November 17, 2000

Crossing Over Different Cultures and Borders to be Explored in a Workshop Nov. 21 at UCSD

A workshop exploring how people cross over different cultures and borders —and the mixing and blending involved— will be held from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 21 in the Social Sciences Building at the University of California, San Diego. The event is free and open to the public.

The Workshop on the Cultures of Border Crossing is presented by UCSD's African and African-American Studies Research Project (AAASRP), coordinated by UCSD sociology professor Bennetta Jules-Rosette.

The workshop will bring four scholar/panelists from various backgrounds and locales together to discuss the transformations and exchanges associated with migration, transition and cultural change. It is the first presentation in AAASRP's 2000-2001 academic year Borders, Boundaries, and New Frontiers program.

"Travel and diasporic connections trigger reconcep-tualizations of identities and histories," Jules-Rosette says. "People both carry with them and discard cultural baggage as they move across oceans, nations, and regions. Our panelists will examine processes of cultural transformation and change with a focus on African and African disaporic communities."

The four panelists and their topics are:

Richard Werbner, University of Manchester — Cosmopolitan Ethnicity and the Minorities Debate

Filip De Boeck, University of Leuven — Doubling and Border Crossing: A Case from Congo

Denis-Constant Martin, Fondation Nationale de Sciences Politiques, Paris — Musical Blendings: Creation and Identity in North America and South Africa

Ian Condry, Union College —Flow in a Foreign Tongue: The Language and Borders of Hip Hop

Workshop discussants include UCSD's Cristin McVey, sociology; Paula Marie Seniors, ethnics studies, and Jonathan Markovitz, sociology.

The presentations on music set the stage for AAASRP's February events which focus on musician and composer Don Byron. Among Byron's lecture/performances will be Musics of Border Crossing on Feb. 21, which will be free and open to the public. He will also lead a Borderland Beats Music Workshop that day.

"From klezmer to big band music, from Afro-Caribbean sounds to improvised jazz, Byron is a musical and cultural innovator," Jules-Rosette says. "Clarinet in hand, he explores the music of diverse cultures while creating and maintaining his own distinctive sound. For Byron, music knows no limits or borders. He epitomizes our border-crossing theme."

Among Byron's most recent honors was being voted jazz clarinetist of the year by the 1999 Downbeat readers' poll. But as the San Francisco Chronicle notes, while Byron "perennially scores top clarinetist honors in jazz critics' polls, he's a free spirit bent on stretching jazz" as he moves fluidly from Tchaikovsky to klezmer and hip hop.

AAASRP's Borders, Boundaries and New Frontiers events will continue to May with a symposium. Also in process, with final essays due in March, is a Youth Forum designed to expose San Diego's inner-city youth to the possibilities of higher education and research. The essays will be recognized at an awards banquet held in conjunction with the May symposium.

AAASRP's mission is to promote research and intellectual understanding of the issues that face African-Americans and the African dispora populations today from the perspectives of the humanities and the social sciences. The project sponsors public events that bring diverse groups of people together, both to foster a comparative and interdisciplinary environment and to share information and exchange scholarly ideas.

For further information on The Workshop on the Cultures of Border Crossing or any of AAASRP's programs call Jules-Rosette at (858) 534-4790 or J.R. Osborn at (858) 822-0265.

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