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KU to host 20th annual African studies conference

Monday, September 29, 2014

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will be host to another homecoming this week when the Mid-America Alliance for African Studies (MAAAS) brings its 20th annual conference to the Lawrence campus on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3-4.

Founded at KU in 1995, MAAAS is the only organization for the promotion of African studies in the region between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. The organization encourages scholarship and teaching in African studies through conferences, seminars, workshops and promotion of African language teaching, among other endeavors.

The conference theme, African Studies: Concepts and Practices for Decolonizing Knowledge, will draw on African experience as a foundation for broader human liberation. Discussion topics include gender, revolt and reform, archives, history and education of children with special needs.

One of the founders of MAAAS will be this year’s keynote speaker, Garth Myers, Distinguished Professor of Urban International Studies at Trinity College. As a then-KU faculty member, Myers was present at the inaugural meeting of MAAAS, signed the original charter, and later served a term as president of the organization. During his keynote address, Myers will discuss African urbanism and rethinking perspectives of urban studies in general.

“The Kansas African Studies Center and MAAAS have built a strong relationship over the last two decades,” said Glenn Adams, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and program chair. “This meeting provides an important opportunity for us to not only to celebrate our relationship but also to think about the role of African studies as a resource for international education and global awareness in the Mid-America region and beyond.”

All members of the MAAAS organization are welcome to attend the conference. The organization is open to all with an interest in scholarship and teaching from an African Studies focus. Registration is $40 for faculty members and $20 for students and independent scholars. To register or for more information, visit or contact Adams, the program chair, at

The conference is made possible by the support of the Kansas African Studies Center which is part of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The College encourages learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers. Through innovative research and teaching, the College emphasizes interdisciplinary education, global awareness and experiential learning. The College is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit. 

Expert instruction in Arabic, Kiswahili, and Wolof at the beginning and intermediate levels will be offered over eight weeks in June-July 2018.

Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowships

The Kansas African Studies Center has received $140,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to launch public discussions, community programming, and the creation of educational resources in local communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding recent demographic changes in the region. Visit to learn more. 

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