*SPECIAL PANEL DISCUSSION*
CULTURAL PASSAGE: Exploring the cultural and political connections between Congo and the Americas, past and present
The Saturday afternoon discussion will explore the presence of Congolese culture in the Americas from the period of enslavement to the present. In addition, the panelists will discuss the role that African Americans have played in the anti-colonial struggle of the Congolese people from the era of the brutal rule of King Leopold II of Belgium through the post independence period. The discussion will be preceded by Congolese dance and drumming.
A multi-talented artist, C. Daniel Dawson has worked as a photographer, filmmaker, curator, arts administrator, consultant and scholar. He has served as Curator of Photography, Film and Video at the Studio Museum in Harlem (NYC), Director of Special Projects at the Caribbean Cultural Center (NYC), Program Manager at the American Museum of Natural History and Curatorial Consultant and Director of Education at the Museum for African Art (NYC). As a photographer, he has shown in over 40 exhibitions and has curated more than 70 exhibitions including Harlem Heyday: The Photographs of James Van Der Zee and The Sound I Saw: The Jazz Photographs of Roy DeCarava. Prof. Dawson has also taught seminars on African Spirituality in the Americas at Columbia University, University of Iowa, New York University and Yale University. He currently works with New York University (the Gallatin School), Columbia University (IRAAS) and Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors (La Casita).
Ira Dworkin is Associate Professor of English at Texas A&M University and the author of Congo Love Song: African American Culture and the Crisis of the Colonial State (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), which was a finalist for the Pauli Murray Book Prize of the African American Intellectual History Society. He has taught American studies, English, and comparative literature at the American University in Cairo and in the Faculty of Letters at the University of Kinshasa. Dworkin holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University, an M.A. from the City College of New York, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Sheila S. Walker, PhD, cultural anthropologist and documentary filmmaker, has done fieldwork, lectured, and participated in cultural events in most of Africa and the Global African Diaspora and has numerous scholarly and popular publications. Executive Director of the non-profit Afrodiaspora, Inc., her goal is to share her experiences and knowledge of known and lesser known peoples and cultures of the Global African Diaspora. Her book, African Roots/American Cultures: Africa in the Creation of the Americas, and companion documentary, Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora, are based on her international conference on “The African Diaspora and the Modern World.” Her book, Knowledge from the Inside: Afro-South Americans Speak of their People and their Histories, features chapters by Afrodescendants from all the Spanish-speaking countries in South America. Her most recent documentary is Familiar Faces/Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora. She was Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and Professor of Anthropology and Director of the African Diaspora and the World program at Spelman College.
Lubangi Muniania is an educator of African Art and Culture, specialized in the visual and performing arts. He has written essays and interpretive educational materials in conjunction with several museum exhibitions in the country, including the subject of African presence in the Americas. He participated in the African Portrait, an NBC documentary featuring Harry Belafonte, Chaka Khan, and Whitney Houston. African Portrait explores the African cultural and spiritual influence in the Americas. Muniania is currently the president of Tabilulu Productions.