Research Africa News: March 19th , 2021

Research Africa News: March 19th , 2021

A Chapter in U.S. History Often Ignored: The Flight of Runaway Slaves to Mexico

February 28, 2021

In a forgotten cemetery on the edge of Texas in the Rio Grande delta, Olga Webber-Vasques says she’s proud of her family’s legacy — even if she only just learned the full story. Turns out her great-great-grandparents, who are buried there, were agents in the little-known underground railroad that led through South Texas to Mexico during the 1800s. Thousands of enslaved people fled plantations to make their way to the Rio Grande, which became a river of deliverance.

Read the rest of the article here.

All futurism is Afrofuturism: Can Africa industrialize? I think it can.

Noah Smith, 3/ 1/ 2021

Every so often I get the urge to blog about something really important, so today I think I’ll write about Africa. Afrofuturism is a fun and interesting subgenre of science fiction and philosophy, but I kind of chuckle every time I see the word, because all futurism is actually Afrofuturism. Africa is literally the future of the entire world. Here is one of the two or three most important charts you will ever see:

Read the research article here.

Covid-19 drove hundreds of Africans out of Guangzhou. A generation of mixed-race children is their legacy

By Jenni Marsh, CNN, March 18, 2021

(CNN)When the coronavirus pandemic ground China to a near-halt in early February last year, Youssouf Dieng jetted back to Dakar for, he thought, a brief sojourn. In reality, it was a year before Dieng — who had worked as a goods trader in the manufacturing hub of Guangzhou in southern China for two decades — could return, on an air ticket three times the usual cost, and a complicated business visa. By then, the pandemic had driven hundreds of Africans out of Guangzhou, sparked the most severe anti-Black racial clashes in China in decades, and remade business operations, with Chinese factories connecting with African customers directly over e-commerce platforms.

Read the rest of the story here.

Nourin Mohamed Siddig: The African art of reciting the Koran

Isma’il Kushkush, 9 February

When Nourin Mohamed Siddig recited the Koran, people around the world described his tone as sad, soulful and bluesy. His unique sound made him one of the Muslim world’s most popular reciters. As a consequence, his death at the age of 38 in a car accident in Sudan in November was mourned from Pakistan to the United States. “The world has lost one of the most beautiful [voices] of our time,” tweeted Imam Omar Suleiman of Texas.

Read the rest of the story here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Africa and the Disruptions of the Twenty-first Century

[أفريقيا واضطرابات القرن الواحد والعشرين]

Author: Paul Tiyambe Zeleza

This collection of essays interrogates the repositioning of Africa and its diasporas in the unfolding disruptive transformations of the early twenty-first century. It is divided into five parts focusing on America’s racial dysfunctions, navigating global turbulence, Africa’s political dramas, the continent’s persistent mythologisation and disruptions in higher education. It closes with tributes to two towering African public intellectuals, Ali Mazrui and Thandika Mkandawire, who have since joined the ancestors.

Publisher: CODESRIA, Senegal, 2021.

From Handmaiden of Colonialism to Esteemed Discipline: Professor Paul Nchoji Nkwi on the Reinvention of Anthropology in Africa

[ من حياة في خدمة الاستعمار إلى حياة الانضباط والاحترام: أفكار البروفيسور بول نشوجي نكوي عن إعادة اختراع الأنثروبولوجيا في إفريقيا]

Author: Paul Nchoji Nkwi

This book documents key features in the life of the father of anthropology in Cameroon, Professor Paul Nchoji Nkwi. The conversations within these pages chronicle, in his own words, how he came to anthropology and how the discipline shaped and still shapes his trajectory. One work does not suffice to elucidate all that Nkwi has contributed to the discipline of Anthropology in Cameroon and beyond; nevertheless, this book is a starting point. As the founding president of the Pan-African Association of Anthropologists (PAAA), Nkwi has been a trail blazer, sowing the seeds, nurturing the shoots, and grooming budding African anthropologists in their investigation of that great anthropological question: what it means to be human. In discussing the transformation of anthropology from the handmaiden of colonialism to the advocate of identity, voice, and a means for Africa to engage with and interact within contemporary society, Nkwi reveals insights regarding, among others, the birth and growth of the discipline in Cameroon, the founding of the PAAA, and the applicability of the subject to the changing and challenging landscape that characterizes today’s globalized world. Likewise, blending theory and practice, he weaves a formidable tale of anthropological thought from an Africanist perspective through his notion of an African Pragmatic Socialism as a way of delving into, making sense of, and addressing the reality of the 21st century on the African continent and possibly beyond.

