Tag Archive for Ulysse

Ulysse Delivers “Ted Talk” at University of Michigan

Gina Ulysse delivers a TEDxUofM talk at the University of Michigan's Power Center on April 5. (Photo by Aimée Xia)

Gina Ulysse delivers a TEDxUofM talk at the University of Michigan’s Power Center on April 5. (Photo by Aimée Xia)

Gina Ulysse made a 13-minute presentation during “Untapped,” the fourth annual TEDxUofM ideas convention at the University of Michigan on April 5. Ulysse is associate professor of African American studies, associate professor of anthropology and director of the Center for African American Studies.

Ulysse, a University of Michigan alumna, was one of 20 speakers at the event. More than 1,300 guests attended. Ulysse focused her talk on untapped creativity and why she is turning to performance work at this stage of her life.

“With a broad range of topics ranging from NASA funding, creativity, brain cancer research, philanthropy, a food cart hero, ground-breaking physical therapy, Detroit, teaching philosophy, life outside of prison, Arab stereotypes, gay bashing and bullying, among other things, I certainly can attest to the fact that the event was engaging and thought-provoking,” she said.

While at the conference, Ulysse was inspired by the student-organizers’ “dedication and infectious spirit of openness to ideas and difference.” She wrote about her experience working with the students in this Huffington Post article.

Ulysse to Perform Avant-Garde “Voodoo Doll” Meditation in Brazil, Ghana

Gina Athena Ulysse performs "Voodoo Doll, What if Haiti Were a Woman?" in the Center for the Arts.

Gina Athena Ulysse performs “Voodoo Doll, What if Haiti Were a Woman?” in the Center for the Arts.

Gina Athena Ulysse, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of African-American studies, was invited to perform her avant-garde meditation, “Voodoo Doll, What if Haiti Were a Woman?” at two international conferences in 2013. Ulysse’s piece focuses on coercion and consent inspired by Gede, the Haitian Vodou spirit of life and death. She intersperses the story with Haiti’s geopolitical history, statistics, theory and Vodou chants.

On Jan. 12-19, Ulysse will attend the 8th Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. There, she will join more than 400 artists, performers, scholars and activists who will examine the broad intersections between urban space, performance and political/artistic action in the Americas. The Encuentro is an interdisciplinary academic conference and performance festival that is focused on experimentation, dialogue and collaboration. Learn more at this link.

On May 16-19, Ulysse will participate in an international symposium of women writers from Africa and its diaspora titled “Yari Yari Ntoaso: Continuing the Dialogue.” The symposium will be held in Accra, Ghana, West Africa and include panels, readings, performances and film screenings. “Yari Yari Ntoaso” will be a gathering devoted to the study, criticism and celebration of the creativity and diversity of women writers of African descent. Learn more at this link.

Ulysse performed “Voodoo Doll” at Wesleyan on July 24. For more information see this Wesleyan Connection post.

Vodou Spirit, Haitian Culture in Ulysse’s Meditation Performance

Gina Ulysse, chair and associate professor of African American studies, associate professor anthropology, spoke to Wesleyan students, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows, and area high school students on July 24 in the Center for the Arts. Ulysse, who also is a poet, performance and multi-media artist, performed her avant-garde meditation, “Voodoo Doll, What if Haiti Were a Woman: On ti Travay sou 21 Pwen or An Alter(ed)native in Something Other than Fiction.” The piece focused on coercion and consent inspired by Gede, the Haitian Vodou spirit of life and death. She interspersed Haiti’s geopolitical history, statistics, theory and Vodou chants.

Ulysse spoke with many students after her performance.

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Ernst Pierre and Henrico Joseph listen to Ulysse’s performance. Like Ulysse, Pierre was born in Haiti.

CAAS Hosts First Book Series Featuring Scholar-Authors

The Center for African-American Studies (CAAS) is hosting a First Book series during the Fall 2011 semester. The series features trailblazing junior scholar-authors whose projects are and will make significant contributions to the field of African-American Studies.

