Here's a list of ATLAS events and other campus happenings that may be of interest to the ATLAS community. If you have an event you'd like to have listed, please let us know about it!

ATLAS Monthly Speaker Series (April 2024)

Free African Language Resources

NFLC E-learning portal logo

Connie DiJohnson and Bryan Anderson, both from the NFLC (ARHU), are our featured speakers.

Learn about the NFLC-UMD's free resources for African language learning and maintenance with Connie DiJohnson and Bryan Anderson. The NFLC-UMD's portal has over 1,000 language learning materials and self-assessments in African languages. Join us for a tour of the portal and share your language learning needs. While this session will focus on African language resources, we will also share some additional resources available to language learners more broadly, including for learners of less commonly taught languages. Many of the resources can also be adapted for a classroom setting. Come learn about the different language learning resources made available by NFLC-UMD. If you are a language learner or teach languages, you won’t want to miss this session about free language learning resources that are available to you.

The virtual event will be held on April 29 at 12:00 pm via Zoom. Attendees must register to receive a Zoom link. 

Learn more and register to attend.


Film Screening: Birthing Justice

Birthing Justice Documentary PosterThe University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities and School of Public Health co-host a screening of "Birthing Justice," a feature-length documentary discussing the issues fueling the maternal health crisis within the African American community and advocating for best practices to enhance birthing equity for all women, especially Black women.

The filmmakers explore this national epidemic in four regions—Washington, D.C., Augusta, GA, several areas in Missouri and California, interviewing those affected by current policies, i.e. birthing individuals and healthcare professionals, as well as those at the forefront of advancing policy change, such as birthing advocates, activists and policy makers.

Following the film screening, there will be a conversation about Black women's health and resilience, healthcare inequities, policy solutions and more, with:

Denise Pines, Executive producer and co-writer, Birthing Justice
Stephanie Shonekan, Dean, College of Arts and Humanities
Mia Smith-Bynum, Professor and chair, Department of Family Science, School of Public Health
Ruth Zambrana, Professor (WGSS), director, Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity
There will be a brief reception after the screening and discussion.

Date: Friday, April 26, 2024 at 3:00 p.m. 
Location: Gildenhorn Recital Hall in The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland
Reception to follow.

This event is free, but space is limited, so RSVP to attend!

Learn more and register here.

Frederick Douglass Center Launch with Poet Nikki Giovanni

Nikki GiovanniJoin us on Wednesday, April 24th as we inaugurate the new Frederick Douglass Center for Leadership Through the Humanities, a hub for humanities scholarship and programming that engages the public and works towards social justice and equity, with a special event featuring world-renowned poet, educator and activist Nikki Giovanni. Her work exploring race, gender, sexuality and the African American family has inspired generations to fight for change. Giovanni will chat with ARHU Associate Dean GerShun Avilez, who leads the Douglass Center, and ARHU Dean Stephanie Shonekan, as well as answer audience questions. A reception will follow.

This free event is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities, Arts for All and the Division of Student Affairs. 

Learn more and register here.

Kinship & (Be)Longing: Confronting Slavery's Archive Through Critical Black Digital Humanities (MITH Digital Dialogue)

Kinship and (Be)Longing flyerIn this presentation, we will share our experience working with Scholarly Editing to create a digital edition of fourteen stories centering Black and Black-Native life and humanity, which are derived from Louisiana's colonial archive.

After a brief overview of the Keywords for Black Louisiana (K4BL) project and our guiding principles, we will walk through the process of undertaking the digital edition, choosing the stories we have foregrounded, designing the components of our edition, and collaborating as a team to transcribe, translate, and encode the primary source documents. Our discussion will address the ways in which we have utilized, remixed, and stretched the Textual Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines to highlight the presence and lived experiences of named and unnamed enslaved people, connecting them and their stories using specific keywords such as kinship and wellness. To conclude, we will place this micro-edition within our broader vision for the digital life of the project: a pair of interoperable static sites. As a whole, we make the case that digital scholarly editing—when guided by scholarship in Black Studies and Critical Digital Humanities—can offer a toolkit that can be adapted explicitly to confront the violence of slavery's archive and build a praxis of recovery, repair, and refusal.

