Research Africa News: July 19th, 2021

Research Africa News: July 19th, 2021

KK and the USA
By Andy DeRoche

The less well-known, and complicated, story of Kenneth Kaunda’s central role in relations between Zambia and the United States.

When Kenneth David Kaunda died in Lusaka, Zambia on June 17, 2021, it marked the passing of the last of the great African nationalists who led the fight against racism and colonialism. Kaunda, known by all as “KK,” first emerged on the international stage in the 1950s as an organizer for the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress (NRANC). He rode around the vast northern province on his bicycle with his guitar in tow, giving speeches and singing freedom songs in scores of villages and thereby inspiring the locals to found NRANC branches. After serving time in prison for his activism, he emerged to take charge of the splinter United National Independence Party (UNIP) in 1960.
Read the rest of the article here.

Haiti Has Been Abandoned—by the Media, the US, and the World Human rights activist
Antoinette Duclaire’s murder is the latest for a country in chaos—where an obsession with elections obscures a complete absence of democracy or accountability.
By Amy Wilentz, JULY 6, 2021

The last time I was in Haiti, in December 2019, there had been several kidnappings before I arrived—and there would be many, many more after I left—but my two-week visit was blessedly free of kidnappings, murder, etc. Back then you could imagine you were semi-safe driving at night—if you had a car full of male friends driving behind you, and another one in front of you.
Read the rest of the article here.

A Libyan Revenant
Betrayed to his factional rivals by Saudi Arabia and left for dead, a Libyan militia commander got his chance at revenge.
BY Frederic Wehrey, July 14, 2021.

Early in the afternoon of June 25, 2017, Saudi authorities at the immigration counter at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah pulled aside for questioning two young Libyan men who were flying back to Libya after performing the umrah pilgrimage. At first, one of the men, who ran a religious tourism company, thought that the questioning would be related to an overstayed visa on a previous visit and therefore nothing to be overly alarmed about. In fact, the Saudis had stopped them because Egypt, Saudi Arabia’s ally, had placed the Libyans on a terrorism list months before, for their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood and their alleged earlier involvement in kidnapping Egyptian diplomats in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
Read the article here.

Racism and the equality delusion The real critical race theory
Tommy J. Curry |16th July 2021

We tend to think that racism will one day be overcome. But this belief in incremental progress isn’t shared by many black scholars. The much maligned and misunderstood founder of Critical Race Theory, Derrick Bell, pronounced racism a permanent feature of American society. His argument that the very foundations of liberal democracy in the United States make equality between white and black people impossible might be hard to accept, but it remains valid, writes Tommy Curry.
Read the research article here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Curriculum Reform: Initial Primary School Curriculum and Assessment Reform Experiences in Malawi
[إصلاح المناهج الدراسية: مناهج المدارس الابتدائية الأولية وتجارب إصلاح التقييم التعليمي في مالاوي]
Author: Wezzie Chiziwa

Countries worldwide are engaged in education reforms in trying to respond to certain issues ranging from socioeconomic to political and technological changes. Many countries around the world thus engage in various education reforms to deal with such challenges. Current curricular thoughts contend that the previous education did not prepare the learners with adequate knowledge and skills to deal with the everyday challenges and to enhance lifelong learning. In order to address the shortfalls of the previous curriculum, there has been a paradigm shift in the way education systems operate. Worldwide, countries are embracing the learner centred approach to the teaching and learning process as opposed to the traditional teacher centred approach. Another popular reform is Outcome Based Education (OBE). Malawi embraced OBE in its education system beginning with primary school followed by secondary school in 2001 and 2015 respectively.
Publisher:Livingstonia Press, Malawi, 2021.

