Orange Alert

AAS to Host Symposium to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God Oct. 17

Daylong event free and open to the public

Sept. 23, 2014, by Sarah Scalese

Arrow of God Book Cover
Arrow of God Book Cover

The Department of African American Studies (AAS) in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences will host a symposium in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Chinua Achebe’s landmark book Arrow of God. The event, which is free and open to the public, is one of many such celebrations taking place around the world, honoring the late Nigerian author. The symposium is Friday, October 17, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Syracuse (701 East Genesee St.).  

The symposium is co-convened by Meredith Professor Micere Githae Mugo and Associate Professor Herb Ruffin, both in AAS. For more information, please contact the Department of African American Studies at (315) 443-4302 or You can also visit the symposium’s website at

“The symposium will celebrate the achievements of one of the most important African writers of the last hundred years. Achebe’s writing has had a significant impact on not only African and African American studies, but also on literature, as a whole,” Mugo says.

Also known for books such as Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, and A Man of the People, Achebe made substantial contributions to the field of African literature, before his death in 2013. Arrow of God, his third novel, discusses the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria and their resistance against British colonialism which sought to use Western education and Christianity to destroy their culture. The symposium will honor Achebe as an icon of world literature.  

Presenting the keynote address is Biodum Jeyifo, professor of African American studies and comparative literature at Harvard University. The symposium will also include a series of roundtable discussions featuring scholars from institutions such as Central Michigan University, Cornell University, the London Metropolitan University Research Institute, and Princeton University, among many others. 

“The event is a celebration of a novelist whose influence spanned the entire world,” Ruffin adds. “We have an impressive list of academics from around the world participating and I hope attendees will take advantage of the opportunity to hear such worldly scholars discuss Achebe’s global impact.”

Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, AAS is an interdisciplinary program with a rich history of study, research, and community involvement. The department offers a major and minor track, as well as a variety of courses on culture, history, politics and literature, pertaining to and affecting African Americans.

Media Contact

Sarah Scalese