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Maryland’s ATLAS Kicks Off New Africa-Focused Conference

On February 27, the new Maryland initiative, ATLAS (Africa Through Language and Area Studies) sponsored its first annual conference, with a series of panel presentations and discussions highlighting University of Maryland faculty-led research related to Africa, the African diaspora, and African American studies.

Supported by a three-year Grand Challenges Team Project Grant, ATLAS aims to become a nexus for the study of African languages, history, contemporary issues, and research at UMD.  Welcome and opening remarks from ARHU Dean Stephanie Shonekan (herself an ethnomusicologist from Jos in central Nigeria, who has published on afrobeat, Fela Kuti, Nigerian and African American hip-hop, soul and country music ) were followed by panels on Food, Environments, and Agricultural Politics; Feminisms, Genders, and Sexuality; Health, Vulnerability, and Care; and Media, Literature, and Other Expressive Cultures, with speakers from 12 different UMD departments across four colleges.

The conference concluded with a keynote address by Dr. Orisanmi Burton, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at American University and author of Tip of the Spear: Black Radicalism, Prison Repression, and the Long Attica Revolt.  ATLAS co-PIs, Dr. Miranda Abadir (NFLC) and Prof. Matthew Thomann (ANTH) hope the conference will spark cross-campus conversations, and welcome participation in ATLAS from all who are interested, particularly staff or faculty members who would like to present as part of the monthly ATLAS speaker series.

Dr. Catherine Nakalembe presenting at the first ATLAS conference at UMD.

Prof. Dr. Catherine Nakalembe gives a talk on the interplay of agriculture, land use, climate change and food security at the first ATLAS conference on Feb. 27, 2024.

Room full of ATLAS Conference attendees on Feb. 27, 2024

Sangeetha Madhavan (African American and Africana Studies, Sociology) presenting on maternal mental health during the ATLAS conference at UMD on Feb. 27, 2024.

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