Universities Conference: Walter Rodney 25 years later History This Week
By Cecilia McAlmont
Stabroek News
August 4, 2005

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A week today, the conference commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of Walter Rodney's death will open in the Education Lecture Theatre of the University of Guyana. This conference which is jointly sponsored by the University of Guyana and the Faculty of Humanities and Education, St. Augustine, University of the West Indies takes place over a two-day period.

It begins with an opening session on Thursday, August 11 at 9:30 am where the keynote speaker will be Dr. Gordon Rohlehr, Professor of English Literature, St Augustine, and UWI. On Thursday evening, the public is invited to a "Public Session" from 6:30 pm to 9 pm in the auditorium of City Hall that will be focused on "Contemporary Voices."

Presentations will be made by representatives from political parties and the media. Members of the audience will have an opportunity to reflect on their relationships with Rodney in his efforts to revolutionize economic conditions for Guyana's working class and the Guyanese society as a whole.

Walter Rodney needs little introduction to the Guyanese public. His work as an academician, pan Africanist, historian, social scientist and political activist is well known throughout Guyana, and, indeed, the Caribbean and the world. His signature text, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, is classic in its expose of European exploitation of the African continent.

Rodney was unique in his efforts to merge the world of academe with social activism, and he stands out as a beacon in his desire to forge a lasting unity between the Afro and Indo Guyanese.

Although the conference is being held on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Rodney's death, it is really a celebration of his life, work, scholarship and political activism. Focused on the theme, Walter Rodney, twenty-five years later: "Facing the Challenges of history, poverty, underdevelopment and globalization," several panels have been organized around the following sub-themes:

Biography 1 - The Life and Times of Walter Rodney

The Impact of Rodney on Atlantic Historiography and Political Science

Rodney and Politics 1 - Guyana

Rodney and Politics 11 - Tanzania, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean Rodney's Publications: A Critique Rodney's Marxism and Socialism The Caribbean Grassroots The Challenges of Poverty and Underdevelopment The Revolutionary Tradition in Guyana

The Tradition of Activist Scholarship - Theory and Practice Caribbean Integration 25 years later: An assessment of Walter Rodney's Legacy

Additionally, a special panel will explore significant issues related to the current debate on the European Union's proposals for sugar, which could impact negatively on Guyana's economy. That panel is titled, Rodney, Sugar and Globalization.

It is hoped that this conference will help the Guyanese people to rediscover and recommit themselves to his ideology for promoting social, economic and political stability in Guyana.