Africana majors and faculty are inducted into the Sankofa Society, held at the Spencer-Weinstein Center, February 27, 2018, Courtesy of Dr. Devyn Benson.
Authored by Oge Ibida ’21 in “Black Faculty and Imagining Black Studies“
last updated 02.09.2021
This is the final photograph that brings the photographic archival project to a full circle and addresses aesthetics of Africana. I plan to compare the conversation with the 2018 Sankofa Society induction because it reveals the current state of the department. In this project, it is important to authentically depict how Africana Studies has changed in a span of a year as well as bring in my experience as a senior, Africana major.
In this photo, there are a lot of gaps between folks which reveals the disconnect and lack of community within. A year ago, there were a lot more students inducted into the society, however, now there is a small number of inductees. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of underclassmen students in the department. The space of celebration is critical to analyze in this photograph. The 2018 Sankofa Induction was held in the Multicultural House which created an intimate atmosphere for the Africana community while the 2019 Induction was held in Union. Having the induction in Union is a powerful statement that reminds Davidson College that Africana exists and is an integral part of bringing cultural and social awareness on campus. The space also includes a stage that highlights the importance and relevance of the ceremony for the department. Unlike the multicultural house, there is no protective barrier that protects the community, which means we are susceptible to outside influence in Union. Furthermore, the stage is what is supporting as and elevating us in the 900 Room. Although the stage can symbolize stability, the larger question becomes: What are the conditions that ensure the stability of Africana? Who is really supporting the Africana Studies Department? How has Davidson shown its institutional support for the students and faculty?