Research Africa: August 7th, 2019

News and Issues
1. On the Whiteness of Anthropology
By Girish Dasani, July 8, 2019
When studying sociology as an undergraduate student at the National University of Singapore, I was introduced to the work of three seminal thinkers of modern social theory, who are considered to be the founding fathers of sociology: Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim. My teachers at the time, while educating me on the impact of these men’s theories and their applications for an understanding of “modernity”, also emphasized that these theories emerged from a Eurocentric and Androcentric perspective.

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2. Britain Is Hoarding a Treasure No One Is Allowed to See
By Daniel Trilling, July 9, 2019
In a storeroom of the British Museum sits a collection of 11 wood and stone tablets that nobody is allowed to see. They are Christian plaques, or tabots, that represent the Ark of the Covenant, and they belong—though belong in this case is a contested term—to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which believes only its priests should view them.

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3. After Global Fact in Cape Town, the conversation around ‘Africa’ continues
By Daniela Flamini, June 27, 2019
When the International Fact-Checking Network decided to host Global Fact 6 in South Africa this year, the idea was to counter the Western-centric tendency of conferences past, which have consistently overrepresented Europe and North America. The IFCN believes part of this goal was reached; among more than 250 participants, the fact-checking annual summit welcomed six fact-checking organizations from Africa, three of which were new to the event.

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4. From Sudan to Kaepernick, Cartoonist Calls for Joint Fight Against Oppression
By James Reinl, July 12, 2019
On the face of it, the Sudanese protest movement and the American football star Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled during pre-match renditions of the US national anthem, do not have much in common. Think again, says Khalid AlBaih. The Sudanese cartoonist’s new exhibit opened in Manhattan this week, featuring his sharp takes on everything from his country’s political crisis to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. The way AlBaih tells it, Kaepernick and the crowds massed on Sudan’s streets are both examples of the have-nots of the world – often discernible by their darker skin tone – challenging the mighty

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5. Mapping Illicit Small Arms Flows in Africa
By Nicolas Florquin, Sigrid Lipott, Francis Wairagu, July 19, 2019
In the first-ever continental analysis of illicit arms flows in Africa, the African Union Commission and the Small Arms Survey identify the scale, availability, characteristics, and supply patterns of illicit small arms in Africa. The report finds that cross-border trafficking by land is the most prominent type of illicit arms flow on the continent.

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NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Land, the State & The Unfinished Decolonisation Project in Africa: Essays in Honour of Professor Sam Moyo
الأرض والدولة ومشروع التحررغير المكتمل في إفريقيا))
Author: (Editors) Horman Chitonge, Yoichi Mine
This book focuses on the work of one of the leading African scholars on the land question and agrarian transformation in Africa—Sam Moyo. It offers a critical discussion, in conversation with Sam Moyo, of the land question and the response of African states. Since independence, African states have been trying to address the colonial legacy on land policy and governance. After six decades of formulating and implementing land reforms, most countries have not succeeded in decolonising approaches to land policy and the administrative framework. The book brings together the broader debates on the implications of decolonisation of Africa’s land policy. Through case studies from several African countries, the book offers an empirical analysis on land reforms and the emerging land relations, and how these affect land allocation and use, including agricultural production.
Publisher: Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon, 2019

The African Roots of Marijuana
(جذورأعشاب الماريجوانا الأفريقية)
Author: Chris S. Duvall
There’s so much discussion in the contemporary United States about marijuana; debates focus on legalization and medicalization. Usually, Reefer Madness, Harry Anslinger, and race are brought into the conversation. But a big part of the larger marijuana story is missing. In Chris S. Duvall‘s new book, The African Roots of Marijuana, a distinctly non-American story is told that nevertheless has important lessons for current debates. Duvall helps us understand cannabis as a crop, commodity, and tool in African culture and in the history of slavery. He showcases the plant-person relationship and offers valuable lessons about colonialism and rise of ‘big marijuana’ in 2019.
Publisher: Duke University Press, 2019

