Research Africa News: December 16th , 2020 

Research Africa News: December 16th , 2020 


Decolonizing Islamic Art in Africa, Edited Volume 

CFP: Decolonizing Islamic Art in Africa, Edited Volume

Type: Call for Papers

Date: January 15, 2021

Subject Fields: African History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Architecture and Architectural History, Black History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies


This publication examines the status of Muslim visual and expressive cultures in the wake of decolonization in Africa.  It asks, in the years leading up to and following struggles for independence from colonial regimes across the continent, how was “Islamic art” mobilized, interpreted, transformed, or even erased in relation to projects of nation-building and in the context of new cultural and religious identities emerging across Africa and its diasporas?  It will consider the different strategies through which diverse actors–political leaders, architects, artists, museum curators, members of local religious communities, and others–approached the social and conceptual structures upheld by previous colonial regimes and explore the consequences of such processes of negotiation for the visual, spatial, and intellectual parameters framing Muslim institutions, practices, and cultural works in “postcolonial” Africa.


Will China move Africa up from the end of coronavirus vaccine queue? 

In previous pandemics African countries have had to wait for vaccinations and analysts fear it could happen again Many are banking on Covax, while Beijing has also said it will make its vaccines available as a ‘public good’

By Jevans Nyabiage, 28 Nov, 2020 


African countries are expected to be last in the queue for Covid-19 vaccinations, complicating the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic. With encouraging results from late-stage trials for several candidates, attention is turning to the distribution of billions of doses around the world, and there are concerns most African countries will be left to the mercy of rich nations in the race for access to affordable vaccines.

Read the rest of the story here. 


War ravaged home

By Samuel Getachew, 8 June 2019

There is no place that is as humbling as Badme. It is hard to imagine the many thousands that have died for it fighting in one of the world’s bloodiest wars. There are few that live here and many are entering the uncertain prospect of joining Eritrea with no local input.

Read the rest of the story here. 


A curator’s museum is filled with looted African art. Now he wants it returned CNN, 3rd December 2020


The Kingdom of Benin took centuries to build and just a few days to raze to the ground. In February 1897, British forces stormed the ancient kingdom’s capital city with rockets, shells and Maxim guns capable of firing 600 rounds per minute. A flotilla of warships joined the assault from adjacent waterways. Benin’s defenders, fighting with blades and muskets, were swiftly massacred. The British burned the city and built a golf course on the ruins.

Read the rest of the story here.


The English Translation of Eritrean Novelist Haji Jabir’s Black Foam is Set for 2021  

By CHUKWUEBUKA IBEH November 18, 2020


Black Foam by Eritrean novelist Haji Jabir is finally going to be available in English. The novel, which explores the experiences of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants in Israel, is set for a 2021 release through Amazon Publishing.


Eritrean-born Jabir is the author of four novels. Black Foam, which is being translated in English, was published in 2018 and longlisted for the International Prize for Arab Fiction, one of the most prestigious prizes for fiction in Arabic

Read the rest of the story here.


NEW BOOKS          كتب جديدة


For a Pragmatics of the Useless 

[نحو تفعيل المهدورين] 

Author: Erin Manning


What has a use in the future, unforeseeably, is radically useless now. What has an effect now is not necessarily useful if it falls through the gaps. In For a Pragmatics of the Useless Erin Manning examines what falls outside the purview of already-known functions and established standards of value, not for want of potential but for carrying an excess of it. The figures are various: the infrathin, the artful, proprioceptive tactility, neurodiversity, black life. It is around the latter two that a central refrain echoes: “All black life is neurodiverse life.” This is not an equation, but an “approximation of proximity.” Manning shows how neurotypicality and whiteness combine to form a normative baseline for existence.

Publisher: Duke University Press.


Egypt’s Occupation: Colonial Economism and the Crises of Capitalism  

[احتلال مصر: الاقتصاد الاستعماري وأزمات الرأسمالية] 

Author: Aaron Jakes


The history of capitalism in Egypt has long been synonymous with cotton cultivation and dependent development. From this perspective, the British occupation of 1882 merely sealed the country’s fate as a vast plantation for European textile mills. All but obscured in such accounts, however, is Egypt’s emergence as a colonial laboratory for financial investment and experimentation. Egypt’s Occupation tells for the first time the story of that financial expansion and the devastating crises that followed.

Publisher: Stanford University Press, 2020.


La politique africaine du Maroc: Identité de rôle et projection de puissance Series: Studies in the History and Society of the Maghrib, Volume: 12  

[سياسات المغرب في أفريقيا]

Author: Yousra Abourabi 


Since the advent of the reign of Mohammed VI in 1999, Morocco has deployed a new continental foreign policy. The Kingdom aspires to be recognized as an emerging African power in its identity as well as in its space of projection. In order to meet these ambitions, the diplomatic apparatus is developing and modernizing, while a singular role identity is emerging around the notion of the “golden mean”. This study presents, on an empirical level, the conditions of the elaboration and conduct of this African policy, and analyzes, on a theoretical level, the evolution of the Moroccan role identity in the international system.