Learn more and register here.

QRIG Spring 2024 Panel: "Why Critical Thinking? Black Girls, Spaces, and Education"

Are you an undergraduate student contemplating pursuing a second degree and are interested in research? Are you a graduate student who could benefit from hearing about the dissertation process?

CRGE is excited to host the Qualitative Research Interest Group (QRIG) Spring 2024 Advanced Doctoral Student Dissertation Award Panel on Zoom from 12 to 2 PM EST next Thursday, April 18, 2024. This event is open to UMD faculty, staff, and students, as well as participants external to UMD.

At this year's panel, "Why Critical Thinking? Black Girls, Spaces, and Education," three past QRIG Awardees will discuss their successful
research and dissertation processes. Please see with more information on the panelists

Please use this link to register for the event. Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with the Panel Zoom link and an opportunity to add the date/time to your calendar.

Please email if you have any questions.

BSU-UMD Social Justice Alliance Symposium 2024

Flyer with SJA logo and event detailsJoin the BSU-UMD Social Justice Alliance and 2nd Lt. Richard W. Collins III Foundation for the 6th Annual SJA Symposium titled: "Lift Every Voice:'' Artists for Social and Racial Justice on Friday, April 12th from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Hear from University President's, the Collins' family, members of the Social Justice Alliance and symposium panelists: Amanda Seales, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Nikkolas Smith, Laura Coates and Leon Timbo as they explore the intersections of anti-Black racism, social justice, entertainment and art.

Learn more and register here.

WILDWOOD: BlackDH Adventures in Southside Chicago Worldmaking (MITH Digital Dialogue)

A poster listing each speaker event part of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities Digital Dialogues series. Events include Elizabeth Murice Alexander on March 26, Joey Takeda on April 9th, a roundtable with the Black Keywords of Louisiana project on April 23, and Jeffrey Moro on May 7th.Join us Tuesday March 26 at 12:30pm for WILDWOOD: BlackDH Adventures in Southside Chicago Worldmaking, a lecture featuring Elizabeth Murice Alexander.

From the archive to the screen, Black digital humanists regularly engage hypertext literature and interactive media as tools of social justice-based creative placemaking.

In this presentation, Alexander examines the use of interactive media for Black community worldbuilding and presents her own work in this area. WILDWOOD, a Black solarpunk digital gamebook, visions life in a rewilded future version of West Englewood, a neighborhood on the southside of Chicago. In the game, Alexander incorporates elements of choose-your-own-adventure storytelling and tabletop gaming to explore community histories and futures through adventures in Black speculative worldbuilding, while also experimenting with hypertext fiction and AI image generation as digital placemaking tools. As such, WILDWOOD offers tools to write future visions of Black communities, and space to enact these visions through digital play.

Learn more and register.

Perspectives on Migration, Trauma, Health and Mental Health in Global Contexts

Sociology table flyer 3.25.jpgSociology Table, a graduate student initiative in the Department of Sociology at UMD-College Park, invites you to attend a virtual talk on March 25th, 2 - 3 PM, "Perspectives on Migration, Trauma, Health and Mental Health in Global Contexts".

As part of our series on community-engaged research, we present guest speaker Dr. Lynn Michalopoulos, Associate Professor at the School of Social Work at University of Maryland, Baltimore. Dr. Michalopoulos's research and community engagement focuses around trauma and mental health among labor- and forced-migrant populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Find the meeting link here and if you want to learn more, feel free to send an email to

Hybrid Seminar-Exploiting the Congo: How the Quest for Resources Continues to Drive Decades of Violent Conflict in the Age of Technology

Maurice Carney seminar.pngIn his engaging talk, Mr. Carney will delve into the history of resource exploitation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its impact on the country's ongoing conflicts. He will also explore the role of extractivism in the context of the global green energy transition and highlight the resilience and agency of the Congolese people in their struggle for a liberated Congo and Africa.

As a highly respected expert with an extensive background in political science, research, and civic engagement, Mr. Carney brings a wealth of knowledge and insights to this critical topic. This event is part of the GEOG422/GEOG88A Changing Geographies of Sub-Saharan Africa class and is open to the University of Maryland Community.

