Bryon Turman Presents at UNC
Bryon D. Turman, lecturer of English and Popular Culture, will present a workshop entitled "The Tools and Machinery of Institutional Racism in the 21st Century" at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center at UNC-Chapel Hill on Saturday, Sept. 6. The workshop will be presented to the mentors in the Stone Center's Communiversity Program which connects UNC Undergraduates with mentoring and research opportunities within the local community. Turman was selected to be one of two presenters at this weekend's workshop. The workshop is not open to the public.
The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was established on July 1, 1988. Initially known as the Black Cultural Center, it was renamed for beloved faculty member Dr. Sonja Haynes Stone after her untimely passing in 1991. Upon its inception, The Stone Center focused its attention on raising awareness of and appreciation for African-American culture by the campus community. Today, the Center is one of the preeminent sites in the nation for the critical examination of African and African-American diaspora cultures, providing intellectual and cultural programming that is both timely and informative.
Journal Article Published
A new article, "Beyond the Language Debate in Postcolonial Literature: Linguistic Hybridity in Kojo B. Laing’s Woman of the Aeroplanes" has been published by Moussa Issifou, Ph.D., in the Journal of Pan-African Studies.
"One of the most persisting dilemmas African writers continue to face in their literary work is the choice between African languages and the European languages they acquired through colonization. The debate over the language question in African literature is not new and will continue to pre-occupy African writers because of the pivotal role European languages have played in the alienation and subjugation of Africans," he writes in his abstract.
"In fact, critics argue that the European colonial enterprise would not have been so successful without the imposition of European
languages on the natives on the one hand and the annihilation of the local languages on the other hand. The colonizers understood that it was only through this imposition that they could propagate their European world view, culture, and civilization in the colonies. This is what some African nationalists and theorists have realized as they vehemently oppose the use of European languages in African literature. Against this opposition, there are also some African writers who view the use of European languages in African literature as very beneficial and argue for their embrace. Today, some postcolonial African writers have decided to move beyond this debate by
calling for a linguistic hybridity. Among these writers the Ghanaian Kojo B. Laing has been viewed by critics as the pioneer of this new linguistic movement. Perhaps more than any other of his novels, Woman of the Aeroplanes has provoked intense controversy in the postcolonial literary criticism over the use of hybrid languages. This paper argues that through his hybrid language, Kojo Laing intends to substitute the debate of exclusivity with that of inclusivity, for he believes that there are no self-sufficient languages, but complementary languages. Ultimately, Laing contests the notions of authenticity, superiority, and purity in language. Thus, for him it is no longer about the appropriate language for African literature; rather, it is about the language that reflects the diversity among the citizens of the world."
New Online Journal Debuts
The new online international journal, The Black-Eyed Pea Review, invites submissions of poetry, short fiction, scholarly articles, books reviews and interviews connected to the historial and triumphant African Diasporan experience. Submissions, by experienced as well as emerging voices, should adhere to MLA guidelines. To submit, go to www.black-eyedpeareview.org and select the "submission guidelines" link. Submission deadline is Dec. 5 for the spring 2014 edition.
Valerie Nieman receives NC Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry
Valerie Nieman, an associate professor of creative writing, is one of 11 recipients of N.C. Arts Council literary fellowships for 2013-14. The N.C. Arts Council awards the $10,000 fellowships to writers every other year, to support new works and creative development. Nieman, an associate professor in the Department of English, received the grant to support continued work on a transmedia novel-in-verse, The Leopard Lady Speaks. As part of that project, she studied sideshow performance and the art of carnival banners at the Coney Island Museum this summer, and painted banners for a stage performance of the poems.
Nieman, a graduate of the Queens University of Charlotte MFA Program for Writers and a former News & Record editor, has published three novels: Blood Clay, winner of the Eric Hoffer Award in General Fiction; Survivors; and her first novel, Neena Gathering, a post-apocalyptic tale recently reissued by Permuted Press/Audible. She has completed a fourth novel, Backwater. Her poetry has appeared in a collection, Wake Wake Wake, as well as two chapbooks and numerous journals such as Poetry, Blackbird, NC Literary Review, and New Letters. Her short fiction has appeared in West Branch, The Kenyon Review, and in several anthologies as well as a collection, Fidelities. She is the poetry editor of the literary journal Prime Number.
