Call for papers at Guyana Folk Festival symposium in New York
Stabroek News
May 11, 2004

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The Guyana Folk Festival 2004 symposium is scheduled for September 4 in New York at the Ethnocenter, Columbia University and interested participants should register with a provisional topic by May 30.

The 2004 symposium planning team, in collaboration with the Ethnocenter at Columbia University, New York; eCaroh Caribbean Emporium, Boston; and Ohio University's Department of African-American Studies, are inviting participants to the symposium - Guyanese Words: Written, Spoken, Sung, and Drawn.

Abstracts should not exceed 300 words and must be submitted by June 30. The abstracts should be sent in electronic form or hard copy to Dr. Vibert C. Cambridge, via or Department of African American Studies, Lindley Hall # 302, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701. Telephone: 740-593-9178

Fax: 740-593-0671; web:

In the symposium planning team are Vibert Cambridge, Juliet Emanuel, and Aubrey Bonnett.

Potential topics include but are not limited to ancestral retentions and Guyanese creole languages; the hinterland in Guyanese poetry; Guyanese slang; the role of myths and superstitions in the formation of national identity; Guyanese literary icons; Guyana autobiography and biography; Guyanese writing in the diaspora; Guyanese cartoons and Guyanese consciousness; Guyanese women and the word; and Guyanese songs.

According to a release from Cambridge, words "define us, articulate our aspirations and our disappointments, reflect on our landscape, document our achievements, celebrate our multicultural heritage, and help us envision preferable futures."

The symposium aims to support the thrust of Guyana Folk Festival 2004, which is scheduled for September 3 to 5 in New York. And the Wordsworth McAndrew Awards will take place on May 3, while the Family Day will be held on September 5, the release stated.

The symposium will also seek to identify, discuss and demonstrate the scope of oral and scribal traditions in Guyana during the 20th century, and explore the role of radio in diffusing and promoting Guyanese words.

In addition, the event will facilitate collection of materials for dissemination in the popular Guyana Folk magazine and the academic press; as well as support scholarly research for storage in the Caribbean Collection of the University of Guyana, and immediate use in radio and television programming.

The organizers hope to contribute an appreciation of the history and direction of Guyanese expressive culture, especially the verbal and scribal traditions.

Specifically, the release said, the event will encourage the exploration and celebration of Guyanese oral traditions and spoken word, writing (fiction and non-fiction), songs, and cartoons, and showcase current trends in Guyanese words.