Lecture Series

AADS hosts three different lecture series annually- The Eric Williams Memorial Lecture, the Chris Gray Memorial Lecture, and the AADS Humanities Afternoon. When there is a recording of a lecture, it will be clearly indicated. Click on "Video" to view the recorded event.

Eric Williams Memorial Lecture Series

The Eric Williams Memorial Lecture is organized by the African & African Diaspora Studies Program Distinguished Africana Scholars Lecture Series in conjunction with the Eric Williams Memorial Collection at the University of the West Indies. It has quickly become one of the major events of the University’s calendar. The University, through its various administrative committees, has ensured that the Lecture is executed at a level befitting its name and commensurate with other activities of its caliber. We are, therefore, committed to maintaining this excellence.

Inaugurated in 1999 by the pre-eminent scholar and historian, Dr. John Hope Franklin, the intent has been twofold: to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Eric Williams, noted historian and Caribbean statesman; and to provide an intellectual forum, generally, for the examination of pertinent issues in Caribbean and African Diaspora history and politics. FIU’s Eric Williams Memorial Lecture has now been concretized as one of the most significant and anticipated intellectual contributions and draws a large attendance from the South Florida community, which comprises a sizeable Caribbean population.

Recent Eric Williams Memorial Lectures

2011 13th Annual Lecture. Dr. Ivelaw Griffith, York College - CUNY "Drugs and Crime as Problems Without Passports in the Caribbean: How Secure is Security and How Sovereign is Sovereignty?" Video
2010 12th Annual Lecture. P.J. Patterson, Former Prime Minister of Jamaica "The Renaissance of Haiti: A Template for Caribbean Integration" Video
2009 11th Annual Lecture. Portia Simpson Miller, Former Prime Minister of Jamaica “A New Vision for a New World Reality: Prospects for the Anglophone Caribbean” Video
2008 10th Annual Lecture. Arnold Rampersad, Sarah Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University “The Challenge of Leadership in America: Race, History and the Emergence of Barack Obama
2007 9th Annual Lecture. Joseph Inikori, Professor of History, University of Rochester and Verene Shepherd, Professor of Social History, University of the West Indies, Jamaica “Emancipation, the African Atlantic and the Long Road to Freedom” Video
2006 8th Annual Lecture. Colin A. Palmer, Dodge Professor of History, Princeton University “Eric Williams and the Continuing Challenges of a Diverse Caribbean”
2005 7th Annual Lecture. Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool, Assoc. Professor of History, University of the Virgin Islands “One Caribbean: Eric Williams on Carnival, Culture and Development”
2004 6th Annual Lecture. Robert Fatton, Julia A. Cooper Prof. of Government/Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia and prize winning author Edwidge Danticat “Haiti, Patterns of Crisis: Culture and Politics in the Caribbean”
2003 5th Annual Lecture. Angela Davis, Professor in History of Consciousness and Chair of Women’s Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz on “Slavery and the Prison Industrial Complex” Video
2002 4th Annual Lecture. Distinguished Caribbean Women, Mia Mottley, Attorney General of Barbados, Cynthia Pratt, Deputy Prime Minister of the Bahamas and former first lady of Jamaica, Beverly Anderson-Manley, “Women and Politics in the Caribbean.”
2001 3rd Annual Lecture. Hillary Beckles, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies “The Global Politics of Reparations, Before and After Durban”
2000 2nd Annual Lecture. Kenneth Kaunda, former president of Zambia “Orphans of Africa: The Ignored Casualties of AIDS”
1999 Inaugural Lecture. John Hope Franklin, Professor Emeritus, Duke University “Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation”

Chris Gray Memorial Lecture Series

The Chris Gray Memorial Scholarship Endowment was founded to honor the memory of former FIU History Professor, Christopher Gray. Professor Gray joined the FIU faculty in Fall 1995 and had an enormous impact on the University faculty and students during his five years at the University. Professor Gray died of cancer in October 2000 after having been diagnosed with the disease in January 1999. He demonstrated his courage and commitment to teaching and scholarship by continuing to teach classes through the spring of 2000. He has been missed terribly by the students and staff of FIU since his passing.

