Research Africa: April 21, 2019
In Memoriam: R.S. O’Fahey
The Research Africa community is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of its cofounder, Rex Seán O’Fahey, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Bergen, Norway. An internationally recognized authority on the history of the Sudan and a scholar of Sufism, Dr. O’Fahey died on April 9 in Oslo. O’Fahey obtained his B.A. in African and Middle Eastern history from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), followed by a PhD in 1973, also from SOAS, with a thesis on the history of the Keira Sultanate of Darfur (17th to early 20th centuries). He taught African history for three years at the University of Khartoum and for one year at the University of Edinburgh. In 1972, O’Fahey arrived at the University of Bergen as the first research fellow in non-European history. He remained in Bergen for the rest of his career, becoming Reader and then Professor (in 1985) and helping transform the university into a vital hub for Sudan studies and for the study of the Islamic societies of eastern Africa more generally.
Read more about this scholar here:
Fellowship and Conference Announcements
1. The “Africa Multiple” Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bayreuth (Germany) invites scholars with PhDs working in the field of African studies to apply for African studies fellowships in the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies. Apply here.(Apr. 30).
2. The African Network 2019 Conference: “Decolonizing the Classroom”
Smith College, Northampton Massachusetts- September 27-29, 2019
Africanist teaching and scholarship has long fought to bring African voices to the center of scholarly debate. However, structural inequality and prejudice has also allowed colonial hierarchies within the academy to remain. Following the lead of growing African social movements like #RhodesMustFall, the Africanist community in the West must now grapple with their own traditions of power, privilege and exclusion.
Read the story in this link:
AN 2019 Conference CFP- Decolonizing the Classroom – The Africa Network
“Decolonizing the Classroom”Africa Network’s Biennial ConferenceSmith College, Northampton Massachusetts- September 27-29, 2019. Africanist teaching and scholarship has long fought to bring African voices to the center of scholarly debate. However, structural inequality and prejudice has also allowed colonial hierarchies within the academy to remain.
News and Issues
1. Ghana Must Go: The ugly history of Africa’s most famous bag
By Shola Lawal, April 5, 2019
In 1983, Nigeria expelled two million undocumented West African migrants, half of whom were from Ghana. The sturdy, checked bags into which they packed their belongings have become a symbol of exclusion and intolerance. Nearly four decades later, the region is yet to confront its emotional baggage.
Read the story in this link:
GHANA MUST GO: The ugly history of Africa’s most famous bag – atavist.mg.co.za
In 1983, Nigeria expelled two million undocumented West African migrants, half of whom were from Ghana. The sturdy, checked bags into which they packed their belongings have become a symbol of exclusion and intolerance.
2. Archivists race to digitize slavery records before the history is lost Global Nation
By Rupa Shenoy, April 4, 2019
Abu Koroma is the archivist in training at the National Archives of Sierra Leone, and he’ll remain the archivist in training until one of the two senior professionals retire. “That is how it is done,” he laughed. When Koroma started at the archives in 2004, Sierra Leone was emerging from civil war. He was fresh out of high school and his parents had died, so he desperately needed the small salary. And the archives fascinated Korma; they date back to the first treaty regional leaders made with British colonists in 1788.
Read the story in this link:
Archivists race to digitize slavery records before the history is lost
The era of the trans-Atlantic slavery is documented in archives in former colonies around the world. Now, just as there’s the most potential to use those documents to fill in large gaps in history, some of those archives are at risk of being lost.
3. Protesters in Sudan and Algeria Have Learned From the Arab Spring
By Ismail Kushkush, April 13, 2019
A photograph has been floating around on social media recently featuring six Arab leaders at a summit meeting in 2010, all with red X marks on them. The first four, from left to right, were deposed during the Arab Spring in 2011: Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. The two on the far right—Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir—lasted longer, but it appears their day, too, has come.
Read the story in this link:
Protesters in Sudan and Algeria Have Learned From the Arab Spring
The demonstrations have their own local characteristics, but there are several parallels.
4. The Handwritten Heritage of South Africa’s Kitabs
By Alia Yunis, March 2019
In an orange house along one of the sloped lanes of Bo-Kaap, Cape Town’s Muslim neighborhood, 92-year-old Abdiyah Da Costa deftly climbs the stairs to the second floor to what essentially has become a personal museum. Meticulously dressed and made up—she used to own what she describes as four “high-fashion” clothing shops. Outside her window is a view of Cape Town’s iconic, flat-topped Table Mountain, which overlooks the city and the Atlantic Ocean. Inside, her walls are covered with black-and-white photos of her husband, parents, siblings and other relatives long gone. Her beaded wedding dress is on display, as are souvenirs from her pilgrimage to Makkah as well as awards and certificates received over the years. But we didn’t come to see these things. We came to see her kitabs.