At Penpoint: African Literatures, Postcolonial Studies, and the Cold War
[بالتحديد : الآداب الأفريقية ودراسات ما بعد الاستعمار والحرب الباردة ]
Author: Monica Popescu

In At Penpoint Monica Popescu traces the development of African literature during the second half of the twentieth century to address the intertwined effects of the Cold War and decolonization on literary history. Popescu draws on archival materials from the Soviet-sponsored Afro-Asian Writers Association and the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom alongside considerations of canonical literary works by Ayi Kwei Armah, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ousmane Sembène, Pepetela, Nadine Gordimer, and others. She outlines how the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union played out in the aesthetic and political debates among African writers and intellectuals. These writers decolonized aesthetic canons even as superpowers attempted to shape African cultural production in ways that would advance their ideological and geopolitical goals. Placing African literature at the crossroads of postcolonial theory and studies of the Cold War, Popescu provides a new reassessment of African literature, aesthetics, and knowledge production.
Publisher: Duke University Press, 2020.

My Night in Captivity: A Memoir
[ليلة في الأسر: مذكرة حياة]
Author: Christian Cardinal Wiyghan Tumi

In this gripping, lucid and succinct account, Cardinal Tumi, the retired Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Douala, Cameroon, invites readers into the dreary night of his captivity by “Amba Boys” – so-called liberation fighters seeking the restoration of the erstwhile British Southern Cameroons. Tumi recounts the circumstances, actors and intrigues leading up to his capture along with Fon Sehm Mbinglo I, the paramount traditional ruler of the Nso people. Find out how the Cardinal regained his freedom and his proposals on how to resolve the five-year conflict that has decimated the South West and North West Regions of Cameroon..
Publisher: Spears Media Press, Cameroon, 2021.

Creating Spaces of Hope: Young Artists and the New Imagination in Egypt
[ خلق فضاءات للأمل: الفنانون الشباب ومتطلبات الخيال الخلاق في مصر]
Author: Caroline Seymour-Jorn

It is now just over a decade since protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square started Egypt’s chapter in the events of the Arab Spring. Much has been made in western criticism of art and culture’s role in the revolution, but the everyday cultural production of studio artists, graffiti artists, musicians, and writers since has attracted less attention. How have artists responded personally and artistically to the political transformation ? What has social role of art been in these periods of transition and uncertainty? What are the aesthetic shifts and stylistic transformations present in the contemporary Egyptian art world?
Publisher: American University in Cairo Press, 2021.

Remnants of the Franco-Algerian Rupture: Archiving Postcolonial Minorities.
[ بقايا التفتق الفرنسي الجزائري: قراءات في أرشفة أقليات ما بعد الاستعمار]
Author: Mona El Khoury

At the end of French colonization in Algeria, four categories of people held French citizenship or had strong ties with France: European settlers, Jews, mixed-race individuals, and Harkis. The end of the War of Independence exiled most of them from Algeria, traumatized them in various ways, and transferred many to metropolitan France. Remnants of the Franco-Algerian Rupture: Archiving Postcolonial Minorities examines the legacies of these transnational identities through narratives that dissent from official histories, both in France and Algeria. This literature takes particular stories of exile and loss and constructs a memory around a Mosaic father figure embodying the native land, Algeria. Mona El Khoury argues that these filiation narratives create a postcolonial archive: a discursive foundation that makes historical minorities visible,while disrupting French and Algerian hegemonies. El Khoury questions the power of literature to repair history while contending that these literary strategies seek to do justice to the dead Algerian father, even as they valorize enduring minority identifications.
Publisher: Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2020.

Abdellah Taïa’s Queer Migrations: Non-Places, Affect, Temporalities.
[هجرات عبد الله طايع المغربي وأنشتطه المثلية: تأملات في اللامكانية ، التأثيرية ، الوقائعية]
Author (Editors): Denis M. Provencher and Siham Bouamer

In this first edited collection in English on Abdellah Taïa, Denis M. Provencher and Siham Bouamer frame the distinctiveness of the Moroccan author’s migration by considering current scholarship in French and Francophone studies, post-colonial studies, affect theory, queer theory, and language and sexuality. In contrast to critics that consider Taïa to immigrate and integrate successfully to France as a writer and intellectual, Provencher and Bouamer argue that the author’s writing is replete with elements of constant migration, “comings and goings,” cruel optimism, flexible accumulation of language over borders, transnational filiations, and new forms of belonging and memory making across time and space. At the same time, his constantly evolving identity emerges in many non-places, defined as liminal and border narrative spaces where unexpected and transgressive new forms of belonging emerge without completely shedding shame, mourning, or melancholy.
Publisher: Lexington Books, 2021.

