Winter Term 2023

Akin Omotoso Visit

On January 9, 2023, director Akin Omotoso visited Carleton to screen his recent film “RISE”, which tells the story of the Antetokounmpo brothers’ rise to NBA stardom from humble beginnings as Nigerian immigrants to Greece. Akin was warmly received by students and faculty, and over meals he shared intimately the challenges and promises of working in the film industry, how to reach for the projects that are most valuable to you, and his method of teambuilding and working with other people. The Africana Studies Program, along with the PEAR Department and International Film Forum sends its gratitude to Akin for his enthusiasm and knowledge, and is excited for another opportunity to welcome him back to campus.

Africana Studies Week 2023

This February, we held a week of Africana Studies events from February. Students and faculty came together to hear a talk on “Early African Americans in Southeast Minnesota” by Mica Anders in collaboration with OIL, celebrated International Black Love through the Arts in collaboration with ISL, took in a poetry reading from Professor Emeritus Mary Easter, listened to Héctor Melo Ruiz’s Grimké lecture on “Manuel Zapata Olivella: An Intellectual Journey”, gathered for a music hour, dressed up for the African and Caribbean Association’s Gala, and reflected on black joy in a chapel service. This February, AFST week set aside time to recognize Black History Month, and to ground academic and community conversations.

Chérif Keïta & Professor Emeritus Mary Easter
Co-Director Chérif Keïta & Professor Emerita Mary Easter

Spring 2023

Spring Bahrain Delegation

Dr. Thabiti Willis, program director for the History, Culture, & Commerce in Africa & Arabia OCS, welcomed Dr. Marlon Bailey, Dr. Sawsan Karimi, and Ismaeel Msfer to Carleton from May 1 – 6 this spring. Dr. Karimi, an anthropologist at the University of Bahrain, presented on perfumes and clothing culture in the Gulf. Ismaeel Msfer, the leader of the Ismaeel Dawas Band, visited Arabic classes and shared about fijiri, the UNESCO World Heritage music of pearl divers of the Gulf. In addition, the delegation held interviews and dinners with students, faculty, and staff in anticipation of the return of the delegation this September with the Ismaeel Dawas Band, and to prepare for the Spring 2024 run of the Africa & Arabia OCS.

The Bahrain Delegation with students at the Ole Store Restaurant
The Bahrain Delegation with students at the Ole Store Restaurant, May 1, 2023

Bamako Foli Visit

This term, Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor of Music Rainer Polak shared djembe drumming styles from Mali with MUSC 191: Rhythms of West Africa and MUSC 192: African Drumming Ensemble. During the seventh week of the term, Polak invited Bamako Foli, a traditional ensemble consisting of djembe expert Drissa Kone, dundun expert Madu Jakite, and singer/dancer Oumou Mariko, to teach masterclasses and perform. Over the week, students had the opportunity to learn from masters in their art and to encounter aspects of Malian culture. In the concert on May 14, Carls and guests from the surrounding community enjoyed Bamako Foli’s drumming, dancing, and praise-singing.

Bamako Foli, a traditional African musical ensemble
Bamako Foli from left to right: Rainer Polak, Drissa Kone, Madu Jakite, & Oumou Mariko