Research Africa News: May 19th, 2021

Research Africa News: May 19th, 2021

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Germany Will Return Benin Bronzes to Nigeria in 2022 Culture Minister Monika Grütters describes the move as a “historic milestone”
By Nora McGreevy SMITHSONIANMAG.COM APRIL 19, 2021 | UPDATED: APRIL 30, 2021

SMARTNEWS Keeping you current Germany Will Return Benin Bronzes to Nigeria in 2022 Culture Minister Monika Grütters describes the move as a “historic milestone” A brown metal plaque that is intricately carved with figures, including a large central figure wearing armor and towering over at least three smaller people standing beneath This plaque depicts musicians, a page holding a ceremonial sword and a high-ranking warrior. It numbers among the thousands of works looted by British forces during an 1897 raid of Benin City.
Read the rest of the article here.

The Muslims Who Don’t Fast During Ramadan Members of Baye Fall eat, cook, and deliver food in grand processions.
By Katie Jane Fernelius, June 4, 2019

IT’S RAMADAN IN TOUBA, SENEGAL, and the road to the Grand Mosque is lined with sleepy storefronts. On the sidewalk, a merchant naps in the shade of a stall where he sells second-hand beanies, defunct AirPods, and wool socks.
Read the article here.

L’Afrique en musée – Les tablettes coraniques et la tunique protectrice de Bourbonne-les-Bains PAR LA RÉDACTION ·
Auteurs: Ousmane Diaw (Timbuktu Editions), Hadrien Collet (Ifao)/ 16/04/2021
Du Sénégal à Bourbonne-les-Bains

Les objets présentés ici consistent en deux tablettes et une tunique protectrice qui ont été rapportés du Sénégal par Ernest Noirot (m. 1913). D’abord membre d’une expédition dans le Fouta-Djalon et le Bambouk en 1881, il devint par la suite administrateur dans ces régions et en AOF de manière générale jusqu’à la fin de sa vie. Les deux tablettes ont été exposées en 1889 à l’Exposition universelle de Paris par les exposants des collectivités du Sénégal sous le patronage d’E. Noirot alors administrateur des provinces du Sénégal. Ce dernier fut par la suite maire de Bourbonne-les-Bains. Cette commune en est aujourd’hui propriétaire après un don de la famille..
Read the research article here.

The real ‘second-class citizens’ of academia
Donald Earl Collins Lecturer of History at American University in Washington, DC. 30 Apr 2021

At the end of February, pre-eminent Black philosopher Cornel West revealed that Harvard University has refused to consider him for tenure, triggering new discussions about inclusivity and justice in academia. Arguing that tenure is the difference between “first-class citizenship and second-class citizenship in the academy”, West has since announced his decision to leave Harvard for the Union Theological Seminary. West’s brilliant, four-decade-long career as a leading public intellectual and self-proclaimed “prophet of America’s present and future” has included tenure-stream and tenured professorships at Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton, and also Harvard (West left a tenured position at Harvard University in 2002 after a dispute with its then-president. He rejoined the institution in 2016). So it is understandable that he felt like a “second-class citizen” when the higher-ups in Harvard denied him tenure the second time around.
Read the rest of the story here.

Massacres, rapes and starvation: Breaking through the blackout to expose Tigray’s ‘crimes against humanity’
By Will Brown, 15 May 2021

When the first American bombs crashed into Baghdad in January 1991, the nature of war fundamentally changed. Images of the First Gulf War were bounced off satellites and broadcast live to tens of millions of homes around the world. Everyone saw how Iraq was systematically taken apart blow by blow. Since then, war has become more visible – its crimes ever harder to hide. But one conflict in the far north of Ethiopia has bucked the trend spectacularly, defying the information age. For the last six months, communications blackouts and appalling access for human rights researchers and journalists alike have shrouded a conflict raging across the Tigray region in shadows..
Read the rest of the story here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة
Being and Becoming African as a Permanent Work in Progress:
Inspiration from Chinua Achebe’s Proverbs
[ أن تكون أو تصبح أفريقيا: تأملات قيد التطوير]

