Newswise — Worldwide scholars and poets, authors and reviewers of African literature will convene at Western Illinois University (WIU) in Macomb April 22 -27 for the 34th Annual African Literature Association Conference, "African and African Diaspora Women Writers, Global Challenges and Cultural Identity."
The conference will celebrate the creativity, versatility and vibrancy of the women of Africa and African Diaspora, said Abdul-Rasheed Na'Alla, WIU's African American studies chair and conference convener. Papers will be presented on literally dozens of topics, including: African literature and human rights; African language literature; cinema and the global hegemony (predominant influence/domination); viewing gender through the lens of African literature, environment, politics and the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa; pedagogy in African and African Diaspora literatures and children's literature in African traditions; and many others topics, he added.
These and more subthemes, along with updated conference information as it is made available, are at http://www.wiu.edu/ala2008. The site includes a link for a reading list of recommended books by writers from around the world who will be attending the conference (http://www.wiu.edu/ala2008/readinglist.php), as well as the listing of the international organizing committee, Na'Allah said.
The African Literature Association (ALA) is a professional organization open to everyone including scholars, teachers and writers from all countries. Its purpose, and its annual conference, is to open the world of African literature to a worldwide audience as well as connecting artists with scholars, Na'Allah explained.
Some 400 worldwide members of the ALA are expected to attend the 34th annual conference in Macomb.
"By attracting this international conference to campus, the African American Studies department can share with students, faculty and people from the region the richness of one of our several discipline areas: literature, film, post-colonial theory, Africana politics and more," said Na'Allah, who is a published poet, folklorist and performer.
Na'Allah has authored "Ahmadu Fulani: An African Poetry" (Africa World Press), a collection of poems in English, Yoruba and Hausa which explore the oral performance of Ilorin and Sokoto cultures in his native Nigeria, as well as themes of universal importance: human justice and environmental degradation. He is also the editor of "The People's Poet: Emerging Perspectives on Niyi Osundare" (Africa World Press), who is a poet, dramatist, media columnist and English professor at the University of New Orleans; and co-editor with Bayo Ogunjimi of "Introduction to African Oral Literature and Performance," which includes teaching and curriculum development suggestions to encourage student performance.
Some ALA conference events will be enjoyed by the greater Macomb community, as well as K-12 students and teachers throughout the region. Public readings geared to adult and child audiences, African films and many other events will be open to the public, Na'Allah said.
The Macomb Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (MACVB) is handling conference registration. The registration form, available at http://www.wiu.edu/ala2008/registration.php, can also be found at MACVB website at http://www.makeitmacomb.com - - click on the "ALA Conference Form" balloon - - includes single-day registration options for area residents who are interested in attending some of the sessions.
"We are thankful for such a great relationship between WIU and Macomb; and in particular, the support we have from the Macomb Area Convention and Visitors Bureau," Na'Allah said.
Co-sponsors for the conference include Western Illinois University's Office the President; Office of the Provost and Academic Vice-President; College of Arts and Sciences; African American studies, English and journalism and foreign languages and literature departments; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Center for African Studies. More co-sponsors are being added regularly.
For more information about the 34th Annual African Literature Association Conference, e-mail ALA2008@wiu.edu or contact: Department of African American Studies, 1 University Circle , Morgan Hall 232, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL 61455-1390, USA, telephone 309/298-1181, fax 309/298-2181.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A publication-quality photo of Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah is available for use at http://www.wiu.edu/images/news/6034/6034_1117_1.jpg