Conference Theme

Liberia: Performing Symbols of the Past, Reinventing Symbols for the Future

Liberian Studies Association 39th Annual Conference

Friday, March 23rd to Sunday, March 25th, 2007
Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

A myriad of symbols—visual, spoken, sung, and enacted—continue to engender a rich communicative pallet for Liberia.
Lone Star
Matilda Newport Day
“The love of liberty brought us here”
Child Soldiers
Blue Helmets
Palm Wine
“The time is now”
(taxi motto)
Elephant Horns
Poro Masks
Masked Performers
Stilt Dancers

Some are indices rich with historic and political meaning; others are associated with a broad range of cultural and aesthetic responses.

Liberians, whether as a nation, as ethnic groups, voluntary associations or individuals, have always employed symbols to interpret their past in light of the present and to envision their future, often drawing upon the past. The Deshield Commission Report (1978) gave serious consideration to possible changes in the national motto, seal, anthem and constitution. Others have addressed the need to revisit Liberia's symbols and find ways to re-fashion them to reflect the true national identity, unity, brotherhood, oneness and reconciliation among all Liberians.

Questions will include:

(1) How have the symbols on which your discipline focuses been interpreted in the past?
(2) What symbols are emerging in the post-conflict period and how are they being enacted?
(3) What symbols might be adopted for the future and how could they be employed?
(4) What symbols have implications for education, curriculum, rehabilitation, reintegration?


(1) Overhead projector, video projector, Windows PC, and CD and tape player will be available for use.
(2) All presenters at LSA39 must be LSA members. International presenters may wait until the conference to register. To become a member, click here: LSA Membership

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