Creative Writing Professor Honored by the Nazim Hikmet Poetry FestivalValerie Nieman, associate professor of English, was one of nine poets named as winners of the 2013 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Festival
Nâzım Hikmet Ran was a Turkish poet, playwright, and novelist. He was recognized as the first and foremost modern Turkish poet, and regarded throughout the world as one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century for the "lyrical flow of his statements.” His poetry has been translated into more than fifty languages. The idea of a festival as a tribute to this preeminent poet emerged among friends in the NC Turkish community who appreciated his work and ideals of his life. The event includes an annual poetry competition - in this, its fifth year, the competition received over 816 poems from 272 poets. A quarter of the poems were submitted by international poets who lived outside the USA.
Writing Center Director Has Chapter Published
The director of the University Writing Center, Robert Randolph, has had a chapter published entitled: "Wanderlust, Hysteria and Insurrection: (Re)presenting the 'Beloved' Sweet Home Men" in the book Presenting Oprah Winfrey, Her Films and African American Literature, Edited by Tara Green; Palgrave/MaMLillan Publishers, 2013.
English Professor Active in the Community
Africana Symposium Focuses on Politics
The second Africana Fall Symposium, "Advancing African and African Diaspora Causes: The Role of Politics in the United States," was hosted by Professor Bryon Turman on Nov. 7 in the General Classroom Building Auditorium. A panel of presenters, comprising the Hon. Earl Jones and Dr. Steve Ferguson, discussed issues relating to politics and the 2012 presidential elections. About a hundred people attended.
The event began with greetings from the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr Beverly Grier, and opening remarks by the chair of the English Department, Dr. Faye Maor. Dr. Pauline Uwakweh (English), chair of the Africana Committee, in her concluding remarks announced that the 2013 fall symposium will focus on education: "Advancing African and African Diaspora Causes: The Role of Education in the United States." She emphasized the importance of students’ and faculty engagement in Africana symposia, and added that the Africana Committee will continue to sustain its vision and mission initiatives by creating such intellectually stimulating opportunities for the NCA & T and Greensboro community.
Essays on Theory Used in GM Classes
Two of Dr. Greg Meyerson's essays on critical race theory--Rethinking Black Marxism and Post Marxism as Compromise Formation - are being taught (Fall, 2012) in CULT (Cultural Studies) 860, Contemporary Marxism, a graduate course in the Ph.D program in Cultural Studies at George Mason University. The professor teaching the course is critical theorist Paul Smith.
For information on George Mason's program, one of the nation's premier Cultural Studies Programs, see http://culturalstudies.gmu.edu/ For the Smith's complete syllabus, see http://osf1.gmu.edu/%7epsmith5/860Fall2012.htm
Professor's Novel Is Finalist for Gardner Prize
Blood Clay, a novel by associate professor Valerie Nieman, was named a finalist for the prestigious John Gardner Fiction Book Prize 2012. The book, published by Press 53, also received the Eric Hoffer Award for General Fiction. The Hoffer Award honors the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer. Titles in this category are non-genre specific fiction, including literary, short story, and mainstream. The judges wrote: "Touching on themes of loneliness, belonging, and racism, this book will haunt the reader."
Dr. Meyerson's Articles Reprinted
Dr. Gregory Meyerson's essay "Aunt Sue's Mistake: False Consciousness in Bright and Morning Star," first published in Reconstruction 8.4, has been reprinted in the book Falling Gods and Angels: 20th Century African American Writers and the Left. This is the third article authored/coauthored by Meyerson that has been reprinted in the past year. One was "Pulp Fiction: the Aesthetics of Anti-Radicalism in Light in August," first printed in Science and Society (coauthored with Jim Neilson) January 2008, reprinted in their Science and Society Reader, 2011; and (coauthored with Michael Roberto, Jamey Essex and Jeffrey Noonan) "Moment of Transition: Structural Crisis and the Case for a Democratic Socialist Party," published January 2011 in Cultural Logic and reprinted in the journal Works and Days, Vol. 30, 2012, pp. 51-119. He also coauthored with physicist Bill Sacks "The Nuclear Energy Solution," to be found at climate scientist Barry Brook's blog bravenewclimate.