Humanities Institute

2006 - 2007 Cline Visting Professor

Cline Centennial Visiting Professor: Sekou Sundiata

In his most recent work, The America Project, Sundiata contemplates America, its place in the world, and the simultaneous and sometimes competing challenges of being an individual and a citizen. The project has two aspects: a multimedia stage performance entitled The 51st (dream) state, and a series of community activities called The America Project as an Arts, Humanities, and Civic Dialogue. The two components are meant to work in tandem to appeal to the imagination and the intellect, to cause reaction and reflection.

Sundiata and his company of actors, singers, dancers, and instrumentalists presented The 51st (dream) state at UT's Hogg Auditorium on Wednesday evening, February 28, 2007. The 51st (dream) state featured a cycle of songs, poems and monologues, still and moving images projected on multiple surfaces, and filmed dance. The public engagement portion of the project consisted of creative forums and civic interaction, such as "envisioning the future" workshops at participating local educational, community, religious, and business organizations, community forums, poetry circles, citizenship dinners, and a symposium, "A Day of Art and Ideas," to bring together art and civic dialogue around the themes of The 51st (dream) state performance.

Many of these events took place during Sundiata's weeks in residence as the holder of the Cline Centennial Visiting Professorship in the Humanities. The dates of the residency were November 27-31; February 8-18; and the two days following The 51st (dream) state performance—March 1 and 2.

The America Project, Sundiata explained, is "an extension of my work as a Public Artist, and of my interest in defining what it means to be a university-based artist and a citizen." Examining what he calls "a longstanding estrangement between American civic ideals and American civil practice" is vital in today's America. For him, it is "a civic responsibility to think about these things out loud, in the ritualized forum of theater and public dialogue." The Humanities Institute was proud to host Sekou Sundiata, whose poetry, music, and performances have their origins, according to Bill Moyers, "at the headwaters of the soul."

Sundiata Program Flyers

For more information, please contact the Institute at (512) 471-2654 or

  • Humanities Institute

    University of Texas at Austin
    HRC 3.360
    Mailcode F1900
    Austin, Texas 78712