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Diversity fellow presents colloquium on Afrocentric-futurism

October 26, 2018

Ursuline College Faculty Diversity Fellow Abobo Kumbalonah, PhD, presents a colloquium titled “Afrocentric-futurism: ‘Blackpicture of Abobo Kumbalonah Panther’ as a Sankofa Visualization” on Thursday, Nov. 29, from noon until 1:00 p.m. in the Little Theatre in Ursuline’s Mullen Building. The talk is free and open to the public.

Kumbalonah‘s talk will examine “Black Panther,” the most successful Hollywood movie on Africa, looking at how the African (Akan) cultural motif of Sankofa could be used to situate the film between Afrocentricity and Afrofuturism. The talk will evaluate how that combination provides an alternative visual imagination of Africa within Euro-American cinescapes.

“This cinematic analysis will inspire a process of questioning or (re)evaluating our assumptive knowledge of Africa in relation to global cultural renaissance, science and technological evolution, and the general advancement of the human civilization,” Kumbalonah said.

Ursuline’s Faculty Diversity Fellowship was established in 2017 thanks to funding from KeyBank Foundation. Ursuline President Sister Christine De Vinne, OSU, PhD, said that the fellowship program helps the College maintain its commitment to increasing under-represented presence on the faculty; enhance the climate of diversity on campus; provide additional role models for students, particularly students of color; and provide each post-doctoral fellow with two semesters of college faculty experience, coached by a faculty member.

Kumbalonah, Ursuline’s third Faculty Diversity Fellow, is completing his second semester at the College. He earned his PhD from Ohio University in Africana Literature, Film, and Visual Culture. Prior to being appointed a Faculty Diversity Fellow at Ursuline, he taught at Ohio University and the University of Ghana.

Professionally, he is a broadly trained interdisciplinary scholar with special interest in African and African diaspora literature, film, and cultural studies. He regards himself as an activist-scholar who uses teaching and research to broaden global understanding of Africa and its diaspora. In the pursuit of this cause, he has taught, published and presented on black culture in relation to racial relations, language and identity, and philosophy.

“At Ursuline College, we are committed to increasing the diversity of our faculty and we are very grateful that KeyBank Foundation embraced this goal and provided the funding that allowed us to bring Dr. Kumbalonah on board as a faculty member in this distinguished new role,” Sister De Vinne continued.

In announcing the grant in early 2017, Margot Copeland, chair & CEO of the KeyBank Foundation said, “The KeyBank Foundation aims to transform lives through our philanthropic investments. We are very pleased to support this Ursuline College initiative, which will augment the College’s efforts to improve diversity. Students will benefit from access to the KeyBank Diversity Fellows, and the fellows, in turn, will gain valuable faculty experience, professional development and mentoring.”

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