses to instances of racism both interpersonally and in broader society. This knowledge is important for sustaining anti-racist efforts in anthropology to effect change in society. My dissertation research looks at the housing needs of prisoner reentry in D.C. through an intersectional lens of race and class. The dialogue produced by the EFS roundtable furthered my knowledge of how racism within institutions such as the criminal justice system is influenced by cultural understandings of White racial identity within structures of power. I also attended other sessions on related themes and learned how other anthropologists are engaging with these issues within and outside of the discipline while also expanding my network for potential collaborations. Overall, the conference broadened my awareness of certain systemic injustices in our society and how anthropology should be valued more as a tool to dismantle them, which should begin by making the discipline a more inclusive space.”
– Maya Kearney, CAS
“My trip to Lagos, Nigeria for the Trek Africa Entrepreneurship conference was a huge complement to my academic studies because I registered for the event as an attendee, but I was given the opportunity to speak as a panelist on the topic of “entrepreneurship, youth and innovation”. The conference was a great opportunity to engage with other practitioners in the professional arena, government officials from the Lagos district and it created a successful platform to bridge the transition from graduate student to practicing professional. Additionally, I participated in the event as a way to learn more about entrepreneurship in the context of youth in Nigeria but ended up gaining insight into the cultural and situational environment of Nigerians through observation and direct interaction. One highlight for me is that following the event I answered questions and shared information on entrepreneurship and social enterprise (which was a new concept to most) with 15 or more inquisitive young college girls and middle-aged women. These interactions and the connections made during my entire trip provided direction for my ongoing research and work to create a social enterprise in Nigeria. Through this experience I have created contacts for ongoing communication for future projects.”
– Ifunanya Michelle Enezuagu, SIS
“The Blue Flamingo Literary Festival was my first international literary festival, and thus an important addition to my CV. I participated both as a panelist and a moderator. The two-day conference allowed me an opportunity to connect with Bahamian writers and students from the University of the Bahamas, as well as panelists from across U.S. who had come to participate.
“The panel I moderated was “Kimbilio Retreat Fiction Writers.” Kimbilio (meaning “safe haven” in Swahili) is a fellowship program for writers from the African diaspora. We spoke to Bahamian students and writers about the program, with the goal of connecting more writers from the Diaspora with each other. I was invited to participate in this conference through the Kimbilio network, and increasing our network will create even more professional development opportunities for all of us in the future.
“On the Afrofuturism panel I had the opportunity to present my work to a new audience of Bahamian readers. The panelists presented various modes in the genre, from bending the past, to questioning our relationship with technology, to projecting ourselves into the future. The enclosed photo is of this panel (I am the second from the left). Photo credit: The Clarion, newspaper of the University of the Bahamas.
“Attending the panel “The Public Intellectual and the Internet” was like a crash course on Bahamian social, political and economic conditions. The panel “Seeing Islands in Our Futures: Why a Caribbean-born Author Writes Science Fiction,” served as an amazing overview of the history of Bahamian representation in science fiction. And multiple panels with both white and black Caribbean-born authors exploded my preconceived notions of what it means to be Caribbean, giving me a new perspective on identity.”
– Tara Campbell, CAS