The memory of Professor Gray was honored again on 26 November 2001 when a plaque bearing his name was placed on a gazebo near one of the lakes on the University Park Campus. Professor Ted Young in LACC took the initiative to have the gazebo named in Professor Gray’s honor, and Jean Rahier represented African-New World Studies (now African & African Diaspora Studies). The plaque bears an inscription from the title of Professor Gray’s forthcoming book, which is in turn a proverb of Gabon’s Fang people: “The Clan Knows No Boundaries.” A small group of faculty, staff, and students gathered at the gazebo for the unveiling of the plaque and to remember Professor Gray. At the time Provost Mark Rosenberg spoke movingly of Professor Gray’s devotion to scholarship and teaching, and of his tremendous impact on all of those whom he worked with at FIU.

The Gray Scholarship Endowment was launched in December 2001 to honor Chris Gray’s memory by helping students at FIU in their quest to understand better the history and social affairs of sub-Saharan Africa. Its creators envision at annual award to a graduate student in History or a social science who is studying continental Africa. If you wish to contribute, checks for the fund should be made out to the “FIU Foundation” and the following notation should appear of the bottom left: “Chris Gray Memorial Scholarship Endowment.” Checks may be sent to Professor John Clark, Department of International Relations or to the AADS office, LC 304, Modesto Maidique Campus. The founders of the fund wish to thank all of those who have contributed to this point.

Recent Chris Gray Memorial Lectures

2012 5th Lecture. Dr. Jok Madut Jok, J. Randolph Senior Fellow, United States Institute of Peace Loyola Marymount University "South Sudan and the Burden of Independence"
2011 4th Lecture. The Impact of Social and Political Violence on Congo's Children. Solange Ghonda, The DRC's Ambassador for Children.
2010 3rd Lecture. James McGee, Ex-ambassador of the US in Zimbabwe “Zimbabwe: A Country on the Precipice”
2009 2nd Lecture. Filip De Boeck, Director of the Institute of Anthropology Research in Africa, Belgium Film presentation “Kinshasa, D.R.C.: Cementery City” and lecture “Children of Disorder. Intimacy, Violenceand the Production of Social Knowledge in Congolese Youth’s Management of Death”
2003 Inaugural Lecture. Florence Bernault, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison “Body and Power in the Colony”

AADS Humanities Afternoon Lectures Every year, AADS hosts the AADS Humanities Afternoon in November.

2013 4th Lecture. "Rastafari Then and Now: Caribbeanist Anthropology, Gender Relations, and Global Dimensions" Dr. Robert Hill, University of California-Los Angeles, "The Ras Tafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica: Political Breakthrough or Academic Betrayal?"; Dr. Michael Barnett, University of West Indies, Mona-Jamaica, "Rastafari in the New Millenium"
2012 3rd Lecture. "Afro-Homo: Norming Nation, Norming Sex" Dr. Neville Hoad, University of Texas at Austin, "Traditional Modernity: Homosexuality and Customary Law in South Africa."; Dr. Frieda Ekotto, University of Michigan,"Women Loving Women in Sub-Saharan Africa"; Dr. Thomas Glave, State University of New York, Binghamton; 2012-2013 Visiting Fellow, University of Cambridge, the UK, ""A Nation of Sodomites; or, What the Writer Said to the Activist and the Activist to the Writer."
2011 2nd Lecture. "Crossing the Sahara and Back: African Feminisms in Dialogue" Dr. Fatima Sadiqi, University of Fez, Morocco; Dr. Edmund Abaka, University of Miami; Dr. Abena Busia, Rutgers University; Dr. Donna Aza Weir-Soley, FIU
2010 Inaugural Lecture. "Haiti and her Dyaspora: The Politics of Aesthetics and the Aesthetics of Politics" Dr. Jean Jonassaint, Syracuse University; Dr. Evelyn Cartright, Barry University; Dr. Charles Asselin, Mount Olive College; also featuring Haitian authors Marie Celie Agnant and Lionnel Trouillot and Haitian American photographer Noelle Theard