With more than 800,000 inhabitants, Indianapolis is the capital city of Indiana and is the 13th largest city in the United States. After canvassing the globe, The New York Times selected Indianapolis as One of 52 Places to Visit in 2014.  It is truly a cosmopolitan city with 250+ restaurants for all palates and price points, 35+ hotels, hundreds of retail shops, an urban mall, and world-class museums. There are several African and Caribbean restaurants that serve delicious cuisine.   Indianapolis is also the home of the Pacers, the Colts, the Indy Eleven Professional Soccer team and the Indianapolis 500. 

Indianapolis contains six thriving and distinct Cultural Districts, each offering an eclectic mix of shopping, dining and entertainment. The city’s newest amenity, the Cultural Trail, is a bicycle and pedestrian path that winds through downtown connecting visitors with these unique neighborhoods. Indianapolis also recently put in place the largest all-electric car system in the United States. Taxis are readily available and visitors can use the uber and lyft services by making reservations on their mobile phones at Uber or Lyft

The J.W. Marriott Hotel, the main venue for the conference this year, is a   beautiful hotel that is connected via an enclosed walkway to the Indiana Convention Center. It has more than 1000 hotel rooms and is strategically located across the street from the Eiteljorg, the Indianapolis Zoo and the Indiana State Museum. Conference attendees will find that Indianapolis is a very family-friendly city and families and children are welcome to participate in a variety of venues that the city has to offer. There is a wonderful Children’s Museum located on North Illinois Avenue, which is three miles north of downtown. There are also several centers of African and African American life located a few blocks north of the Marriott Hotel, including the Madame C.J. Walker Theatre Center and the African American Museum at the Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School.

Because of Indianapolis’ location in the heart of the Midwest region of the United States, it can easily be reached by plane or car and is within driving distance of a number of nationally recognized African and African American Studies centers/departments in neighboring states.  It is also possible to reach Indianapolis by Greyhound, Amtrak, or the Mega Bus.  We encourage you to examine the great rates that Frontier Airline has to offer for round trip travel to Indianapolis from various cities in the United States.   The Indianapolis airport is in close proximity to the downtown area with various options for getting to the conference hotel, including the Go Green Shuttle.  This shuttle departs from zone 7 at the airport to downtown Indianapolis every hour and half hour between 8 A.M. and 11 P.M. seven days a week.   The cost of shuttle tickets is $10.00 each way and can be purchased online, at the airport Go Express Travel booth, or by calling 1-800-589-6004 to make a reservation.  It is also possible to make a reservation by visiting their website at Go Express Travel Shuttles. The average cost of a taxi from the airport to the hotel is $35.00 when traveling alone.  Discount coupons to a number of venues in the city can be downloaded by visiting Visit Indy and printed in advance of travel by clicking on “deals”. We will also have some of the discount coupons at the LAC Exhibit Booth that will be located in the Exhibit Hall of the Marriott Hotel. 

The Local Arrangements Committee has submitted 8 panels/roundtables under its sponsorship. They include: 

  • Rethinking Violence in the African Diaspora: City of Indianapolis as Case in Point
  • The Political, Social, and Cultural History of the Emergence of HIV/AIDS in Africa
  • Economic Development, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainable Development in Africa
  • HUDDLE – Helping Us Do, Dream, Live, Evolve in the Age of Obama
  • African American Restoration Movement – Building Black Bridges
  • Hidden Colors
  • Black Egypt – Ancient Black African Glory
  • African Studies for African Children

 The dates and times of these panels and roundtables will appear in the preliminary and final program material of the ASA. 

The Local Arrangements Committee has planned a number of exciting events for your enjoyment as listed below:

1. Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2:00-5:00 PM   Indianapolis African American Cultural Heritage Tour

  • A tour of some of the exciting venues and centers of African and African American life in Indianapolis, will take place from 2:00-5:00 P.M. Some of the venues included on the tour are the Bethel A.M.E Church, the Historic Madame C.J. Walker Theatre Center,  The African American Museum at the Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, the Kuaba Gallery, and more.   
  • This tour will end with a wine tasting opportunity at the Easley Winery. See link below for a sample short video clip of sites that the tour bus will visit.   
  • Things to See and Do in Indianapolis 
  • Participants will receive an information bag and a door prize ticket.  
  • The tour bus will depart the hotel at 1:40 P.M. and will return to the hotel by 5:00 P.M. The cost of the tour is $45.00 per person. If you are interested in participating in the tour, we will provide you with an opportunity to register and pay the fee for the tour in advance on the ASA website by August 25, 2014 to guarantee your seat on the bus. You may pay using your credit card via PayPal.

4:00 P.M. Tour of the African Galleries at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

  • A special docent led tour of the African Galleries at the Indianapolis Museum of Art will take place at 4:00 P.M. This art collection, which is part of the Eiteljorg Suite of African and Oceanic Art, features more than 400 objects. Admission to the Indianapolis Museum of Art is free. Members may take the INDYGO local bus number 38 Lafayette Square or a taxi from the J.W. Marriott is about $15.00. Transportation may also be provided by the LAC continent on the number of people who sign up in advance. Please, register by August 25, 2014 on the ASA website if you are interested in participating in this event.        