Read the story in this link:
The Handwritten Heritage of South Africa’s Kitabs – AramcoWorld
One heirloom connects Muslim families of Cape Town to heritage more than any other: a kitab. Historians and linguists value them, too, as some preserve the
New Books كتب جديدة
Traditional Leaders in a Democracy: Resources, Respect and Resistance
(دور الزعماء التقليديين في الديمقراطية: بين الموارد والاحترام والمقاومة)
Author: (Editor) Mbongiseni Buthelezi & Dineo Skosana
Post-1994, South Africa’s traditional leaders have fought for recognition and positioned themselves as major players in the South African political landscape. Yet their role in a democracy is contested, with leaders often accused of abusing power, disregarding human rights, expropriating resources, and promoting tribalism. Some argue that democracy and traditional leadership are irredeemably opposed and cannot co-exist. Meanwhile, shifts in the political economy of the former bantustans − the introduction of platinum mining in particular − have attracted new interests and conflicts to these areas, with chiefs often designated as custodians of community interests. This edited volume explores how chieftancy is practiced, experienced and contested in contemporary South Africa. It includes case studies of how those living under the authority of chiefs, in a modern democracy, negotiate or resist this authority in their respective areas.
Publisher: Mapungubwe Institute (MISTRA), South Africa
Dani Nabudere’s Afrikology – A Quest for African Holism
(داني نابوديري أفريكولوجيا – مسائل عن الشمولية الأفريقية)
Author: Sanya Osha
Dani Wadada Nabudere, the illustrious Ugandan scholar, produced a work that touches on the diversity of African culture, politics, and philosophy. Toward the end of his life, he formulated a theoretical construct that he termed “Afrikology.” Unlike most other Afrocentrists, who have failed to go beyond proving the primacy of the Egyptian past and its numerous cultural and scientific achievements, Nabudere strenuously attempts to connect that illustrious heritage with the African present. This, remarkably, is what makes his project worthy of careful attention. His corpus is multidisciplinary; his writings deal with critiques of imperialism, African political systems, processes of globalization and Africa’s location within them. The ideological and existential imperatives of Afrocentric discourse is critical to the work and its purpose.
Publisher: CODESRIA, Dakar, 2018
Counterterrorism Law and Practice in the East African Community
(قانون وممارسات مكافحة الإرهاب في مجتمع شرق إفريقيا)
Author: Christopher E. Bailey
This book examines the existing counter-terrorism laws and practices in the six-member East African Community (EAC) as it applies to a range of law enforcement and military activities under various international legal obligations. Dr. Christopher E. Bailey provides a comparative examination of existing national laws for EAC countries, including compliance with obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, and offers a range of legal reform recommendations. This book addresses two primary, related researchquestions: To what extent do the current national counter-terrorism laws and practices of the EAC Partner States comply with existing international human rights safeguards? What laws or practices can the EAC adopt to achieve better compliance with human rights safeguards in both civilian and military counter-terrorism operations?
Publisher: Brill Publications
Challenges and Opportunities for Inclusive Development in Ethiopia
(تحديات وفرص التنمية الشاملة في إثيوبيا)
Author: (Editor) Dessalegn Rahmato, Meheret Ayenew
As part of its on-going public dialogue program on progress in Ethiopia’s development and public policy, the Forum for Social Studies is undertaking a project on the theme of ‘Prospects and Challenges for Inclusive and Participatory Development in Ethiopia’. The aim is to enable researchers and professionals to present evidence-based papers to stimulate debate and reflection on this topic. This first book in the program looks at the impact of development or lack of it, on specific social groups, namely women, young people and vulnerable sectors of the population that should be entitled to social care.
Publisher: Forum for Social Studies, Ethiopia, 2018
Boundaries, Communities, and State-Making in West Africa: The Centrality of the Margins
(الحدود والمجتمعات وبناء الدولة في غرب إفريقيا: نحو مركزية الأطراف)
Author: Paul Nugent
Border regions are often considered to be the neglected margins. In this book, Paul Nugent argues through a comparison of the Senegambia and the trans-Volta (Ghana/Togo) that the geographical margins have shaped notions of centers. This study surveys three centuries of history to demonstrate that states were forged through an extended process of converting a topography of settled states and slaving frontiers into colonial borders. It argues that post-colonial states and larger social contracts have been configured very differently as a consequence. It underscores the impact on regional dynamics and the phenomenon of peripheral urbanism. Nugent also addresses the manner in which a variegated sense of community has been forged amongst Mandinka, Jola, Ewe and Agotime populations who have both shaped and been shaped by the border. This exercise in reciprocal comparison motivates the audience to shuffle between scales, from the local and the particular to the national and the regional.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
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Research Africa (email@example.com) welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next edition.