Friday, 26 October 2012

Walter Rodney Symposium

London Metropolitan University & Black History Walks present:  

Dr Walter Rodney Symposium: How Europe Underdevelops Africa.
Saturday 3rd November 10-30-5.00pm

To mark Black History Month this symposium will provide an overview of the analysis by Dr Walter Rodney in his book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, (1972). The aim is to acknowledge the contribution made by Dr Rodney in contextualising the deliberate strategies of underdevelopment of Africa by Europe during the colonial and postcolonial periods. It will revisit his work in relation to Africa’s social and economic position today and consider the implications of neo-colonialism in the struggle for self-determination and economic independence. Extending his empirical research from 1500 – 1960s, Rodney argues that Africa’s underdevelopment and the exploitation of its resources is the direct consequence of Western Europe’s imperialistic policies. Rodney claims that our understanding of development, as related to Western Europe’s accelerated advancements under capitalism, provides the bases for our understanding of underdevelopment. The two must be compared, not just by economic factors but by a look at social indicators such as life-expectancy, levels of diseases, malnutrition and illiteracy.

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa is highly praised and influential in the field of development studies and African History. Rodney is critical of the term “developing” which implies linear and probable advancement. The term “Underdevelopment” holds that this situation exists as a “paradox” despite such countries being naturally rich. This means that they are made deliberately poor - underdeveloped - through the exploitative mechanisms of capitalist economies. There will be a screening of W.A.R Stories a film by Clairmont Chung based on his life as a world renowned African Historian, political activist and scholar. A well-travelled pan-Africanist, Rodney’s oratorical skills advocated the cause of the working peoples of his native Guyana. This “grounding” with ordinary people for whom he sought justice and equal rights posed a challenge to the Burnham regime, eventually leading to his assassination.

During the Black History period it gives members of the community the chance to participate in a debate on the history and future development of Africa. London Met Students, Staff, Alumni and prospective students will benefit from the chance to engage in an open discussion of this influential work and the documentary of Walter Rodney’s life at the height of his political career up to his assassination in 1980. It offers another opportunity for London Met to collaborate with Black History Walks in projects that support the community and academic enhancement.

Presentations by leading African/Caribbean Historians:
Professor Clem Seecharan of London Met: 'The making of Rodney's HEUA, with special reference to its Caribbean underpinnings,' looking at the making of HEUA and locating the origins of some of its themes.
Dr Kimani Nehusi: focusing on education, culture and socialization and how the coloniser destroys and distorts those of the colonised.
Dr Ama Biney: “How Europe Continues to Underdevelop Africa,” will look at the contemporary forms of the subjugation of Africa on the political, economic, military, cultural, environmental levels Dr Michelle Asantewa of London Met will be co-hosting the event with Tony Warner of Black History Walks.
Extended discussions both presentation of HEUA and screening of War are intended to be solutions focussed. Cost: £5 (Free for London Met students, staff & Alumni) Refreshments & lunch provided.
Date: 3rd November 2012

 Registration 10.30am for 11.00am start end 5.00pm, 166-220 Holloway Road, Room TM237 PLEASE NOTE: You will have to use the ROCKET ENTRANCE as the Tower is closed for maintenance. Follow the directions to the room. The Rocket is located on the same side as the Main entrance about a minute’s walk away.

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