6:00-8:00 P.M.  Private Welcome Reception for Officers of the African Studies Association, Board Members, and Members of the ASA Secretariat  

  • A private welcome reception will be held from 6:00 PM. to 8:00 PM. at the Jewel Center that is located at 3333 North Illinois Avenue for officers of the African Studies Association, board members, members of the ASA Secretariat, members of the Local Arrangements Committee, and special guests. 
  • A shuttle bus will be provided to ASA guests that will depart the hotel at 5:45 PM. 
  • We encourage attendees to wear African attire and Afro-Caribbean cuisine will be served

2. Thursday, November 20, 2014

7:30 P.M. Official Opening Ceremony and Welcome Reception

  • This year, the Official Opening Ceremony and Welcome Reception will have a more formal feel to it. It will take place in the Marriott Ballroom.
  • Our theme for the opening ceremony and welcome reception this year is “Africa Comes to Indianapolis.” All aspects of our program will connect to that major theme.  
  • We encourage you to wear your African attire to this event and we will provide African cuisine and a wonderful evening of entertainment and music. 
  • Please plan to arrive at 7:30 PM. and proceed through the buffet lines and to the cash bar to get your refreshments and drinks. Raffle prizes will be given to the first five people to come to the reception. 
  • Seats will be provided and our formal program will begin promptly at 8:00 PM. We have invited several important political dignitaries and administrators to offer a formal welcome and we would like for everyone to be seated at that time.
  • You will have an opportunity to meet the members of the Local Arrangements Committee in addition to networking with the attendees of the event.

3. Friday, November 21, 2014

5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Local Tour to Conner Prairie:  Follow the North Star which is a re-enactment of what is was like to be on the Underground Railroad 

  • We are planning to provide a tour bus to take interested conference attendees to Conner Prairie, outside the city of Indianapolis, on Friday afternoon from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 PM to participate in the reenactment of what it was like to be a part of the Underground Railroad.  
  • The cost of the ticket for this tour is $40.00 per person.  You will need to sign up and pay in advance on the ASA website by August 25, 2014. 
  • The bus will depart from the Hotel at 5:00 P.M and return at 9:00 P.M.
  • Click Follow The North Star to see what to expect.
  • You are advised to wear warm clothing, particularly a coat and sturdy walking shoes as you will be walking outside for much of the time.   You are welcome to bring along a bag lunch and something to drink. 

 4. Saturday, November 22, 2014 

10:00 P.M. to 12:00 A.M.  Dance Party 

  • The dance party will take place in the Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel from 10:00 P.M. to 12:00 A.M., immediately following the awards ceremony. 
  • We encourage you to come out for a wonderful and relaxing evening.   

5. Sunday, November 23, 2014

7:00 A.M.  “All Faiths” Breakfast

  • We are planning to have an “All-Faiths” breakfast for Muslim, Christian, and Jewish conference participants who wish to attend. The breakfast will be held in the hotel and will be hosted by some of the local ecumenical organizations. The cost of the breakfast ticket is 20.00 per person. Please sign up and pay for this event in advance on the ASA website by August 25, 2014, if you wish to participate in this event. 
  • In light of this year’s ASA conference theme,   “Rethinking Violence, Reconstruction and Reconciliation,” we will have prayers for the attainment of peace and reconciliation in African countries and around the world. 

Noon: Special Exhibition Soccer Match

  • We are working with the Indy 11 Professional Soccer Team and the African Students Organization (ASO) to determine if they would be able to play an exhibition soccer match in honor of the African Studies Association annual meeting. 
  • Since soccer is such a popular sport in Africa and many of the conference attendees played while they were in school, this would be a pleasurable activity to round off the 2014 ASA annual meeting.
  • Click here for Indy Eleven vs Kansas City Game Highlights
  • If you are interested in attending, do please sign up on the ASA website by August 24, 2014.  A shuttle bus will provide transport from the hotel to the soccer field and back to the hotel.
  • We will begin to load the shuttle buses to the soccer field at 11:00 A.M. and will return attendees to the hotel once the game is over. 

We will keep a first aid kit on hand at the LAC Exhibit Booth as well as information on how to get to the nearest hospital.  There will also be discount coupons for restaurants and museums in the city. We will also provide information to you on local babysitting services, should you need them. Members of the LAC will be wearing a badge to confirm that they are representing the African Studies Association Local Arrangements Committee.  

We will be providing periodic updates on LAC planned events over the next few months. Please let us know if you have any questions as the annual meeting approaches.  We look forward to seeing you in Indianapolis, a vibrant city located at the crossroads of America.

Sincerely Yours


Bessie House-Soremekun,  Ph.D. 
Director of Africana Studies and Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies 
Founding Executive Director, Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis 

Maria Grosz-Ngate, Ph.D.
Associate Director, African Studies Program 
Indiana University, Bloomington

  {jcomments on}