Africana Studies Program revives brown-bag lecture series

September 18, 2012 | Events, UToday
By Samantha Watson

The Africana Studies Program at The University of Toledo has hosted a successful lecture series in the past that discussed politics, education and culture. Now the discussions are back.

Dr. Carter Wilson, professor of political science, gave a talk, “Tea Party/Neo-Redeemers: Race, Class and the Assault on the Obama Presidency,” to kick off the Africana Studies Program’s brown-bag lecture series this semester.

The lecture series, which began Sept. 6, will feature a variety of topics, including many that relate to the upcoming presidential election.

From noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in Student Union Room 3016, Associate Professor of Law Ben Davis will discuss voting — particularly voter suppression and cheating — from both the point of view of scholar and citizen.

“We’re excited about starting up again,” said Dr. Rubin Patterson, UT professor and chair of sociology and anthropology and director of the Africana Studies Program. “Part of the emphasis now is there is a lot happening across the country in Africana studies. This is one of our ways to introduce the campus to what is happening nationally.”

Many different universities have Africana studies programs, which have been highly active in co-curricular activities. These programs also have exceptionally high job placement rates for graduates, at more than 80 percent, according to Patterson.

The discussions mainly will involve research debates and issues that Africana studies scholars are focusing on both nationally and globally.

“I want the audience to gain an appreciation for what Africana studies is,” Patterson said. “It uniquely integrates the social sciences, humanities, history and law in a way that prepares individuals for diverse and outstanding careers.”

Patterson said that a man named Dr. Michael Drake is a perfect example of how Africana studies can prepare individuals for diverse careers. He focused on Africana studies before going to medical school to study ophthalmology, later becoming a professor and ultimately the chancellor of the University of California at Irvine. This demonstrates that Africana studies is a liberal arts field of study that prepares students for important 21st-century careers.

The inaugural talk given Sept. 6 was by Dr. Carter Wilson, professor of political science, and focused on the Tea Party’s activities as related to the presidency of Barack Obama. The discussion was lively and took up the entire hour set aside for the event.

Patterson will give a talk on “Game Changer: Shifting Demographics, Wielding Power and the Environment” Thursday, Oct. 18, at noon in Student Union Room 2579.

For more information on topics and speakers, as well as the Africana Studies Program, visit

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