Authors : (Editors) Francis B. Nyamnjoh, Patrick U. Nwosu, and Hassan M. Yosimbom
This book is a timely addition to debates and explorations on the epistemological relevance of African proverbs, especially with growing calls for the decolonisation of African curricula. The editors and contributors have chosen to reflect on the diverse ways of being and becoming African as a permanent work in progress by drawing inspiration from Chinua Achebe’s harnessing of the effectualness of oratory, especially his use of proverbs in his works. The book recognises and celebrates the fact that Achebe’s proverbial Igbo imaginations of being and becoming African are compelling because they are instructive about the lives, stories, struggles and aspirations of the rainbow of people that make up Africa as a veritable global arena of productive circulations, entanglements and compositeness of being. The contributions foray into how claims to and practices of being and becoming African are steeped in histories of mobilities and a myriad of encounters shaped by and inspiring of the competing and complementary logics of personhood and power that Africans have sought and seek to capture in their repertoires of proverbs. The task of documenting African proverbs and rendering them accessible in the form of a common hard currency with fascinating epistemological possibilities remains a challenge yearning for financial, scholarly, social and political attention. The book is an important contribution to John Mbiti’s clarion call for an active and sustained interest in African proverbs.
Publisher: Harmattan Sénégal, 2021

Wrecking Ball: Why permanent technological unemployment, a predictable pandemic and other wicked problems will end South Africa’s experiment in inclusive democracy
[تلاعبات في التدمير والاتلاف ]
Author: Stu Woolman

Wrecking Ball explores, in an unprecedented manner, a decalogue of wicked problems that confronts humanity: Nuclear proliferation, climate change, pandemics, permanent technological unemployment, Orwellian public and private surveillance, social media that distorts reality, cyberwarfare, the fragmentation of democracies, the inability of nations to cabin private power, the failure of multinational institutions to promote collaboration and the deepening of autocratic rule in countries that have never known anything but extractive institutions. Collectively, or even severally, these wicked problems constitute crises that could end civilisation.
Publisher: NISC (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, 2021.

The Promise of Memory
[تعهدات الذاكرة]
Author: Michael Weeder

This selection of poems – covering the years from 1980 to the present day – expresses the poets personal attempts at making sense of the everyday, ordinary difficulties, and the small victories of life. The offering emphasises, sometimes in an exploratory suggestiveness, how differences should not be divisive and that they form part of the range of ways in which we belong to – and are of – each other.
Publisher: African Perspectives, South Africa, 2021.

The African Lookbook: A Visual History of 100 Years of African Womanhood
[كتاب البحث الأفريقي ]
Author: Catherine E. McKinley

What does it mean to tie your cloth to that of another person, as in the Ghanaian tradition, or to be in full dress? How is fashion photography in a colonial and decolonial context more than just a “look” but in fact a looking and a looking at? Most of us grew up with images of African women that were purely anthropological—bright displays of exotica where the deeper personhood seemed tucked away. Or they were chronicles of war and poverty—“poverty porn.” But now, curator Catherine E. McKinley draws on her extensive collection of historical and contemporary photos, spanning the 150-year arc of photography on the continent, to tell a different story of African women: how deeply cosmopolitan and modern they are in their style; how they were able to reclaim the tools of the colonial oppression that threatened their selfhood and livelihoods.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021.

In Search of Africa(s): Universalism and Decolonial Thought
[في سبيل البحث عن أفريقيا]
Authors: Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Jean-Loup Amselle

This important book by two leading scholars of Africa examines a series of issues that are central to the question of the postcolonial. The postcolonial paradigm, and the more recent decolonial paradigm, raise the issue of the universal: is the postcolonial the first phase of a new universalism, one which would be truly universal because it would be fully inclusive, or is it on the contrary the denial of all universalism, the triumph of the particular and of fragmentation? In addressing this issue Diagne and Amselle also tackle many related themes, such as the concepts of race, culture and identity, the role of languages in philosophy as practised in different cultural areas, the various conceptions of Islam, especially in West Africa, and the outlines of an Africa which can be thought of at the same time as singular and as plural. Each thinker looks back at his writings on these themes, comparing and contrasting them with those of his interlocutor. While Amselle seeks to expose the essentialist and culturalist logics that might underlie postcolonial and decolonial thought, Diagne consistently refuses to adopt the trappings of the Afrocentrist and particularist thinker. He argues instead for a total decentring of all thought, one that rejects all ‘centrisms’ and highlights instead branchings and connections, transfers, analogies and reciprocal influences between cultural places and intellectual fields that may be distant but are not distinct in space and time.
Publisher: Polity, 2020
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