Rethinking Black German Studies Approaches, Interventions, and Histories
(إعادة النظر في مناهج الدراسات الألمانية الأفريقية: اعتراضات وتواريخ)
Author: (editors) Tiffany Florvil and Vanessa Plumly,
Examining black German studies as a critical, hermeneutic field of inquiry, the contributions are organized around three thematically conceptualized sections: German and Austrian literature and history; pedagogy and theory; and art and performance. Presenting critical works in the fields of performance studies, communication and rhetoric, and musicology, the volume complicates traditional historical narratives, interrogates interdisciplinary methods, and introduces theoretical approaches that help to advance the field.
Publisher: Peter Lang, 2018

The Bavino Sermons
(مواعيظ بافينو)
Author: Lesego Rampolokeng
Born in Orlando West, Soweto, in Johannesburg, Lesego Rampolokeng is a poet, novelist, playwright, filmmaker and writing teacher who rose to prominence in the 1980s, a turbulent period in South Africa’s history. Originally published in 1999, The Bavino Sermons includes memorable poems such as ‘Lines for Vincent’, ‘Riding the victim train’, ‘To Gil Scott-Heron’, ‘Crab attack’,‘Rap Ranting’ and ‘The Fela Sermon’.
Publisher: Deep South, South Africa, 2019

Globalizing Morocco Transnational Activism and the Postcolonial State
(عولمة المغرب: الأنشطة الحركية عبر القارات ودولة ما بعد الاستعمار)
Author: David Stenner
David Stenner’s Globalizing Morocco enriches our understanding of Morocco’s nationalist movement. Stenner examines a collection of previously poorly-studied activists whose work began in the international zone in Morocco and then filtered out into the Arab world, France, and to the United States. Stenner shows how this was accomplished, namely via a decentralized system of activists who worked to win over sympathizers and transform them into allies. One consequence of this was that it was highly effective: Morocco became a global issue for a time, even amidst the competing issues of the early Cold War. At the same time, this approach had a number of weaknesses. The fact that it was decentralized and had no hierarchies also made it relatively easy to co-opt, and many important activists found themselves sidelined in the period after independence.
Publisher: Stanford University Press, 2019

Revelations of Dominance and Resilience: Unearthing the Buried Past of The Akpini, Akan, Germans and British at Kpando, Ghana
(حكايات الهيمنة والصمود: نيش ماضي مجموعات أكبيني وأكان والألمان والبريطانيين في كباندو، دولة غانا)
Author: Wazi Apoh
In this volume chronicling the complex imperial and colonial entanglements of the Kpando region in eastern Ghana over recent centuries, the lions have found their proverbial historian. Drawing on an array of sources—archaeological, oral historical and documentary—Wazi Apoh brings locally nuanced perspective to the complex social political economic entanglements among Akpini, German and British actors. His illumination of previously silenced histories provides a rich platform from which to provoke us to imagine and act on the possibilities for restorative repatriation in the present. Its novel combination of historical study with analysis of ongoing dialogues over repatriation is a unique contribution to African studies.
Publisher: Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana, 2019

Foreign Policy as Nation Making: Turkey and Egypt in the Cold War
(حين تتحول السياسة الخارجية الى بناء أمة: حالات تركيا ومصر أثناء الحرب الباردة)
Author: Reem Abou-El-Fadl
After the Second World War, Turkey and Egypt were among the most dynamic actors in the Middle East. Their 1950s foreign policies presented a puzzle, however: Turkey’s Democrat Party pursued NATO membership and sponsored the pro-Western Baghdad Pact regionally, while Egypt’s Free Officers promoted neutralism and pan-Arab alliances. This book asks why; what explains this divergence in a shared historical space? Rethinking foreign policy as an important site for the realisation of nationalist commitments, Abou-El-Fadl finds the answer in the contrasting nation making projects pursued by the two leaderships, each politicised differently through experiences of war, imperialism and underdevelopment. Drawing on untapped Turkish and Arabic sources, and critically engaging with theories of postcolonial nationalism, she emphasises local actors’ agency in striving to secure national belonging, sovereignty and progress in the international field. Her analysis sheds light on the contemporary legacies of the decade which cemented Turkey’s position in the Western Bloc and Egypt’s reputation as an Arab leader.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2019

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Research Africa ( welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next edition.