We would be delighted to have you join us for this discussion, either in person (refreshments provided) or virtually via Zoom. I've attached a flyer for more information about the event and the speaker.

To receive the Zoom link, you can use this short Zoom registration form, and a calendar invite will be sent to you with the event details and Zoom information.

Harmonies of Liberty: A Conversation with Tatyana Fazlalideh

A pink silhouette of Harriet Tubman imprinted with the lyrics of Lift Every Voice and Sing. To the right is the event title, Harmonies of LibertyEach year, on March 10, Harriet Tubman Day, we in The Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies sound the call to gather. This year, our theme, “Harmonies of Liberty,” draws from James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Lift every voice and sing,

Till earth and heaven ring,

Ring with harmonies of liberty

To sing no further is to be schooled in a lesson on the importance of joy, community, and care, in the meantime and in-between time—joy as a catalyst for and companion to freedom. To call us together under the idea of “harmonies of liberty” is not an invocation to think the same thing or sing the same note. Time taken to commemorate Harriet Tubman is time spent re-envisioning communities and pathways to justice. We metaphorically draw on Black musical traditions that come alive on the downbeat, subvert the expected meter, and deliberately improvise in order to learn and teach each other how to walk out of time with the world (hostilities) around us. We come together to improvise the solutions we need and find new ways of imagining ourselves.

This year, we think about alternative pathways to justice in conversation with Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. Fazlalizadeh combines visual art and activism as an entry point to consider “how people, particularly women, queer folks, and Black and brown people, experience race and gender within their surrounding environments -- from the sidewalk to retail stores, to the church, to the workplace.” In 2012, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh started her ongoing international series, "Stop Telling Women to Smile." This project serves as a response to street harassment. It consists of a collection of large-scale portraits aiming to reclaim the spaces women and non-binary individuals experience as hostile and unsafe. While the project initially focused on the experiences of harassment that women and non-binary individuals face in the USA, Fazlalizadeh's work has now expanded to other countries, such as Berlin, Canada, France, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago, where she collaborates with local communities to rewrite spaces of harm. Fazlalizadeh’s work travels multiple terrains – including the African American Museum of History and Culture, serving as the Public Artist in Residence for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, as well as her artistic collaboration with Spike Lee on his Netflix Series, “She’s Gotta Have It.”

We will be joined by Ms. Ernestine “Tina” Wyatt, who will open the evening’s proceedings by bringing remarks on behalf of the Tubman family. This event begins at 3:00 p.m. in the Edward St. John Teaching and Learning Center, The University of Maryland, College Park, Room 1309, and online. In-person and online registration required. While at UMD, Fazlalizadeh will hold a workshop for student artists and activists, followed by her keynote.


Also known as “The Black National Anthem,” the poem/song was written at the turn of the twentieth century (1900) and scored by Weldon Johnson’s brother, John Rosamond Johnson.

Learn more here.

Book Conversation: Turn the World Upside Down

Book Conversation- Dr. Imani Owens  (2).pngTurn the World Upside Down explores how Black writers and performers reimagined folk forms through the lens of the unruly—that which cannot be easily governed, disciplined, or managed. Drawing on a transnational and multilingual archive—from Harlem to Havana, from the Panama Canal Zone to Port-au-Prince—Owens considers the short stories of Eric Walrond and Jean Toomer; the ethnographies of Zora Neale Hurston and Jean Price-Mars; the recited poetry of Langston Hughes, Nicolás Guillén, and Eusebia Cosme; and the essays, dance work, and radio plays of Sylvia Wynter. Owens shows how these figures depict folk culture—and Blackness itself—as a site of disruption, ambiguity, and flux. Their works reveal how Black people contribute to the stirrings of modernity while being excluded from its promises. Ultimately, these works do not seek to render folk culture more knowable or worthy of assimilation, but instead provide new forms of radical world-making.   

FULL: A Conversation on Black Girlhood, Fatness, Beauty and Becoming

Graphic with event title and informationThe Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park is delighted to announce the 2024 Savneet Talwar Lecture, "FULL: A Conversation on Black Girlhood, Fatness, Beauty and Becoming" featuring Dr. Mecca Jamilah Sullivan of Georgetown University and Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson of the University of Maryland.

