Research Africa: March 31, 2019

Research Africa: March 31, 2019

News and Issues

1. Why do so many Egyptian statues have broken noses?

By Julia Wolkoff, March 20, 2019

The most common question that curator Edward Bleiberg fields from visitors to the Brooklyn Museum’s Egyptian art galleries is a straightforward but salient one: Why are the statues’ noses broken? Bleiberg, who oversees the museum’s extensive holdings of Egyptian, Classical and ancient Near Eastern art, was surprised the first few times he heard this question. He had taken for granted that the sculptures were damaged; his training in Egyptology encouraged visualizing how a statue would look if it were still intact.

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Why do so many Egyptian statues have broken noses?
The pattern of damage to statues’ faces has led experts to believe it was both deliberate and widespread in the ancient world.

2. How Sudan’s uprising is inspiring a generation of Sudanese American teens

By Hana Baba, March 20, 2019

Nearly two dozen people gathered for a symposium in Hayward, California about the recent protests in Sudan. Those who come to these Sudan-related events are usually adults — first-generation Sudanese immigrants to the United States. But this gathering was different as the featured speakers were Sudanese American teenagers. The uprising in Sudan has inspired a new generation of Sudanese American youth to become politically engaged with their motherland for the first time.

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3. Is There a Future For American Universities in the Middle East? Why the U.S. Model is More Important Than Ever

By Lisa Anderson, March 22, 2019

On January 10, Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, delivered a contentious speech at the American University in Cairo (AUC). He ridiculed former president Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for his “courage” in confronting extremism, and repeated calls for a tough stance against Iran. The university’s faculty were outraged, not only by the speech but also by Pompeo’s failure to engage with students. In February, the faculty voted to declare no confidence in the university president who had invited Pompeo, Francis J. Ricciardone, himself a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt.

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The Future of American Universities in a Changing Middle East
LISA ANDERSON is James T. Shotwell Professor Emerita of International Relations at Columbia University and former president of the American University in Cairo. On January 10, Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, delivered a contentious speech at the American University in Cairo (AUC). He …

4. DNA on ancient tobacco pipe links Maryland slave site to West Africa Enslaved woman’s broken pipe still had her DNA after two centuries in the ground.

By Michael E Ruane, March 15, 2019

One day about 200 years ago, a woman enslaved on a tobacco plantation near Annapolis tossed aside the broken stem of the clay pipe she was smoking in the slave quarters where she lived. Clay pipes were soft and fragile, and the stem bore marks where she had clenched it in her teeth as she worked. But the stem bore something else she could never have imagined: her DNA.

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DNA on ancient tobacco pipe links Maryland slave site to West Africa

5. Britain’s Abandoned Black Soldiers « Le français n’a d’avenir en Afrique que s’il reconnaît les langues locales »

Par Fatoumata Diallo 20 mars 2019

D’ici 2050, 70% des francophones vivront sur le continent africain. Le philosophe Souleymane Bachir Diagne prévient cependant que l’évolution de la francophonie ne dépends pas du facteur démographique, mais reposera sur le plurilinguisme et la bonne santé de l’éducation en Afrique.

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NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

1. The Big Noise and Other Noises

(الهرج والمرج وأمثالهما)

Author: Christopher Kudyahakudadirwe

From the frightening Big Noise of the approaching caterpillars sent by government to build a new dam to the thundering Other Noises of the caterpillars, again sent by government to destroy their shacks, life for the average citizen has never been the same. Then the 93-year-old president, Robert Mugabe, was forced to announce his resignation, and Tonderai, one of his secret agents skips the country fearing for his life. Of course, that was after another big noise that saw armoured cars and many people filling the streets of the capital, rejoicing that the dictator had been deposed. Before that there were other noises that frightened people away from their homes, but this time the noises that frightened people were made by those who had silenced the big noise. A confusion reigned. Graduates were jobless. People fled the country to other countries to become political as well as economic refugees.

Publisher: Mwanaka Media and Publishing, Zimbabwe, 2019

2. Modernist Art in Ethiopia
(الفن الحداثي في إثيوبيا)

Author: Elizabeth Giorgis (Author), Elizabeth W. Giorgis (Author)

If modernism initially came to Africa through colonial contact, what does Ethiopia’s inimitable historical condition—its independence save for five years under Italian occupation—mean for its own modernist tradition? In Modernist Art in Ethiopia—the first book-length study of the topic—Elizabeth W. Giorgis recognizes that her home country’s supposed singularity, particularly as it pertains to its history from 1900 to the present, cannot be conceived outside the broader colonial legacy. She uses the evolution of modernist art in Ethiopia to explore the intellectual, cultural, and political histories of Ethiopia in a pan-African context.

