'Black Students and the Creation of Black Studies'

Tiffany Patterson, Vanderbilt University associate professor of African American and diaspora studies, and history, and director of undergraduate studies in African and African diaspora studies, will give the Luther College spring convocation address at 9:40 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Center for Faith and Life in the Main Hall on the Luther College campus.

Patterson's visit is part of the 50th anniversary of the Black Student Union. Her lecture, "Black Students and the Creation of Black Studies" is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Patterson was a part of the Luther community as a chairperson for the African and African American Studies Department from 1982 to 1984. While in the position, she worked to change the name of the department from Black Studies to African and African American Studies and fought to add courses such as comparative literature of African peoples, African political economy, social and political history of African American women and many others.

As part of her work to conceptualize diaspora, Patterson wrote "Diaspora and Beyond: The Promise and Limitations of Black Transnational Studies in the United States" which was published as an article in the French book, "Les diasporas dans le monde contemporain Un état des lieux." Patterson has also published "Zora Neale Hurston and a History of Southern Life," a study of early 20th century black communities set within the history of all-black towns, maroon societies as well as nationalist traditions.

Along with these accomplishments, she serves as associate editor of the series "Black Women in United States History" and co-authored "The Conundrum of Geography, or Diaspora Studies in Europe" which was in "Black Europe and the African Diaspora." Currently, she is working on a new book, called "Heart in Darkness: Zora Neale Hurston in Haiti."

The spring convocation is a part of the 50-year commemoration of the 1968 founding of the Luther College Black Student Union by a group of students looking for a space where they could celebrate their culture, accomplishments and share in their struggles. The yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of this organization formally commenced during Luther's homecoming on the weekend of Oct. 26. It will continue with a yearlong calendar of lectures, speakers and other events to celebrate BSU's 50th anniversary. More information about these upcoming events is available at https://www.luther.edu/alumni/events/bsu/.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.