Dr. Mecca Jamilah Sullivan is an associate professor of English at Georgetown University and author of Big Girl—a novel praised by The New York Times as an "achingly beautiful coming-of-age debut" and by Publisher's Weekly as "a treasure."

Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson is professor and chair of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and author of Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America, winner of the James Beard Foundation Award.

The event will take place on Thursday, February 29 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ulrich Recital Hall in Tawes Hall. All are welcome.

Learn more here.

Black Monologues

Black MonologuesThe Black Monologues are designed to give students, staff and faculty an opportunity to share their stories through the performance of spoken word poetry, monologues and poetry reading. The program will give audience members an opportunity to enjoy a night of poetry, community, food and relaxation while also stimulating important dialogue surrounding identity and the Black experience.

For more information.

Queerness in Haitian Vodou

Flyer promotingEziaku Nwokocha is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Miami. She is a scholar of Africana religions with expertise in the ethnographic study of Vodou in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Her research is grounded in gender and sexuality studies, visual and material culture and Africana Studies. She obtained a Ph.D. with distinction in Africana studies from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s degree in Africana studies from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s degree in Theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Bachelor’s degree in Black studies and Feminist studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Nwokocha is the author of Vodou en Vogue: Fashioning Black Divinities in Haiti and the United States (University of North Carolina Press, 2023), an ethnographic study of fashion, spirit possession, and gender and sexuality in contemporary Haitian Vodou, exploring Black religious communities through their innovative ceremonial practices. The book is featured within the series Where Religion Lives.

Nwokocha is currently working on her second book project which is tentatively entitled: “‘Tell My Spirit’: Black Queer Women in Haitian Vodou,” which investigates Black queer women’s interactions with Haitian Vodou divinities, their performance of ritual work, and their formation of religious communities in multiple locations including Montréal, Canada; Miami, Florida; Havana, Cuba; Paris, France; Brooklyn, New York, and Northern California. She pays particular attention to spiritual possession, which serves as a site for subversive ritual performances that contest dominant national and regional discourses on sexuality, gender, and race.

Learn more and register.

Webinar: Visions of Black Liberation

College of Education Benjamin Professor Candace Moore presents "Visions of Black Liberation." This webinar highlights the importance of shifting a perspective on equity and inclusion to Black liberation in antiracism work through an international lens. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the complexities in implementing antiracism focused curriculum, programs, and services in education (primary, secondary and tertiary education) and the lessons learned in centering Black liberation in antiracist applications.

Learn more and register.

The 1st Annual UMD ATLAS Conference


Conference Program now available here.

The inaugural UMD ATLAS Conference will be held on the UMD campus on Tuesday, February 27, 2024. Join us for engaging panel presentations and discussions highlighting UMD faculty-led research related to Africa, the African diaspora, and African American studies.

Dr. Orisanmi Burton, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at American University and author of Tip of the Spear: Black Radicalism, Prison Repression, and the Long Attica Revolt, will be our inaugural Keynote Speaker.

The conference will be held at H.J. Patterson, rooms 2124 and 2130, and will also be available via Zoom for online attendees. Online attendees must register to receive a Zoom link. 

We ask all conference attendees to register whether they are attending a portion of the event or the full day. The conference is free to attend and open to all. Registration will remain open for all sessions for both in-person and virtual attendees and we will be registering people at the door as well, although lunch space is limited and not guaranteed.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Learn more and register.

The Road to Black Power: Film Screening

Lowndes County and The Road to Black PowerThe Frederick Douglass Center for Leadership Through the Humanities and the Department of African American and Africana Studies present a special screening of Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power, a documentary that tells the story of the local movement and young Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizers who fought not just for voting rights, but for Black Power, in Lowndes County, Alabama, a rural, impoverished town with a vicious history of racist terrorism.

The event will include a Q&A with three SNCC veteran organizers (Judy Richardson, Courtland Cox, Jennifer Lawson) and two UMD graduate students (Jessica Rucker from American Studies and Amber Jonson from Education) and is open to the community.

Breakfast will begin at 10 a.m. and lunch will be provided.

Learn more and register.