to Kick Off 5-College Conference on Globalization
Excerpted from a Five Colleges,
Inc. press release.
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
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
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
It will be shown at Mahar Auditorium, UMass.
Saturday events will be at
Smith College are as follows:
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
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
events are free and open to the public. for
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.