Research Africa News: April 17th, 2021

Research Africa News: April 17th, 2021

Geographies of war-making in East Africa
By Samar Al-Bulushi

In late January, reports circulated on social media about a suspected US drone strike in southern Somalia, in the Al-Shabaab controlled Ma’moodow town in Bakool province. Debate quickly ensued on Twitter about whether the newly installed Biden administration was responsible for this strike, which was reported to have occurred at 10 p.m. local time on January 29th, 2021.
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How to Think About Empire
Boston Review speaks with Arundhati Roy on censorship, storytelling, and her problem with the term ‘postcolonialism.’ ARUNDHATI ROY, AVNI SEJPAL

This interview is featured in Boston Review’s Fall 2018 issue Evil Empire. Order your copy today! In her second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017), Arundhati Roy asks, “What is the acceptable amount of blood for good literature?” This relationship between the imagination and the stuff of real life—violence, injustice, power—is central to Roy’s writing, dating back to her Booker Prize–winning debut novel The God of Small Things (1997). For the twenty years between the release of her first and second novels, the Indian writer has dismayed many—those who preferred that she stick to storytelling and those who were comfortable with the turn of global politics around 9/11—by voicing her political dissent loudly and publicly.
Read the article here.

South Sudan has big ambitions for women’s football
Isifu Wirfengla, March 15, 2021

When South Sudan became an independent state 10 years ago, its people had myriad hopes as they would be the ones to determine the form, content and destiny of their hard-won new country. Some women and girls, endowed with football skills but stuck in the cobwebs of patriarchy, looked to the future with optimism. A decade later, that route to the football glory they longed for unfolded before their very eyes as Juba Super Stars and Aweil Women FC faced each other in what became the first-ever South Sudanese women’s league match.
Read the research article here.

VUČKOVIĆ The Afro-Bolivians And Their Monarchy In Bolivia: An Enigmatic Kingdom

Bolivia is a land full of wonders and little-known facts. The majestic nature of the mountainous Andes and the adjacent tropical forests, and the illustrious capital city of La Paz, nestled high among the clouds, are not the only things to spark your curiosity. No more than a hundred kilometers outside of La Paz is the Yungas region, a transitional slit of mountainous, hard to access forests. And that is the home of the South American Afro-Bolivian communities, enigmatic descendants of African slaves that, believe it or not, have their own monarchy and a king!
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Why the h-index is a bogus measure of academic impact
July 8, 2020. Updated July 10, 2020

Earlier this year, French physician and microbiologist Didier Raoult generated a media uproar over his controversial promotion of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. The researcher has long pointed to his growing list of publications and high number of citations as an indication of his contribution to science, all summarized in his “h-index.” The controversy over his recent research presents an opportunity to examine the weaknesses of the h-index, a metric that aims to quantify a researcher’s productivity and impact, used by many organizations to evaluate researchers for promotions or research project funding.
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NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Sénégal Post-covid-19 : Souveraineté et Ruptures
[السنغال فيما بعد جائحة كورونا: فرص وتحديات]
Authors : Abdourahmane Ndiaye, Cheikh Guèye and Cheikh Oumar Ba

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the failures of the political and economic systems in Senegal. While the country is relatively spared from a health crisis, it found itself in economic and food difficulties linked to debacle in the value chains. This highlights the fragility of our small open economy model adopted since the 1960s. However, crises not only represent chaos, but they also offer opportunities for a forward-looking debate on new challenges, horizons, and collective ambitions of a nation. The authors of this book did not content themselves with only highlighting a diagnosis, they went further by proposing possible solutions.
Publisher: Harmattan Sénégal, 2021

Transpacific Correspondence: Dispatches from Japan’s Black Studies
[مراسلات عبر المحيط: إفادات حول الدراسات الافريقية في اليابان]
Author/ (editors): Yuichiro Onishi and Fumiko Sakashita

Since 1954, Japan has become home to a vibrant but little-known tradition of Black Studies. Transpacific Correspondence introduces this intellectual tradition to English-speaking audiences, placing it in the context of a long history of Afro-Asian solidarity and affirming its commitments to transnational inquiry and cosmopolitan exchange. More than six decades in the making, Japan’s Black Studies continues to shake up commonly held knowledge of Black history, culture, and literature and build a truly globalized field of Black Studies.
Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan, 2019.

Refractions of the National, The Popular and the Global in African Cities
[انكسارات بنيوية في المدن الأفريقية]
Author/ (editors): by Simon Bekker, Sylvia Croese, Edgar Pieterse

Case studies of metropolitan cities in nine African countries – from Egypt in the north to three in West and Central Africa, two in East Africa and three in Southern Africa – make up the empirical foundation of this publication. The interrelated themes addressed in these chapters – the national influence on urban development, the popular dynamics that shape urban development and the global currents on urban development – make up its framework. All authors and editors are African, as is the publisher. The only exception is Göran Therborn whose recent book, Cities of Power, served as motivation for this volume. Accordingly, the issue common to all case studies is the often-conflictual powers that are exercised by national, global and popular forces in the development of these African cities.
Publisher: African Minds Publishers, South Africa, 2021.