Publisher: Brill, 2020.


The Transformative Power of Language: From Postcolonial to Knowledge Societies in Africa.  

[القوة التأثيرية للغة: من مجتمعات ما بعد الكولونيالية إلى مجتمعات المعرفة في إفريقيا] 

Author/ (Editors): Kaschula, Russell H. and H. Ekkehard Wolff.


The German/South-African team of co-editors has brought together contributions by 27 academics all from Southern Africa in order to shed light on the issue of language choice for transformation and (mental) decolonization in postcolonial Africa, thereby mirroring ongoing interdisciplinary discourse in the wake of #RhodesMust Fall (2015) on South African university campuses. The book addresses the need of and some relevant (pre-) conditions for transforming postcolonial societies in Africa into globally competitive knowledge societies and achieving full mental decolonisation. Such transformation poses challenges for education and academic research – in particular with regard to higher education and to the benefit of knowledge production. This implies provisions and applications of human language technology devices in the service of mass education and lifelong education. It also refers to academic research in general under the new umbrella of digital humanities. One of the key issues in such transformation is language, more specifically the recognition of multilingualism as resource rather than barrier to sociocultural modernisation and economic progress.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2020.


Great Zimbabwe: Reclaiming a ‘Confiscated’ Past

[عن زيمبابوي العظمى: نحو استعادة الماضي المغصوب] 

Author: Shadreck Chirikure


It combines archaeological knowledge, including recent material from the author’s excavations, with native concepts and philosophies. Working from a large data set has made it possible, for the first time, to develop an archaeology of Great Zimbabwe that is informed by finds and observations from the entire site and wider landscape. In so doing, the book strongly contributes towards decolonising African and world archaeology. Written in an accessible manner, the book is aimed at undergraduate students, graduate students, and practicing archaeologists both in Africa and across the globe. 

Publisher: Routledge, 2020.


Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities   

 [ليسوا بمستوطنين ولا بأبناء البلد الأصليين: جدليات تاريخية في ظهور مفهوم الأقليات الحديثة ] 

Author: Mahmood Mamdani


In this genealogy of political modernity, Mahmood Mamdani argues that the nation-state and the colonial state created each other. In case after case around the globe—from the New World to South Africa, Israel to Germany to Sudan—the colonial state and the nation-state have been mutually constructed through the politicization of a religious or ethnic majority at the expense of an equally manufactured minority. The model emerged in North America, where genocide and internment on reservations created both a permanent native underclass and the physical and ideological spaces in which new immigrant identities crystallized as a settler nation. In Europe, this template would be used by the Nazis to address the Jewish Question, and after the fall of the Third Reich, by the Allies to redraw the boundaries of Eastern Europe’s nation-states, cleansing them of their minorities. After Nuremberg the template was used to preserve the idea of the Jews as a separate nation. By establishing Israel through the minoritization of Palestinian Arabs, Zionist settlers followed the North American example. The result has been another cycle of violence. Neither Settler nor Native offers a vision for arresting this historical process. Mamdani rejects the “criminal” solution attempted at Nuremberg, which held individual perpetrators responsible without questioning Nazism as a political project and thus the violence of the nation-state itself. Instead, political violence demands political solutions: not criminal justice for perpetrators but a rethinking of the political community for all survivors—victims, perpetrators, bystanders, beneficiaries—based on common residence and the commitment to build a common future without the permanent political identities of settler and native. Mamdani points to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa as an unfinished project, seeking a state without a nation.

Publisher: Harvard University Press, 2020.


Vénus Noire: Black Women and Colonial Fantasies in Nineteenth-Century France 

[النساء السوداوات وأوهام الاستعمار في فرنسا أثناء القرن التاسع عشر] 

Author: Robin Mitchell


The book looks at the French appropriation and production of Black female bodies and attempts to show how these symbolic bodies helped French writers and artists talk about the nation’s defeat by what would become known as Haiti— and I am thankful all the reviewers highlighted this point. This defeat, represented as a white male loss (based on the rather maddening tendency to see Revolution as an overwhelmingly masculine space), helped fuel certain types of colonial fantasies about a colony lost, and helped white French men and women imagine a new identity after the Revolution’s end. I explain that “[t]he discursive presence of Black women in nineteenth-century France—how they were seen, perceived, produced, and represented—suggests that French elites were deeply unsettled by the Haitian Revolution and that this disturbance contributed to an unclaimed and ignored radicalized national identity” (p.11).

Publisher: University of Georgia Press, 2020.

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