African and African American Studies Program to Host 'The Racial Politics of Ebola' Panel

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The African and African American Studies program in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences will host a discussion panel examining "The Racial Politics of Ebola" in conjunction with the King Fahd Center for Middle Eastern Studies and International Relations/International Studies Program from 4-5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, in the African and African American Studies common lounge in Memorial Hall room 230.

This conversation will investigate, among other issues, sensationalized media coverage of Ebola, misinformation about how the disease is transmitted and generalizations of "Africa" and "African diseases." Caree Banton, assistant professor, Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon, associate professor and director of the International Studies program, Joel Gordon, professor and director of the King Fahd Center, and Calvin White, Jr., associate professor and director of the African and African American Studies program, will contribute to the forum. All hold academic appointments in the Department of History, and are each are affiliated with the participating programs.  Students and the general public are encouraged to attend this free event.

The three area studies programs, along with Fulbright College, strives to advance Sen. Fulbright's vision "to bring reason, justice and humanity into the relations between people and nations" through higher education. Interdisciplinary discourse is imperative to that mission. This joint venture among the three programs to explore the varied meanings of the Ebola "crisis" will not only further confirm the position of Africa as the center and future of international progress, but also reflect Fulbright's efforts for greater cultural understanding through communication.

"With the recent media focus on Ebola and Africa, in particular, I believe it is imperative that we come together with our international partners to address the generalizations and fears concerning this disease by erasing mischaracterizations and injecting reason into the conversation,” White said. “In a sense, many people argue this is Africa's introduction to the world stage, where scholars believe it will remain for the 21st century. However, it is essential that we do not cast the continent and its people in a negative light or associate them solely with war, poverty and disease."

About African and African American Studies: The African and African American Studies program expands on the core disciplines of a traditional liberal arts education. Through interdisciplinary study, students may explore the legacy of the African diaspora and African-descended people’s global experiences and the importance of race with a focus on Africa, the United States and the Caribbean.

About the King Fahd Center: The King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies is an academic and research unit in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. An interdisciplinary and interdepartmental area studies center that offers diverse cultural, intellectual and educational opportunities for the University of Arkansas community, it promotes research and teaching in interdisciplinary Middle East studies.

About International Relations/International Studies: International Relations/International Studies explores nations and people through politics, socioeconomics and culture. Interdisciplinary examinations of global interaction allow students to realize Sen. J. William Fulbright's vision of promoting international good will through educational exchange. 


Calvin White, Jr., director
African and African American Studies Program

Darinda Sharp, director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences


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