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Expanding Notions of Blackness, Tools for a Better Pedagogy

Global Education Colloquium

January 19, 2016
Evelyn Laurent-Perrault, Bryn Mawr College

It is estimated that 20 to 30 million Africans forcedly migrated to the Americas.  About six percent of this number made it to what is today the United States.  About ninety four percent of Africans ended up in the Caribbean, Central, and South America, where they were likewise subjected to urban and rural plantation slavery.  Their presence significantly shaped the cultural and social practices in these regions, as well as their genetic diversity.  Learning their experiences can only broaden our understanding of the impact and the lingering consequences of slavery in the Americas and the world.  Furthermore, migratory trends have been bringing people from Africa and of African descent to the major urban centers of the US, for more than a century.  The cultural make up of inner city schools are changing fast.  Research has shown that teachers subconsciously contribute to the achievement gap. Teaching diverse classrooms with children from Africa, of African descent, and/or Latino backgrounds, requires that teachers are multiculturally aware of their histories.  This talk aims to provide a succinct intro to the history of the African Diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean and ways in which it can enrich diverse classrooms.

About the Speaker

Dr. Evelyn Laurent-Perrault was born and raised in Venezuela with Haitian and Venezuelan parents, has lived and traveled throughout Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
She completed her Ph.D. in history at New York University, and has been awarded several scholarships and fellowships, including the Ford Dissertation Writing and a Margaret Brown Fellowship, for her research.  Her dissertation titled “Black Honor, Intellectual Marronage, and the Law in Venezuela, 1760-1809,” explores Afro-descendants’ intellectual contributions to the political debates, during the dawn of the Age of Revolutions. She also has a Licenciatura degree in Biology, from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Dr. Laurent-Perrault has been awarded several. She is founder of the Annual Arturo Schomburg Symposium that takes place at Taller Puertorriqueño, in Philadelphia, and she is the co-founder of ENCUENTRO, an initiative that seeks to promote a global Afro-Diasporic dialogue. Dr. Laurent-Perrault serves on the board of ASWAD, the Association of the World Wide Studies of the African Diaspora.