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Research Africa (research_africa-editor@duke.edu) welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (research_africa@duke.edu).

Research Africa News: September 29th, 2021

Research Africa News: September 29th, 2021

In Memoriam: distinguished Professor Charles W. Mills, a philosopher who changed the conversation about race in the U.S.
The Graduate Center community is immensely saddened by the passing of Distinguished Professor Charles W. Mills (Philosophy) who died on September 20, 2021, at age 70 after battling cancer. He was an esteemed scholar and treasured colleague and mentor whose loss is deeply felt. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.
Read the research article here.

No One’s Memory: Blackness at the Limits of Comparative Slavery No One’s Memory: Blackness at the Limits of Comparative Slavery
Parisa Vaziri, Cornell University

“If it is true that historical knowledge demands that its object be isolated and withdrawn from any libidinal investment come from the historian, then it is certain that the only result of this way of ‘putting down’ [rédiger] history would be to ‘put it down’ [réduire].” [1]
In this paper, I reflect upon a series of patterns in Indian Ocean slavery historiography. My claim is that historiography’s inheritance of disciplinary authority about the truth of race is unearned, unthought. In cataloguing the recurring tropes of comparison between Indian Ocean slavery and its putative foil, Atlantic slavery, I argue that repeating comparisons express a stewing tension between Indian Ocean and Atlantic slavery historiography.
Read the research article here.

‘The Last Nomad’: Somali refugee, soccer mom, and everything in between
Ryan Lenora Brown Staff writer, August 30, 2021

The Malian writer Amadou Hampâté Bâ famously wrote that “in Africa, when an old man dies, a library burns down.” Shugri Said Salh found herself haunted by those words. She had grown up in a nomadic community in Somalia, but she was raising her three children in California on an all-American diet of soccer practices, piano lessons, and playdates. She loved the life she had given them, but she also didn’t want them to lose track of where they had come from.

Read the rest of the article here.

Universities Say They Want More Diverse Faculties. So Why Is Academia Still So White?
By J. Nathan Matias, Neil Lewis Jr. and Elan Hope Graphics by Jasmine Mithani Filed under Higher Education Published Sep. 7, 2021

When she was hired as a professor by Harvard University in 2013, Lorgia García Peña was the only Black Latina on a tenure track in the university’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. But in 2019, she was denied tenure even though her department chair and two deans had told her that she should apply for early tenure. Her tenure committee also unanimously recommended she be promoted, and another committee above that endorsed its recommendation.
Read the rest of the article here.

Why are coups making a comeback in Africa?
Analysis by Remi Adekoya, for CNN Updated 3:47 AM ET, Mon September 13, 2021

In just over a year, Africa has experienced three successful coups (two in Mali and one more recently in Guinea), one unsuccessful coup attempt in Niger, and an arbitrary military transfer of power in Chad following the assassination of its president. These power grabs threaten a reversal of the democratization process Africa has undergone in the past two decades and a return to the era of coups as the norm.
Read the article here.

Helmi Sharawy’s Critique of Racial and Colonial Paradigms in Egyptian African Studies
Zeyad el Nabolsy, Cornell University
This paper seeks to understand how conceptions of essential differences between “Egypt” and North Africa more broadly on the one hand, and “Sub-Saharan Africa” on the other hand have informed African studies in Egypt. It is commonly claimed that most Egyptians do not think of themselves as Africans; in this paper I aim to explore how this popular self-understanding has both informed African studies in Egypt and has been affected by academic discourses.
Read the research article here.