Health in a Fragile State: Science, Sorcery, and Spirit in the Lower Congo [أوضاع الصحة في الدولة الهشة: دراسة عن العلم والشعوذة والروحانيات في الكونغو السفلى ]
Author: John M. Janzen

This book offers a granular and insightful view of the state of healthcare services in the Manianga region of the Lower. The collapse of the Congolese state during the 1980s and 1990s resulted in the deterioration and virtual disappearance of state-sponsored healthcare institutions. This vacuum came to be filled by organisms such as the World Health Organization, other NGOs and health-based institutions organized under the new framework of the health zone. As a result, a precarious healthcare system emerged, one that combines the ingenuity and resources of the local population with those from external sources. Janzen uses this examination to remind us that positive health outcomes are not merely a factor of adequate knowledge and resources, but also require that those in charge of creating and implementing health policies are seen as legitimate within their communities. To support this argument, he starts by describing the population history of the region in relation to policies of the colonial and postcolonial era, and the ways in which specific diseases affected the lives peoples in the region.
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press, 2019.

Bushmen, Botany and Baking Bread: Mary Pocock’s record of a journey with Dorothea Bleek across Angola in 1925.
[عن حياة البوشمان: مدونات ماري بوكوك في معية دوروثيا بليك عبر أنغولا في عام 1925]
Author: (Editors): Tony Dold, Jean Kelly:

This book presents the record of a remarkable overland journey documented by the botanist Mary Agard Pocock and illustrated, in colour, with her photographs, sketches and paintings of southern Angola, its people and its plants. The purpose of the six-month-long expedition, by boat, on foot and by machila, was primarily for the renowned ethnologist Dorothea Bleek to collect ethnographic information of the last remaining Bushmen of the region. Besides her role as aide-de-camp, Mary Pocock’s intention was to study the flora. She collected almost 1000 plant specimens from this virtually unexplored region, several of which proved to be new to science. A talented artist and photographer, Pocock also described, painted and photographed Bushmen in their villages. These are unique and rare representations of daily activities such as spinning cotton, preparing food, forging metal, playing musical instruments and dancing. Her meticulous daily travel account, glass plate slides, negatives, sketches and paintings have now been rescued from oblivion and collated, edited and presented here for the first time.
Publisher: NISC (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, 2021.

Fighting and Writing: The Rhodesian Army at War and Postwar
[معا في القتال والكتابة: الجيش الروديسي أثناء الحرب وبعدها]
Author: Luise White

In Fighting and Writing Luise White brings the force of her historical insight to bear on the many war memoirs published by white soldiers who fought for Rhodesia during the 1964–1979 Zimbabwean liberation struggle. In the memoirs of white soldiers fighting to defend white minority rule in Africa long after other countries were independent, White finds a robust and contentious conversation about race, difference, and the war itself. These are writings by men who were ambivalent conscripts, generally aware of the futility of their fight—not brutal pawns flawlessly executing the orders and parroting the rhetoric of a racist regime. Moreover, most of these men insisted that the most important aspects of fighting a guerrilla war—tracking and hunting, knowledge of the land and of the ways of African society—were learned from black playmates in idealized rural childhoods. In these memoirs, African guerrillas never lost their association with the wild, even as white soldiers boasted of bringing Africans into the intimate spaces of regiment and regime..
Publisher: Duke University Pres, 2021.

The Muridiyya on the Move: Islam, Migration, and Place Making
[المريدية في ارتحال :قراءات عن الإسلام والهجرة والتموضع]
Author: Cheikh Anta Babou

The construction of collective identity among the Muridiyya abroad is a communal but contested endeavor. Differing conceptions of what should be the mission of Muridiyya institutions in the diaspora reveal disciples’ conflicting politics and challenge the notion of the order’s homogeneity. While some insist on the universal dimension of Ahmadu Bamba Mbakke’s calling and emphasize dawa (proselytizing), others prioritize preserving Muridiyya identity abroad by consolidating the linkages with the leadership in Senegal. Diasporic reimaginings of the Muridiyya abroad, in turn, inspire cultural reconfigurations at home. Drawing from a wide array of oral and archival sources in multiple languages collected in five countries, The Muridiyya on the Move reconstructs over half a century of the order’s history, focusing on mobility and cultural transformations in urban settings. In this groundbreaking work, Babou highlights the importance of the dahira (urban prayer circle) as he charts the continuities and ruptures between Muridiyya migrations. Throughout, he delineates the economic, socio-political, and other forces that powered these population movements, including colonial rule, the economic crises of the postcolonial era, and natural disasters.
Publisher: Ohio University Press, 2021
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