Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
Five College Calendar
Smith eDigest
Submit an Idea
News Archive
News Publications
Planning an Event
Contact Us
News & Events

Smith to Kick Off 5-College Conference on Globalization

Excerpted from a Five Colleges, Inc. press release.

Multiple screenings of a critically acclaimed film and a video conference with scholars a hemisphere away are among the highlights of a conference sponsored by the Five Colleges African Studies Council and African Scholars Program.

"Bamako: Globalization on Trial,” will take place on three area campuses from February 28 through  March 1. The conference will begin on Thursday, Feb. 28, with a screening of the politically powerful film Bamako at 7:30 p.m. in the Neilson Browsing Room. A panel of area African Studies faculty will discuss issues raised in the film with the audience. The film will be shown on Friday, Feb. 29, at Westfield State College and at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The conference will continue on Saturday, March 1, with a series of events at Smith.

Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, the film Bamako flows between fantasy and reality as a group of townspeople put on trial the IMF and World Bank in a dusty courtyard in the Mali’s capital city, Bamako. Robed magistrates hear impassioned testimony about the burden of debt servicing, the loss of control over natural resources and infrastructure and the rise of political corruption that accompanied the loans that have flowed into Africa under the auspices of international aid.

The film has proven to be a darling of the critics, with the San Francisco Chronicle writing, “Trial movies can be painful, but Bamako is a powerful polemic leavened with moments of beauty and humor,” and the Los Angeles Times noting, “Bamako is an attack on globalization that is endlessly cogent, confrontational -- and, best of all, as captivating as it is illuminating.”

Bamako (115 mins., not rated) is in French and Bambara with English subtitles.

As with its namesake film, the "Bamako" conference will explore the impact of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other aspects of globalization on African countries. While some may applaud the billions of dollars in international aid that has flowed into Africa over recent decades, others point out that it has resulted in crushing debt for developing nations, with little if any improvements to show for it.

Bamako will be shown at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 29, at Westfield State College’s Scanlon Banquet Hall, where it will be introduced by Nicole Lee, executive director of TransAfrica Forum, the largest African American organization focused on social justice in the African world. At 7:30 Friday evening, as part of the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, Bamako will be introduced by Amilcar Shabazz and Demetria Shabazz. It will be shown at Mahar Auditorium, UMass.

Saturday events will be at Smith College are as follows:

9:30 a.m. to noon, Seelye 201: "African Responses." A live video conference discussion with African scholars and civil society members based in Dakar, Senegal, including former Senegalese cabinet minister Aissata Tall, who appears in Bamako, and Ibrahima Thioub, chair of the Department of History at Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar.

1 to 3 p.m., Seelye 201: "Connecting College and Community: Activism and Globalization." Student presentations and a lively discussion of the issues, followed by brief presentations by local organizations doing Africa-related work. Hosted by Nicole Lee.

3 to 5 p.m., Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall: Keynote address by Nicole Lee, executive director of TransAfrica Forum.

All events are free and open to the public. Register for the Bamako conference.

Sponsors include: Smith College Lecture Committee, African Studies Program and African-American Studies Department; Amherst College Women’s and Gender Studies; The Five College African Scholars Program, African Studies Council and Lecture Fund; the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival; the Mount Holyoke College Purington Fund and McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives; the UMass Amherst Graduate School, School of Education, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; the West African Research Center; l’Université Cheikh Anta Diop; Westfield State College.

DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z