After Kabul, is Mogadishu next?
Makau Mutua, September 25, 2021

I’ve been mercilessly pilloried in the past when I’ve suggested the Somali state is nonsense on stilts that should be unwound, or dismembered. I understand the patriotic jingoism and the pain my Somali brethren must feel when I utter this bitter truth. I would see red too, and curse the speaker. But facts are stubborn things. Undeniable
Read the research article here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Babingo: the Noble Rebel
[بابينجو: المتمرد النبيل]
Author: Moussibahou Mazou

In Pointe-Noire of the 1950’s lived Paul Makouta, a “civilized” and westernized native who was very proud of communicating exclusively in French with Madeleine Mamatouka, his wife, Alex his only son, and the other children of his household. Under no circumstance did Makouta allow the members of his family speak the language of Metropolitan France with the slightest trace of a Bantu accent. Again, anyone who dared speak Kituba, an indigenous language, with the family’s domestic staff was liable to severe reprimand. Clearly, the father’s intransigence was at odds with the communicative practices in the neighborhood and of children commuting daily to school. Little did Alex Babingo realize that his initial acceptance of the irrationality of the father’s prohibition in colonized Congo was only the start of a trajectory which, from the other side of the world, would impel his return to the very roots of his culture and ancestral traditions in the now independent Republic of Congo or Congo-Brazzaville.
Publisher: Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana, 2021.

Your Sons Are at Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad
[أبناؤكم تحت خدمتكم: نداء الجهاديين في تونس]
Author: Danny Adeno Abebe

Tunisia became one of the largest sources of foreign fighters for the Islamic State—even though the country stands out as a democratic bright spot of the Arab uprisings and despite the fact that it had very little history of terrorist violence within its borders prior to 2011. This book highlights the longer-term causes that affected jihadi recruitment in Tunisia, including the prior history of Tunisians joining jihadi organizations and playing key roles in far-flung parts of the world over the past four decades. He contends that the jihadi group Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia was able to take advantage of the universal prisoner amnesty, increased openness, and the lack of governmental policy toward it after the revolution. In turn, this provided space for greater recruitment and subsequent mobilization to fight abroad once the Tunisian government cracked down on the group in 2013. Zelin marshals cutting-edge empirical findings, extensive primary source research, and on-the-ground fieldwork, including a variety of documents in Arabic going as far back as the 1980s and interviews with Ansar al-Sharia members and Tunisian fighters returning from Syria.
Publisher: Columbia University Press, 2020.

Travel and the Pan African Imagination
[الترحال وصناعة الخيال الأفريقي]
Author: Tracy Keith Flemming

Travel and the Pan African Imagination explores the African Atlantic world as a productive theater or space where modernity, racialized dominance, and racialized resistance took form. The book stresses the importance of placing three Atlantic figures—the Charleston, South Carolina-based armed resistance leader Denmark Vesey; the West African emigration advocate, Edward Wilmot Blyden; and the Christian missionary and teacher in Liberia as well as the United States, Alexander Crummell—within an Atlantic context and as African world community figures between the late-eighteenth and early-twentieth centuries. The book also examines the religious origins of Black Power ideology and modern Pan Africanism as products of the intense dialogue within the African world community about concepts of modernity, progress, and civilization.
Publisher: Lexington Books, 2021.

