The sixth edition of the International Conference on Afro-Hispanic, Luso-Brazilian, and Latin American Studies (ICALLAS) was a resounding success, affirms Dr. Komla Aggor, co-director of the conference. Some forty presenters were in attendance, from Austria, Brazil, Canada, Ghana, Germany, Nigeria, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States. Also present were the ambassadors of Spain and Brazil in Accra, the Deputy Head of the Brazilian Embassy, and the Head of Consular, Economic and Cultural Affairs of the Mexican Embassy.
Inaugurated in 2007, this conference proposes to build and sustain a dialogue among the various disciplines engaged in the study of issues related to Africa and the peoples of African ancestry in Brazil and the Spanish-speaking world. It provides a framework for cross-disciplinary interactions and offers a forum for scholars from diverse fields of study related to the Afro-Hispanic world to share their research and scholarly endeavors. Whereas past ICALLAS conferences did focus on these two broad areas, French-speaking Caribbean communities are now being included in order to present a wider and more inclusive geographic representation within the framework of African descent. The rationale for choosing the site of this bi-annual conference has not changed. Most of the slaves that were transported to the Americas came from the western part of Africa. Consequently, a historical connection exists between Ghana and the daughters and sons of Africa who ended up on the shores of the Caribbean and other slave ports in the Americas. The slave forts of Cape Coast and Elmina have, therefore, become key destinations for many from across the world. Since Ghana’s political independence over sixty years ago, it has played a leading role in advocating for peace and freedom on the African continent. Holding this event in Ghana has been a way of recognizing the importance of this country within the annals of world history and its current position as a genuine democratic nation in Africa. Furthermore, since its establishment, the School of Languages at the University of Ghana has been at the forefront in the promotion of Hispanic studies on the African continent. The conference continues to honor the efforts of the Spanish Section, which has produced outstanding African Hispanists, who teach in various institutions in North America and Europe.
The conference administration is grateful for the generous support of the following sponsors: From TCU, the departments of Spanish & Hispanic Studies, History, and English; the Office of Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; and The John V. Roach Honors College. From Pennsylvania State University, the Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs, the Division of Arts and Humanities, and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. From the University of Ghana, the Office of the Dean of the School of Languages and the Department of Modern Languages. Thanks also to the Ghanaian Association of Hispanists (GAH). Selected proceedings from the conference will be published in a special volume of Humanities soon. TCU colleagues, prepare to join us in August 2020!