2016 Faculty Speaker: Erasure of Memory and Cultural Invisibility of Africans in India

Date: Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Time: 6:00 - 7:45 PM with an optional dinner to follow at 8:00 PM.

Location: Houston Public Library Downtown. 4th Floor - Program Place.  500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77002

Parking: The library has garage parking available, with an entrance on Lamar Street.  Parking is $2.00 per hour with a $16 maximum per day.  Street parking is also available and is free after 6 PM.

Dinner: Hyatt Hotel - Shula's.  1200 Louisiana Street.  Houston, TX 77002.  Complimentary valet parking for 3 hours.

RSVP: Please RSVP to Terrika Duckett '06 at terrikaduckett@gmail.com with an email titled "2016 Faculty Speaker."  Please also indicate if you will be attending the dinner.

Friends and family are welcome! 

Complimentary light refreshments will be provided prior to the lecture. 

Continue the discussion over dinner at Shula's in the Hyatt Hotel at 8 PM (dinner is optional; guests will pay separately).

Wellesley Club of Houston is pleased to announce that Professor Pashington Obeng, Associate Professor of Africana Studies, will be our honored guest on January 7th, 2016.  Professor Pashington Obeng specializes in Indian Ocean & Transatlantic African Diaspora studies, Anthropology of religion in continental Africa & New World Afro-Atlantic areas, cultural communication focusing on Black filmic representations.


Until the lion has his or her own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story. - African Proverb

The discussion speaks to the heart of the systems of domination, of which classicism, casteism and racism are central.  It explores the importance of shrines, statues, museums, and churches in maintaining memory and legacy in India.  It also explores how Africans in India, variously called Siddis, Cafrees/Khapris, Abyssinians, and Habshis and who have lived there for over 700 years, have contributed to such artifacts and have had their identities and accomplishments silenced or erased.  The presentation provides a new perspective on ways in which the Siddis are resisting the tide of historic and institutional erasure.

Professor Pashington Obeng

Professor Obeng is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon where he earned his B.A. (Hons.) in English Literature and at Trinity College, Legon, where he studied comparative religion. He holds a Ph.D from Boston University specializing in religion and cultural communication. He is also a graduate of Princeton Seminary, New Jersey, where he studied for his masters in theological anthropology and communication.

Professor Obeng has also done postdoctoral studies at the Center for the Study of World Religions and the Afro-American Studies Department both at Harvard University and at St. Antony's College, Oxford University, England. He is the author of Asante Catholicism: Religions and Cultural Reproduction among the Akan of Ghana, published by E.J. Brill in 1996; and Shaping Membership, Defining Nation: The Cultural Politics of African Indians in South Asia. He has also published numerous articles on religion, culture and African Diaspora studies. His present and ongoing work involves researching the cosmologies and life ways of African Indians of Karmataka in South India. He is currently working on two books; one is a study of Africana religions in the United States and the other is a study of elderly women of African descent in India.