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The Black Students Alliance of Smith College Presents...
The BSA Annual Conference

Every year the Black Students Alliance puts on an annual conference. This year our theme is:


The purpose of the BSA New England Regional conference is to bring together scholars, community activists and students from across our community to contemplate issues of critical importance to the black community. This year, we have chosen to center our work as an organization on addressing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, not only through direct material contributions but also through thinking through our communal responses to various situations of crisis, physical, social and political. Our conference entitled The New Black Reality: Interrogating Love and Tradition will be a moment to scrutinize our language of community as it relates to thinking about crisis.


Important Information



Tentative Schedule


Contact Info


The 2006 New England regional conference entitled The New Black Reality: Interrogating Love and Tradition will be hosted by the Black Students Alliance February 24-26, 2006. The purpose of the BSA conference is to convene the most gifted scholars, activists, writers, artists and thinkers from across our community to contemplate issues of critical importance to black people. We recognize 2005 as a pregnant moment of bodily, social and political crisis. Particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, where we witnessed firsthand sociopolitical neglect and erasure of our people, we feel thrust into an urgent new reality that calls all of us to reach beyond barriers to organize, network, think and problem solve as a people.

We have chosen to focus on the discourse of love to at once highlight the diversity of racial, cultural, class, and ideological perspectives that black people represent while deliberating upon issues of trust and division that bear upon these varied facets of black community. We will pose the key questions: how does the black community respond to physical, emotional and political crisis? How might we improve upon these responses by re-thinking and strengthening community? We propose the 2006 conference as a moment of healing, reflection and creative solutions.

The 2006 regional conference will be the largest and most important event hosted by the BSA this year. The conference will be opened not to only to the entire 5-college community but to several New England area institutions including but not limited to the University of Connecticut, Wellesley, Yale, Wesleyan, Boston University, Boston College and Harvard.


Early Registration Deadline: Before January 25th

Late Registration Deadline: After January 25th

Conference Dates: February 24th-26th, 2006

Tentative Shedule

BSA Conference 2006

The New Black Reality: Interrogating Love and Tradition

Friday February 24, 2006

12:00pm Conference Registration Begins Mwangi Cultural Center

Registration materials include map of SC, restaurant and tourist guides, hostess information, conference schedule, conference ID badge

4:00-6:00pm Meet and Greet Mocktail Mwangi

6:00-7:30pm Welcome Dinner Davis Ballroom

7:30pm-9:00pm Keynote Address Neilson Browsing Room

Nikki Giovanni, Paula Giddings

9:00-10:00 pm Break, Hostesses meet guests

10:00-12:00pm Informal movie screening and discussion Mwangi

Saturday February 25, 2006

8:00am Registration resumes Mwangi

9:00-11:00am An Epidemic: Black Women and AIDS CC 103/104

This panel will examine the social and cultural causes of the dramatic increase in HIV positive populations amongst black women ages 18-25. We will attend to attitudes of fear, suspicion and distrust between black men and women as well as conservatism and silences around issues of sex and sexual identity. We will examine how the diseases of AIDS and HIV are treated socially within the black community and how this has informed the responses to this epidemic.

9:00-11:00am Hip-Hop vs. the Black Church in 2004 Election Caroll Room

This discussion will deal with the sociopolitical agendas set forth by black churches and hip-hop influenced voting campaigns during the 2004 election. We will consider the major rhetorical thrusts of each movement and their influences. The discussion will deal especially with divisions of age, gender and economic class relative to important issues such as the war on terror, same-sex marriage and abortion. Our goal is to uncover issues of distrust and tension between these two "communities" of thought and how these tensions were influenced by age, gender and economic class

11:00-12:30pm Love and Sexuality Black Literature CC 104/103

During this discussion we will attend to the ways in which black romantic love has been constructed in literature. We will pay particular attention to the contrasting ways in which black women's sexuality, beauty, truth, and love is imagined, quantified and dispensed within "urban" and "canonical" literature. We will question what import representations of black love in literature have had over time upon the ways in which black love is performed and represented.

11:00-12:30pm Community and Disaster Caroll Room

As our communities come together to confront the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, what are the primary means upon which we have relied for the resources of recovery? What has this revealed about the black community's relationship to government? How has this tragedy served to uncover the larger tragedy of erasure of the black lower class? We will think carefully about the ways in which we can engage inclusive organizing and propose solutions.

12:30-2:00pm Lunch Campus Center

Bag lunch will be coordinated through Smith College Dining Services

2:00-3:30pm Educational Equity CC 103/104

This discussion will examine the problem of educational inequity that has been crystallized by illiteracy rates within the black community. We will examine how the issue of illiteracy connects to incarceration rates, shifting family structures, class divisions, and public policy. We will examine the current response to this issue by questioning the importance education, and specifically literacy has held for people of African descent as a marginalized group.

2:00-3:30pm African Dance Workshop Berenson 3/Crew House

2:00-4:00pm Screening of "The Word Becomes Flesh" Hillyer Auditorium

3:30-5:00pm Poetry Reading w/ discussion Poetry Center

Gina Ulysse, Elizabeth Alexander

4:00-5:00pm African Dance Workshop Berenson 3/Crew House

5:00-7:00pm Break

7:00-9:00pm Performance by Dimensions Dance Theatre Scott or Hallie Flannigan

10:00pm-1:00pm Party CC208

Sunday February 26, 2006

9:30am-12:00pm Closing Breakfast and Award Ceremony Davis Ballroom

Ruth Simmons will be invited to deliver closing remarks


Hostesses will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Modest accommodations are available at a conference discount price at the University Hotel at UMASS.

Contact Info

Conference Chair: Ayoka Stewart

Email Smith Black Students Alliance

Please put Conference 2006 in the subject line