Islamic Scholarship in Africa: New Directions and Global Contexts
[المعارف الإسلامية في إفريقيا: أفق جديدة جديدة ومحاورعالمية]
Author: Ousmane Oumar Kane (editor)

In 1937, Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, travelling to Mecca to make his first hajj, encountered Egyptian scholars who couldn’t fathom that Niasse’s erudition was a product of his fully Senegalese education. This book presents a state-of-the-art volume that seeks to pulverize that blind spot. Authors underscore the contributions of Black Muslim scholars to Islamic knowledge, the global connections that have long tied sub-Saharan Africa to the global Islamic world, the ways that orality and textuality interact with each other historically and up through to the social media age, in addition to exploring debates around education, spirituality, and Ajami. In the interview, we discuss Kane’s scholarly journey and the greater intellectual project of bridging the knowledge divide separating “Europhone” and “non-Europhone” scholars in the study of Islam in Africa.
Publisher: James Currey, 2021, 2021.

From Africa To Zion: The Shepherd Boy Who Became Israel’s First Ethiopian-born Journalist
[من إفريقيا إلى بني صهيون: الراعي الصغير الذي أصبح أول صحفي إسرائيلي مولود في إثيوبيا ]
Author: Danny Adeno Abebe

In 1984, in an unprecedented act of brotherhood, Israel airlifted thousands of persecuted and starving Ethiopian Jews from Africa to Israel. They had been waiting in Ethiopia for millennia, sustained by the hope to return home to the Holy Land. Among the refugees was an 8-year-old boy, Danny Adeno Abebe. Now an Israeli journalist, Abebe tells the story of his family and his village, and the journey they traveled from Ethiopia through Sudan to Israel, and the even longer distance from a rural village life without indoor plumbing, electricity, or books, to a modern society. Many who left the villages did not survive the hardships of the journey, and many of those who did reach the Promised Land were emotionally wounded in the process. In his new country, Adeno Abebe encountered rejection as well as embrace. He experienced both astonishing support and appalling prejudice. As he matured, he recognized that both attitudes exist among his former countrymen in Africa, as well.
Publisher: Miskal Publishing – Yedioth Books, 2021.

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Research Africa (research_africa-editor@duke.edu) welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (research_africa@duke.edu).

Research Africa News: June 25th, 2021

Research Africa News: June 25th, 2021

”The Dialectics of Maguphilia and Maguphobia”
By Issa Shivji Professor Emeritus, University of Dar Es Salaam
Codesria Bulletin online, N°13, June 2021

CODESRIA has been keen to analyse emerging trends in Africa and beyond. We have previously shared reflections on Mali and provided analyses of elections in Uganda and Ghana, to name but these few. In this CODESRIA Bulletin Online, we share with you Prof. Issa Shivji’s engaging study on “The Dialectics of Maguphilia and Maguphobia.” Terming Magufuli as a political phenomenon, he documents how its ‘messianic Bonaparte’ character emerged out of the history of party politics in Tanzania and concludes with a stark lesson for the working people – they are on their own and cannot wait for a messiah to deliver them..
Read the rest of the article here.

Why has Europe’s Past Become Africa’s Postcolonial Present? Reflections on Mahmood Mamdani’s Ideas on Decolonising the Political Community
By Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni Chair, Epistemologies of the Global South, University of Bayreuth, Germany

The leading Ugandan intellectual, Mahmood Mamdani, has since the publication of his seminal book Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (1996) been making cutting-edge interventions in understanding how Europe ruled Africa, how colonialists dealt with what they called the ‘native question’, how colonial governmentality interpellated African nationalism and shaped African political consciousness, how colonialism manufactured problematic, antagonistic and racially hierarchised political identities, how the legacy of late colonialism lives on in postcolonial Africa long after the dismantlement of the physical empire, and indeed how to make sense of conflicts and violence including genocides.
Read the rest of the article at CODESRIA.

Newly discovered cathedral in Dongola – Polish research in Sudan Archaeologists working in Old Dongola (Sudan) found the remains of what may be the largest church known from medieval Nubia.
BY J. Chyla 31 MAY 2021

Newly discovered cathedral could have been the seat of an archbishop governing the church hierarchy over a 1000 km-long stretch along the Nile, between the 1st and 5th cataracts. The archbishop of Dongola oversaw the bishop of Faras, whose cathedral with its famous wall paintings was discovered by Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski 60 years ago.
Read the article here.