Gina Athena Ulysse, the new director of the Center for African American Studies, associate professor of African American Studies, associate professor of anthropology, created the series as the main initiative of her directorship to coincide with the AFAM junior colloquium that she is teaching.

Ulysse’s interests and concerns were to economically achieve three goals: 1) give AFAM incoming majors the opportunity to engage directly with scholars who are impacting the field of study; 2) revive CAAS’s old tradition of excellent programming; and 3) expose the broader Wesleyan and Middletown community to works and projects that are not only adding new knowledge to African-American Studies but are doing so in original and nuanced ways. “In recent years, there have been so many developments in the field that ask us to rethink historiography, seriously engage with queer studies and unpack both the racialization and geopolitics of religions, criminality and consumer cultures within the U.S. and broader black diaspora. The projects selected to inaugurate the series specifically reflect on these intersections,” Ulysse says. “I was also adamant that the series includes a Wes alumna whom we would bring back to celebrate her achievement. We have a solid line up!”

Book by Kate Ramsey.

On Oct. 4, Jafari Sinclaire Allen, assistant professor of anthropology and African-American studies at Yale University, will speak about his book, iVenceremos? The Erotics of Black Self-Making in Cuba (Duke University Press 2011). In Venceremos, Allen marshals a combination of historical, literary, and cultural analysis– most centrally, ethnographic rendering of the everyday experiences and reflections of Black Cubans to show how Black men and women strategically deploy, re-interpret, transgress and potentially transform racialized and sexualized interpellations of their identities, through “erotic self-making.” Venceremos argues that mutually constituting scenes in Havana and Santiago de Cuba– like semi-private, extra-legal parties of men who have sex with men; HIV education activism; lesbian performance and incipient organizing of women who have sex with women; hip-hop and la monia (US R&B/soul music) parties and concerts; sex labor; cigar “hustling” and informal Black consciousness raising networks– represent a gravid space for becoming new revolutionary men and women, with new racial, gender and sexual subjectivities.

On Oct. 18, Kate Ramsey, assistant professor of history at the University of Miami, will speak about her book, The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti (University of Chicago Press 2011). Vodou has often served as a scapegoat for Haiti’s problems, from political upheavals to natural disasters. This tradition of scapegoating stretches back to the nation’s founding and forms part of a contest over the legitimacy of the religion, both beyond and within Haiti’s borders. The Spirits and the Law examines that vexed history, asking why, from 1835 to 1987, Haiti banned many popular ritual practices.

Book by Khalil Gibran Mohammed.

On Nov. 8, Khalil Gibran Mohammed, the new director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, N.Y., will speak on The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Harvard University Press 2010). In Condemnation, Mohammed writes about ways black criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America, as were African Americans’ own ideas about race and crime. Chronicling the emergence of deeply embedded notions of black people as a dangerous race of criminals by explicit contrast to working-class whites and European immigrants, this fascinating book reveals the influence such ideas have had on urban development and social policies. Read more about Mohammed in this New York Times article.

On Nov. 29, anthropology major Oneka LaBennett ’94, assistant professor of African and African American studies at Fordham University, will speak about her book, She’s Mad Real: Popular Culture and West Indian Girls in Brooklyn (New York University Press 2011). In She’s Mad Real, LaBennett draws on more than a decade of researching teenage West Indian girls in the Flatbush and Crown Heights sections of Brooklyn to argue that Black youth are strategic consumers of popular culture and through this consumption they assert far more agency in defining race, ethnicity and gender than academic and popular discourses tend to acknowledge. Importantly, LaBennett also studies West Indian girls’ consumer and leisure culture within public spaces in order to analyze how teens like China are marginalized and policed as they attempt to carve out places for themselves within New York’s contested terrains.

For more information about the series visit the African American Studies Program web site online here.

Post Quake Haiti Topic of Panel Discussion



Gina Ulysse introduces a panel discussion on “One Year later: Assessing Disaster and Community in Post Quake Haiti” Feb. 9 in Usdan University Center. Ulysse is associate professor of African American Studies, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies.