Some of the most important scholars in Africana studies gathered at UR last weekend for the Thinking Black Intellectuals conference. The program is one of several planned for Black History Month.

‘The conference is intended to celebrate and represent the work that black intellectuals do, which is to say, the work of thinking,” Director of the Frederick Douglass Institute Jeffrey Tucker said. ‘The conference also theorizes what it means to be an intellectual, at various locations throughout the African Diaspora and moments throughout history.”

The conference presented five different portrayals of Black Intellectualism through literature, philosophy, cultural studies, history and meditation. Speakers included esteemed professors from Duke University, Cornell University and the University of Virginia, among others.

Dr. Olufemi Taiwo, from the Philosophy and Global African Studies Department at Seattle University, drew a lot of attention with his paper ‘The Love of Freedom Brought Us Here: An Introduction to Modern African Political Philosophy.”

Taiwo discussed the importance of work done by James Horton, a philosopher from Sierra Leone who worked toward African independence and applied ideas of freedom and no taxation without representation in the 19th century.

‘The ideas Horton expressed, freedom and citizenship, that were appropriate during the colonization of the United States are as relevant in contemporary Africa,” Taiwo said.

His ideas drew both responses and questions from the audience, which included undergraduate and graduate students, professors and members of the UR community.

‘I was especially interested in what Taiwo said about the sovereignty of African nations, and about the accountability of leaders,” sophomore Priscilla Alabi said. ‘African nations deserve dependable leaders, who are serving the people.”

Other lecturers featured included Dr. Grant Farred of Cornell University, who discussed the legacy of St. Augustine, Dr. Tucker, who lectured on Samuel Delany and Dr. Marlon Ross who presented on Joe Louis.

Bagley is a member of the class of 2012.

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