The Black Body As A Moving Ancestral Archive
By Wanelisa Xaba, MAY 20, 2021.

My thoughts about the body as a moving ancestral archive were prompted by the fire at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Or rather, by my disappointment at Black people’s response to the fire that destroyed indigenous archives at the African Studies Library. As I waded through the collective Black middle class (?) despair on my social media timeline, I was overwhelmed with anger..
Read the research article here.

Sudan’s ‘forgotten’ pyramids risk being buried by shifting sand dunes June
The Conversation, 14, 2021

The word “pyramid” is synonymous with Egypt, but it is actually neighbouring Sudan that is home to the world’s largest collection of these spectacular ancient structures.
Beginning around 2500BC, Sudan’s ancient Nubian civilisation left behind more than 200 pyramids that rise out of the desert across three archaeological sites: El Kurru, Jebel Barkal and Meroe, in addition to temples, tombs and royal burial chambers.
Read the rest of the story here.

River Nile dam: Egypt new African allies
By Jennifer Aldric, June 24, 2021.

Armed forces of Egypt and Sudan complete a joint military exercise in southern Kardavan province, Sudan on May 31, 2021 Egypt is trying to strengthen its diplomatic and military clout in Africa amid an escalating dispute with Ethiopia over the building of a huge dam on a tributary of the River Nile, writes Egypt analyst Magdi Abdelhadi. The Egyptian Geographic Society, established in 1875, houses some valuable manuscripts that reflect Egypt’s long-standing interest in sub-Saharan Africa.
Read the rest of the story here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

From #Rhodesmustfall Movements to #Humansmustfall Movements: African Liberation Movements in the Age of the Transhumanist Geographies of Death
[من مقاومة الى أخري: حركات التحرير الأفريقية في عصر جغرافيات الموت وعهد ما بعد الإنسانية]
Author: (editors) Bornway Mwanyara Chiripanhura, Artwell Nhemachena, and Jairos Kangira

Might it be possible that the world is being migrated into an era where the imperial periphery will be increasingly governed through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics designed to replace human beings? Celebrated as efficient, strong, unfailing, tireless, precise and beyond corruption, AI and robots are set to replace African leaders who are imperially deemed to be and consistently condemned as corrupt, failed, weak and inefficient. But, if these AI and robots are neo-imperial tools and machinations, the million-dollar question is whether empire is not returning to recolonise the [supposedly inefficient] Africans via the new technologies and machinism? Where Africans once celebrated their liberation war movements, empire has emplaced what it calls liberation technologies designed to supposedly liberate African youths from their own states and governments led by liberation movements. Where Africans once celebrated their liberation war movements, empire has placed its own NGOs/CSOs spewing liberal ideologies designed to ostensibly liberate African youths from their own supposedly failed and corrupt states and government leaders. With African youths/citizens allying not with their liberation movements but with the liberation technologies and liberal NGOs/CSOs, it is not surprising why African citizens oppose their states-led Fast-Track Land Redistribution Programmes while ironically they happily celebrate Fast-Tracked COVID-19 Vaccines.
Publisher: Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon, 2021.

Sites of Contestation: Encounters with the Ernst and Ruth Dammann Collection in the Archives of the Basler Afrika Bibliographien
[ساحات الاحتكاك: دروس من أرشيفات مجموعة إرنست وروث داممان]
Author: Julia Rensing, Lorena Rizzo, Wanda Rutishauser

This book is a collection of essays written by emerging scholars at the University of Basel on the basis of their subjective encounters with a specific archival collection housed in the Basler Afrika Bibliographien in Basel. The Ernst and Ruth Dammann collection consists of around 8100 images, 750 audio recordings and numerous manuscripts, diaries and notes. The German couple conducted research on Namibian oral literatures and languages as they were spoken and performed across the country in the early 1950s. Based on in-depth engagement with the textual, visual and audio records assembled in this intricate collection, the authors of this book critically interrogated the implications of opening a colonial archive, exploring alternative ways of reading and understanding the historical material. As unique examples of close reading and listening, the essays propose creative ways of attending to the politics of race, gender, famine, ethnography, biography and fiction in colonial knowledge production.
Publisher: Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Namibia, 2021.