Publisher: Ohio University Press, 2019

3. Dear President Obama: Letters from Kogelo and Beyond

(عزيزي الرئيس أوباما: رسائل من كوجيلو ومثيلاتها من المدن الكينية)

Author: Elizabeth Ochieng Onayemi

When Barrack Obama became the President of the United States of America, he captured the imagination of many Kenyans who consider him to be one of their own. In these letters, Kenyans share with the President their experiences and dreams for the future. The book begins with a letter from a child who expresses the pride that residents of Kogelo have in President Obama to whom they are all related in one way or the other. Subsequent letters are mostly from adults from varying socioeconomic groups who address a plethora of issues which affect ordinary Kenyan citizens. All of the narrative voices reflect a shared heritage with President Obama and view him as an effective channel for voicing their concerns about local issues of global significance.

Publisher: Mountain View Publishers, Kenya, 2015

4. Digitalization and The Field of African Studies

(الرقمنة في عالم الدراسات الأفريقية)

Author: Mirjam de Bruijn

Urbanization in Africa also means rapid technological change. At the turn of the 21st century, mobile telephony appeared in urban Africa. Ten years later, it covered large parts of rural Africa and – thanks to the smartphone – became the main access to the internet. This development is part of technological transformations in digitalization that are supposed to bridge the urban and the rural, thereby blurring their borders. They do so through the creation of economic opportunities, increased flow of information, and re-defining conceptions of self, belonging and citizenship. These technological transformations influence the relation within Africa via the urban and rural and also between ‘Africa’ and the World. In this lecture, Mirjam de Bruijn reflects on two decades of research collected in West and Central Africa and discusses how, for her, the field has changed.

Publisher: Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Namibia, 2019

5. To Be or Not to Be: Sudan at Crossroads: a Pan-African Perspective

(أن نكون أو لا نكون: السودان على مفترق طرق، قراءات من منظور الرابطة الأفريقية)

Author: M. Jalāl Hāshim

To Be or Not to Be is an analysis of sociological factors which explain the intricate root causes of conflicts which have ravished Sudan. This text stands in stark contrast to the dominant simplification and distortions which have come to typify presentations of the region. Central to the book is an unapologetic explanation of Arabization. Often portrayed as individual choices of religious loyalty, Arabization in fact masks an intentional power-system which viciously corrupts Afrikan identities. By highlighting the detrimental complexities of manipulation, geopolitics, identity confusion and cultural imperialism, Hashim has written an authoritative book about Sudan in presenting a comprehensive case study that all of Afrika must learn from. Rarely are we presented with such a rich insider’s perspective to an area of Afrika which once was held in the highest civilizational esteem but has since been reduced to an ideological field of Arab-led terror, massacres, and disintegration.

Publisher: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Tanzania, 2019

6. Reel Pleasures: Cinema Audiences and Entrepreneurs in Twentieth-Century Urban Tanzania

(زبانية المتعة: جماهير السينما ورجال الأعمال في القرن العشرين في تنزانيا)

Author: Laura Fair

Reel Pleasures brings the world of African movie houses and the public they engendered to life, revealing how local fans creatively reworked global media to speak to local dreams and desires. In this publication, Laura Fair focuses on Tanzanians’ extraordinarily dynamic media cultures to demonstrate how the public and private worlds of film reception brought communities together and contributed to the construction of gender identity and urban citizenship over time.

Publisher: Ohio University Press, 2018.

7. Violence, Peace & Everyday Modes of Justice and Healing in Post-Colonial Africa

(تأملات في مسائل العنف والسلام وعوائد العدالة والتعافي في إفريقيا ما بعد الاستعمار)

Author: (Editors) Ngonidzashe Marongwe, Fidelis Peter Thomas Duri, Munyaradzi Mawere

Violence in its various proportions, genres and manifestations has had an enduring historical legacy on the world. However, scholarly work which speaks to approaches aimed at mitigating violence as a characteristic of Africa is very limited. As some have noted, Africans have experienced cycles of violence since the pre-colonial epoch, such that overt violence has become banalised on the African continent. This has generated complex results, legacies, and perennial emotional wounds that call for healing, reconciliation, justice and positive peace. Yet, in the absence of systematic and critical approaches to the study of violence on the continent, discourses on violence are unable to challenge the global matrices of violence that threaten peace and development in Africa. This volume is a contribution to addressing such urgently needed, systematic approaches. It interrogates the contentious production and resilience of violence in Africa from a multi-disciplinary approach. Ultimately, the authors call for a paradigm shift to forge and merge African customary dispute resolution and Western systems of dispute resolution towards a framework of positive peace, holistic restoration, sustainable development, and equity.

Publisher: Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon, 2019

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