Guest Lecture: "Back to Africa" by Jelani Hamm

Back to Africa: Performing the Dialectic of Belonging and Un-Belonging in “Post-Racial America”

For thirty years, Dr. Hamm has brought his diverse performing arts background as an actor and musician to create an innovative approach to public education and transformational pedagogy.   Fascinated with cultural identity in the context of power relationships, Dr. Hamm has traveled extensively to more than 30 countries, mostly in Europe and Africa.  He has studied the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Transformation, particularly in “sites of memory” such as Gorée Island in Senegal and memorial sites in other West African countries.  His work, which explores the performance of the dialectics of belonging and un-belonging for African American tourists who travel to Gorée Island, is theoretically grounded in the fields of Critical Race Theory, African American and African Ethnomusicology, and Performance Studies, while heavily employing ethnography and personal narrative.
Dr. Hamm has specialized in educating “at risk” youth and children with special needs.  Further, he has led the push for the development and implementation of social justice in elementary school curricula on the West Coast.  Hamm has directed curriculum development training for U.S. teachers as a Fulbright scholar in Morocco for the Department of Education, and has facilitated projects with Los Angeles’ Center for the Advancement of Nonviolence in Los Angeles, while also working with community-based projects that investigate race relations in Los Angeles.
A Georgia native, Dr. Hamm completed his Ph.D. at UCLA from the Department of World Arts and Culture/Dance, earned an M.F.A. in Film Producing from UCLA and an M.A. in Theater from California State University-Los Angeles, and completed his Bachelors of Music degree from the University of the Pacific.  



IAC Library