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UCLA professor to speak on origins
of rice cultivation in the Americas

Aug. 24, 2006 -- Dr. Judith Carney will speak on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro for a lecture titled “Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas.”

A professor of geography at the University of California at Los Angeles, Dr. Carney will speak at 7 p.m. in the ASU Student Union Auditorium, Tuesday, Sept. 12. As the third annual Corinne Sternheimer Greenfield Lecture, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences is presenting Dr. Carney’s talk, which is also part of the annual Lecture~Concert Series.

Dr. Carney is widely considered an expert on the history of rice cultivation, a subject closely tied to this region of the South.

The lecture draws its title from her book, “Black Rice,” which was published in 2001 by Harvard University Press. Black Rice was honored with the Melville J. Herkovits Award for overall excellence from the African Studies Association and the James M. Blaut Award for innovative research from the Association of American Geographers.

During her graduate training at the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Carney focused on issues of development, agrarian change, and gender in West Africa. Her current book project is titled “Seeds of Memory: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Black Atlantic.”
In support of her ongoing research, Dr. Carney has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio research residency, and a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.

Her interests lie less in how the rice crop is produced today than with the transfer of its cultivation centuries ago. In the lecture, Dr. Carney will explain how enslaved Africans brought rice from the areas where it grew naturally in West Africa to the southeastern United States and Latin America. This is a story not only about changes in agricultural production and diet, but also about slave resistance, the role of gender, indigenous knowledge, and the Black Atlantic.

Drs. Rosalee and Raymond Weiss of Teaneck, N.J., established the Corinne Sternheimer Greenfield Lecture Series in honor of Rosalee Weiss’ mother, who was born in Jonesboro.

For more details, please contact Dr. Erik Gilbert, Professor of History at ASU, at 870-972-3046.

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