UK Hosts Symposium on Affrilachia

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 3, 2011) — How have African Americans contributed to the artistic heritage of the Appalachian region? What legacy do African Americans have in the history of mountains of America’s South? What is the definition of Affrilachia?


The “Symposium on Affrilachia: Celebrating the Artistic and Intellectual Contributions of African Americans to Appalachia,” hosted by the University of Kentucky’s Africana Studies program, is an event for scholars, students, artists and writers who are interested in the crossroads of Appalachia, African American history, art and culture.


The symposium will be held March 9-10 at the UK Student Center in Lexington and is also a pre-conference event for the attendees of the annual Appalachian Studies Association conference taking place March 11-12. The symposium with honor and examine the historical contributions of African Americans to the regional heritage and history.


“The Symposium is an opportunity to create a living and breathing version of the journal PLUCK!, The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture and to celebrate the intellectual and artistic contributions African Americans have made and are making to the Appalachian region,” said Frank X Walker, Associate Professor of English at UK and a key organizer of the event. “I hope we can continue to contribute to the deconstruction of the negative and false stereotypes and caricatures of the region by shining a light on its true history and diversity."


The conference features a great list of speakers and cultural events:

·         A performance of Kathy Y. Wilson’s one-woman play, “Your Negro Tour Guide,” starring Torie Wiggins

·         An evening concert by the Carolina Chocolate Drops

·         A keynote lecture by Pennsylvania State University philosophy professor Paul Taylor: “Call Me Out My Name: Inventing Affrilachia”

·         A series of panels and discussions that include topics on August Wilson, Nina Simone, Criminal Justice and the Prison Industrial Complex, Affrilachian visual art and urban Appalachia

·         A 20th anniversary reading featuring founders of the Affrilachian Poets, including Nikky Finney, Frank X Walker, Kelly Norman Ellis and more


A detailed schedule and a full list of speakers are available on the Africana Studies program web site. Registration fee for the two-day event is $35 and can be paid on-site with cash or check; no credit card payments will be accepted.  UK students are free.


Advance registration is also available. For more information, please contact to Ashley Bourgeois at (281) 620-7241.