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Anansi 2012 Children's Literature Conference


Institute of African American Affairs, New York University



A Is for Anansi: Literature for Children of African Descent

“Africa, the Future, and the Urban Landscape”

November 9-10th, 2012

Location for all programs: Kimmel Center-NYU,

60 Washington Square South, E&L Auditorium, 4th Floor

“A Is for Anansi: Africa, the Future, and the Urban Landscape,” the second conference hosted by the Institute of African American Affairs, aims to deepen and diversify the cannon, conversation and scholarship of the literature as told by its most influential critics, scholars, teachers and producers. The need for more in-depth analysis and for more information, critical evaluation, and publications on this topic still remains. The conference will look at these and consider other questions and issues as well.

Keynote by Dr. Michelle H. Martin

Panels include Fantasy: The Final Frontier, Urban Landscapes, Africa Imagined

Panelists include: Nancy Tolson, William Loren Katz, Meena Khorana, Varian Johnson, Christine Taylor-Butler, Georgina Falu, Kathleen Horning, Zetta Elliott, Nnedi Okorafor,   Vicky Smith, Stacy Whitman, Ivan Velez, Jr., Tony Medina, Coe Booth, Terry Williams, K.C. Boyd,  Rashidah Ismaili, Elana Denise Anderson, Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, Anika Selhorst, Mohammed Naseehu Ali,  Katharine Capshaw Smith

Anansi Award will be presented to  Ashley Bryan, Pat Cummings, William Loren Katz, and Eloise Greenfield

Free and open to the public. Space is limited.
Please RSVP at (212) 998-IAAA (4222)
For more information please visit:


Friday, November 9th, 2012 – Opening Reception

6-6:30 pm

6:30-8:00 pm
Perceptions and Realities:  When Color Blinds and Reveals
Perceptions of how notions of whiteness/blackness, both implicit and implied, are presented and their effects. Borrowing a page from Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark, whiteness and blackness in the literary imagination.

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Registration – 9-9:30 am

9:30 – 11:00 am
Fantasy: The Final Frontier
The scarcity of fantasy/science-fiction books featuring children of African decent.

11:00 – 12:30 pm
Children’s panel:   “If I Ruled the World” 
As a teacher / publisher / writer / reader how they see themselves in the world and how they are depicted. If they were in control and in power/what would they teach, assign to read, defending it why and why not.

Lunch – 12:30 – 1:30 pm 

1:30 – 3:00 pm
Urban Landscapes: Stories for a Global World, Realism and Dominant Images
The lure of urban life and culture, its offerings and sacrifices. What the urban landscape does to the literature and vice versa. How the black urban experience is interpreted and reimagined. How does dwindling rural development and shifts to urban landscapes fragment and reconstruct lives and cultural retentions?

3:00 – 4:30 pm
Africa Imagined
“What is Africa to me” remains a fundamental question in all Africana studies. How African culture is identified, constructed in the literature.

4:30 – 5:00 pm

5:00 PM
● Tribute to Ashley Bryan, Pat Cummings, William Loren Katz, and Eloise Greenfield