Quranic Schools in Northern Nigeria: Everyday Experiences of Youth, Faith, and Poverty
[عن المدارس القرآنية في شمال نيجريا]
Author: Hannah Hoechner

This book offers an alternative perspective on youth, faith, and poverty. Mobilizing insights from scholarship on education, poverty research and childhood and youth studies, Hannah Hoechner, lecturer at the School of International Development, University of East Anglia, describes how religious discourses can moderate feelings of inadequacy triggered by experiences of exclusion, and how Qur’anic school enrollment offers a way forward in constrained circumstances, even though it likely reproduces poverty in the long run. In our conversation we discuss the rural economy of Northern Nigeria, educational options for young boys, the activities of the Qur’anic school, how boys support themselves through domestic service, youth masculinity, poverty and economic instability, politics of respectability, the “prayer economy” and spiritual services, and participatory research and video production.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

The Invention of the Maghreb
[اختراع المغرب العربي ]
Author: Abdelmajid Hannoum

Under French colonial rule, the region of the Maghreb emerged as distinct from two other geographical entities that, too, are colonial inventions: the Middle East and Africa. In this book, Abdelmajid Hannoum demonstrates how the invention of the Maghreb started long before the conquest of Algiers and lasted until the time of independence, and beyond, to our present. Through an interdisciplinary study of French colonial modernity, Hannoum examines how colonialism made extensive use of translations of Greek, Roman, and Arabic texts and harnessed high technologies of power to reconfigure the region and invent it. In the process, he analyzes a variety of forms of colonial knowledge including historiography, anthropology, cartography, literary work, archaeology, linguistics, and racial theories. He shows how local engagement with colonial politics and its modes of knowledge were instrumental in the modern making of the region, including in its postcolonial era, as a single unit divorced from Africa and from the Middle East. Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

The Outside: Migration As Life in Morocco
[من النوادر: الهجرة كطريقة للحياة في المغرب]
Author: Alice Elliot

The Outside: Migration as Life in Morocco (Indiana UP, 2021) traces how migration has come to occupy a striking place in the lives of many Moroccans. A full 10 percent of the population now lives outside the country, affecting individual and collective life in countless unanticipated ways. In this intimate ethnography of rural Morocco, Alice Elliot considers the experience of migration from the point of view of the families and people, mostly women, who have not (yet) left. Elliot shows how the specter of migration has permeated life, from kinship relations to intimacy between spouses and to the imagination of the future. The Outside seeks to answer the question, what is migration when it becomes the very foundation on which forms of social and individual life are built? New understandings of migration emerge through its intimate textures as Elliot shows how it has become, in some parts of the world, a distinctive condition of everyday life..
Publisher: Indiana University Press, 2021.

Charles de Foucauld’s Reconnaissance au Maroc, 1883–1884: A Critical Edition in English [ استطلاعات شارل دي فوكو في المغرب ، 1883-1884]
Author: Rosemary A. Peters-Hill

This book seeks to turn that model on its head. Rosemary Peters-Hill provides an in-depth examination of the year Foucauld spent exploring Morocco in 1883–1884, after he had resigned his army commission and taught himself Arabic and Hebrew. This book is more than merely a translation: it is a meticulously researched and documented critical edition that addresses the history of nineteenth-century French colonial endeavors and Moroccan resistance to them; cultural traditions and spaces within the closed country where Foucauld sojourned; the intersections of language, politics, and economics with religion; the praxis of Arabic and Berber interactions and the ways in which official cartographies neglect local knowledge of tribal and seasonal rituals; and the failures of Empire when it comes to defining or delimiting national identity.
Publisher: Anthem Press; Critical edition, 2021.

