November 03, 2009

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Updated Nov. 10, 2009

By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University will host the academic conference, "In Media Res: Gender, Race and Popular Culture," Nov. 13 and 14.

"This conference is a series of programs and events exploring emerging scholarship on race, gender, class, media and popular culture," said Jessica Hess, director of Multicultural Student Services at Bucknell.

"'In Media Res' is a play on the Latin phrase 'in medias res,' which is loosely defined/translated as 'in the middle of things or affairs.' It's a literary term that describes the technique that authors and poets use to pull readers into the narrative by beginning the story in the midst of the narrative arc.

"We're looking forward to hearing from a lot of very interesting people," she said, "including Princeton professor Imani Perry, activist/poet Suheir Hammad, actor and Bucknell graduate Gbenga Akinnagbe and activist/author Martha Diaz."

Two events scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13, are open to the public:

Imani Perry, author of Prophets of the Hood and professor of Africana studies at Princeton University, will give a keynote talk at 4 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center.

A graduate of Yale College, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Law School, Perry has taught at Georgetown Law Center, Harvard College and Suffolk University. Her scholarly work is in the areas of race, legal history and culture.

Poet and activist Suheir Hammad will read from her award-winning book Breaking Poems at 6 p.m. in the Smith Library of the Vaughan Literature Building. Called "a new voice with an authentic blend of language that's her own, and music that belongs to the streets" (Elmaz Abinader, author of Children of the Roojme), Hammad appeared on the debut episode of HBO's Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry. Her work has been published in numerous periodicals and in anthologies and has been featured on the BBC World Service and National Public Radio. She has appeared at universities and prisons throughout the United States.

The conference continues on Saturday, Nov. 14, with academic symposia and panels, culminating with the final session at 3:30 p.m. in Trout Auditorium.

The final panel will include educator and activist Martha Diaz, former BETJ talk show host and activist April Silver, and Gbenga Akinnagbe, who graduated from Bucknell in 2000 and starred in HBO's "The Wire."

Martha DiazAn educator, organizer and filmmaker, Martha Diaz is the president of The Hip-Hop Association and producer of the H2O International Film Festival and Hip-Hop Education Summit.

A graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with degrees in communications and TV and film production, she is a New York Teaching Fellow and a master's degree candidate in literacy at the City College of New York.



April SilverA social entrepreneur and editor of the critically acclaimed anthology Be A Father to Your Child: Real Talk from Black Men on Family, Love, and Fatherhood, April Silver heads the communications agency Akila Worksongs.

A graduate of Howard University where she co-led the historic protest of 1989, she also co-founded the country's first hip hop conference (which birthed the hip hop education movement).

Her writings have been published by New York Daily News,, and other outlets.

Gbenga AkinnagbeGbenga Akinnagbe's first role at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., led to several roles in various productions at the Kennedy Theater and Shakespeare in the Park.

In addition to his role as Chris Partlow in "The Wire," he played Yinka in "Barbershop: The Series" and appeared in "The Savages" with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney. His most recent movie role is in the remake of "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3."

For more information about the conference, visit In Media Res.

Contact: Division of Communications