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Asanbe Diversity Symposium

The Annual Joseph Asanbe Diversity Symposium | Department of Languages & Literature

These symposia are help annually to honor Joseph Asanbe, Professor of African and African-Literature, who died in 1996. Dr. Asanbe was longtime chair of the department’s Diversity Committee, which organizes the events to honor his legacy and encourage continued understanding and appreciation of diversity. Co-sponsored by the APSU Department of Languages and Literature and the Center of Excellence for Creative Arts, the Asanbe Diversity Symposium was created to nurture diversity and to support and enhance the teaching of world literature.

Featured Speakers

2021 Ricardo Nazario-Colon

Keynote: "A Puerto Rican/Latinx Journey in Appalachia"
Panel Discussion: "Marginal Cultures in Peripheral Regions: What We Can and Should Do"

2019 Dr. David Bradley

Award-Winning Author
Keynote: “Is Diversity Still Supported?” 
Panel Discussion:
 “What does it mean to have diversity, equity and, inclusion on campus and in society?”

2018 Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Celebrated Poet
Keynote: "Undocumented and Unafraid"
Panel Discussion: "Memory and Immigration in the Political Moment"

2017 CORE Ensemble

Chamber Music Theater Performance Group
Performance: "Ain't I A Woman"
Panel Discussion: "Race, Gender, and the Women's Movement Today"

2016 Marnie Mueller

Noted Author
Keynote lecture: "The Color of Citizenship: The Impact of the Japanese-American Internment During WWII"
Panel Discussion: "Immigrant Experience, Immigrant Voices: Locating Culture in the Twenty-First Century"

2015 Dr. Joy Ladin

Transgender Scholar and Poet
Keynote lecture: "Second Genesis: The Transformation of Gender"
Panel Discussion: "Trans Identities in Social and Institutional Space"

2014 Dr. Jacqueline Woodfork

Historian and author
Keynote Lecture: “How Senegalese Soldiers Became French: 20 th Century  Identity Politics”
Panel Discussion: “Africa in the 21 st Century”

2013 Dr. Todd Moye

Historian and author
Keynote address: “Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II” Panel Discussion:
“Diversity Meets the Culture of Allegiance”

2012 George Estreich

Keynote lecture:  “The Shape of the Eye: Down Syndrome, Family, and the Stories We Inherit”
Panel Discussion

2011 Dr. Patty Loew

Native American educator, writer, filmmaker and producer
Keynote lecture:  “Creation to Contemporary Conflict: Native American Origin Stories as Predictors of Modern Environmental Struggles”
Film:  “Way of the Warrior,” a documentary produced by Patty Loew for PBS on Native American soldiers in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam

2010 Coleman Barks

Poet and translator of the poetry of Rumi
Keynote reading and lecture: "The Mystery of Friendship: Rumi and Shams" Panel Discussion: "Why Read Rumi?"

2009 Dr. Abiola Irele

Visiting Professor of African and African-American studies and of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, Harvard University
Orality and Literature--The African Example
Keynote Lecture: “Form and Function in African Oral Literature”
Panel Discussion: “Oral Tradition in Literature across Cultures”

2008 Dr. Olga Connor

Journalist and educator
Keynote Lecture:  “Parables of Women”
Panel Discussion: “Gender and Politics/Politica y Sexo”

2007 Chris Lowney

International businessman, writer and humanitarian
Keynote Lecture:  “A Vanished World: What 21 st Century Christian, Jews and Muslims Can Learn from Medieval Spain”
Panel Discussion: “Lessons for Modern Men and Women from Medieval Spain”

2006 A. Van Jordan

Keynote Lecture:  “Space, Time and Race: From Macnolia Cox to the Present”
Panel Discussion: “Overcoming the Legacy of Jim Crow”

2005 Rabbi Steven Greenberg        

Author and Senior Teaching Fellow
National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, New York
Keynote Lecture: “Wrestling with God and Men: A Gay Orthodox Rabbi Speaks
About Sex, the Bible, and Religion”
Panel Discussion: “Reading and Teaching Sacred Texts”

2004 Holocaust Survivor George Salton

Keynote Lecture: “The 23 rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir”
Panel Discussion: Remembering the Holocaust
Concert: To Remember and Record—a concert of music, words, and images in honor of author George Salton

2003 Dr. Paul B. Miller

Faculty Member in French and Spanish, Vanderbilt University
Lecture: “Discovering Cuban Music: Neo-Colonial Paradigms in Buena
Vista Social Club”

2002 Dr. Roberto Luis Carrasco

Professor of Communications, Northern Arizona University
Lecture: “Communication as Culture, Culture as Communication”
Panel Discussion: “The Classroom as Cultural Microcosm”

2001 Dr. Ralph J. Bryson

Distinguished Professor of American Literature, Alabama State University
Lecture Topic: “Can Literature Bridge the Racial Divide?”
Panel Discussion:  “Literature Bridging the Racial Divide”

2000 Dr. Margareta and Lars Wolf

Professors of Geography and Literature, Mid-Sweden University
Lecture: “The New Country: Multicultural Sweden”
Panel Discussion:  “Diversity in Europe: An Ongoing Challenge”

1999 Carroll Parrott Blue

Filmmaker and Professor, San Diego State University
Lecture:  “Carroll Parrott Blue: My Life in Film”
Screenings of Documentary Films “Conversations with Roy de Carava” (1983) and “Mystery of the Senses: Vision” (1995)

1998 Dr. Vinay Lal

Assistant Professor of History, UCLA
Lecture: “Too Deep for Ecology: Gandhi and the Ecological Vision of Life”
Panel Discussion:  “Modern India”

1997 Dr. Francis Abiola Irele

Professor of Black Studies and Comparative Studies, The Ohio State University
Lecture: “Literature and the Modern Experience in Africa”
Panel Discussion: Modern Africa and Literature