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Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah
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African American Studies Lecture Series at WIU

October 17, 2008

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MACOMB, IL - - Forty years have passed since the call for "Black Power," following the Civil Rights Movement, and the creation of a Black Studies department at San Francisco State College; but only after students and faculty went on strike demanding a change of curriculum they saw as Eurocentric and patriarchal, said Western Illinois University African American Studies Professor and Department Chair Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah.

To commemorate the founding of the academic field of African American studies (AAS), Western's AAS department is presenting a series of lectures on the theme "African American Studies Today" throughout the 2008-2009 school year. AAS faculty members will present the lectures, which will highlight some of the important current issues in the field of African American studies.

Na'Allah will present the first lecture in the series with "Praise Poetry: An Ilorin Performance of Name and History," at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29 in the Malpass Library Room 180. He will discuss the concept of praise poetry in Africa and present selected poems from his forthcoming book of poetry, "Ilorin: Praise Poetry."

"Praise poetry is important performance poetry in African tradition. While is occupies a genre of its own, it also forms part of every genre of African oral poetry," Na'Allah said.

Faculty speakers scheduled in the "African American Studies Today" series, which will be presented on Wednesdays, include: AAS Associate Professor Alphonso Simpson Jr., Nov. 12; AAS Assistant Professor Nancy Kwang Johnson, Dec. 10; AAS Associate Professor Jo-Ann Morgan, Feb. 4; Political Science Instructor Daniel Ogbaharya, Feb. 18; AAS Associate Professor Audrey Watkins, March 4; and AAS Associate Professor Safoura Boukari, April 1.

For more information, contact the AAS department at (309) 298-1181 or visit

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