Publisher: Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon, 2021.

The Cause of Freedom: A Concise History of African Americans

[قضية الحرية: تاريخ موجز للأمريكيين الأفريقيين]

Author: Jonathan Scott Holloway

This book considers how, for centuries, African Americans have fought for what the black feminist intellectual Anna Julia Cooper called “the cause of freedom.” It begins in Jamestown in 1619, when the first shipment of enslaved Africans arrived in that settlement. It narrates the creation of a system of racialized chattel slavery, the eventual dismantling of that system in the national bloodletting of the Civil War, and the ways that civil rights disputes have continued to erupt in the more than 150 years since Emancipation. The Cause of Freedom carries forward to the Black Lives Matter movement, a grass-roots activist convulsion that declared that African Americans’ present and past have value and meaning. At a moment when political debates grapple with the nation’s obligation to acknowledge and perhaps even repair its original sin of racialized slavery, The Cause of Freedom tells a story about our capacity and willingness to realize the ideal articulated in the country’s founding document, namely, that all people were created equal..

Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2021.

Turkey in Africa. Turkey’s Strategic Involvement in Sub-Saharan Africa

[ تركيا في إفريقيا: التورط الاستراتيجي التركي في أفريقيا جنوب الصحراء]

Author: Federico Donelli

Africa is increasingly becoming an arena for geopolitical competition over its resources and, in the last two decades, has seen many emerging powers such as China, India, Russia, Japan & Brazil attempting to strengthen their ties with the continent. Turkey’s involvement has been much less discussed, despite the fact that Turkey’s strategic involvement with several sub-Saharan African states has been deepening since its active engagement in the Somali crisis of 2011. Federico Donelli brings to light the extent of Turkey’s involvement in Africa and analyses the unique characteristics, benefits, challenges and limits of Turkish policy in the region. The book examines the Turkish diplomatic programme as well as its domestic reception, which includes humanitarian aid, religious links such as the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), as well as private business links. Crucially, Donelli examines what makes Turkish involvement different from that of other international actors in the region – its historic ties with North Africa under the Ottoman Empire.

Publisher: Bloomsbury, London, 2021.

Decolonizing Diasporas: Radical Mappings of Afro-Atlantic Literature

[التحرر من الاستعمار في أدب المهجر: نحو نهج جوهري في الأدب الأفرو-أطلسي]

Author: Yomaira C Figueroa-Vásquez

Mapping literature from Spanish-speaking sub-Saharan African and Afro-Latinx Caribbean diasporas, Decolonizing Diasporas argues that the works of diasporic writers and artists from Equatorial Guinea, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba offer new worldviews that unsettle and dismantle the logics of colonial modernity. With women of color feminisms and decolonial theory as frameworks, Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez juxtaposes Afro-Latinx and Afro-Hispanic diasporic artists, analyzing work by Nelly Rosario, Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, Trifonia Melibea Obono, Donato Ndongo, Junot Díaz, Aracelis Girmay, Loida Maritza Pérez, Ernesto Quiñonez, Christina Olivares, Joaquín Mbomio Bacheng, Ibeyi, Daniel José Older, and María Magdalena Campos-Pons. Figueroa-Vásquez’s study reveals the thematic, conceptual, and liberatory tools these artists offer when read in relation to one another. Decolonizing Diasporas examines how themes of intimacy, witnessing, dispossession, reparations, and futurities are remapped in these works by tracing interlocking structures of oppression, including public and intimate forms of domination, sexual and structural violence, sociopolitical and racial exclusion, and the haunting remnants of colonial intervention.

Publisher: Northwestern University Pres, 2020.

Blackness in Morocco: Gnawa Identity through Music and Visual Culture

[السواد في المغرب: دراسة هوية كناوة من خلال الموسيقى والثقافة المرئية]

Author: Cynthia J. Becker

For more than thirteen centuries, caravans transported millions of enslaved people from Africa south of the Sahara into what is now the Kingdom of Morocco. Today there are no museums, plaques, or monuments that recognize this history of enslavement, but enslaved people and their descendants created the Gnawa identity that preserves this largely suppressed heritage. This pioneering book describes how Gnawa emerged as a practice associated with Blackness and enslavement by reviewing visual representation and musical traditions from the late nineteenth century to the present.

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press, 2020

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