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Research Africa (research_africa-editor@duke.edu) welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (research_africa@duke.edu).

Research Africa News: May 26th, 2021

Research Africa News: May 26th, 2021
Matters of Obsession: A Sudanese artist’s journey to find his place in the world By Mary Corrigall, 20 May 2021

The fifty-something Sudanese artist, Hussein Salim, attributes the paucity of texts about him to his terrible grasp on English. He has shied away from interviews. In truth, the unique turns of phrase he utters and his economy of language in relaying the essence of his life journey – there are no spare words for idle chatter – add to his charm and make his story more compelling.
Read the rest of the article here.

Cairo in crisis: The Republic of False Truths,
By Alaa Al Aswany, reviewed The story of Egypt’s 2011 revolution is seen through the eyes of various Cairenes, both for and against
From magazine issue: 15 May 2021

Certain novels complicate the very notion of literary enjoyment. This, by the author of the international bestseller The Yacoubian Building, is such a one. Despite its gripping narrative, compelling structure and vivid characters, every time I picked it up it was with a sinking heart. In telling the story of the Egyptian revolution of 2011 through the viewpoint of a variety of Cairenes both for and against, Alaa Al Aswany holds out the slender straw of hope against the slashing shears of repression.
Read the rest of the article here.

The Marathon Men Who Can’t Go Home
In the north Bronx, a small group of elite Ethiopian runners struggle to survive. The persecution they fled was far more harrowing.
By David Alm, Photography by George Grullon, May 21, 2021

Tadesse Yae Dabi lined up with around three dozen other runners at the foot of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island. He held his arms close to his chest and bounced on his toes to stay warm. Even after three and a half years, he wasn’t used to the chill of a mid-fall morning in the American Northeast. Back home, in the farmland of central Ethiopia, it never got so cold. Overhead, helicopters filled the air with their deafening whir. Behind him, more than 50,000 people waited to chase the elite field through the five boroughs in the 2019 New York City Marathon.
Read the article here.

NBA teams up with Dikembe Mutombo and former stars to form NBA Africa, which will run Basketball Africa League Basketball Africa League is currently in its inaugural season Jasmyn Wimbish
By Jasmyn Wimbish, May 24, 2021.

The NBA on Monday announced the creation of a new entity called NBA Africa. It will be in charge of the league’s business in Africa, including the Basketball Africa League (BAL), which is in the midst of its first season after getting postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league has partnered with several high-profile investors to form NBA Africa, including former players Dikembe Mutombo, Junior Bridgeman, Luol Deng, Grant Hill and Joakim Noah.
Read the research article here.

Yet More Proof That Academic Publishing Has Become a Scam
By Daniel Lattier, May 25, 2017.

In it, I pointed out what is commonly known among university professors today, namely, that most of the “peer-reviewed” essays and books they write are read by an extremely small handful of people (like 5-10, half of whom are probably sycophantic graduate students). The principal reason they keep churning them out is the familiar maxim of “publish or perish”—a publication provides two lines on a CV that helps ensure tenure, or at the very least a vanity hit to convince professors of their continued relevance.
Read the rest of the story here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Best “New” African Poets Anthology, 2020
[مختارات الشعراء الأفارقة “الجدد” لعام 2020]
Author: (Editors)/ Tendai Rinos Mwanaka, Balddine Moussa, Lorna Telma Zita

Best New African Poets 2020 Anthology has over 352 pieces from 140 African poets from among other African countries: Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Comoros, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroun, Namibia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana etc, and those of African Diasporas in Portugal, Brazil, the UK, USA, China, etc.
Publisher: Mwanaka Media and Publishing, Zimbabwe, 2021.

Salafism and Political Order in Africa
[السلفية والنظام السياسي في أفريقيا]
Authors: Sebastian Elischer

Violent Islamic extremism is affecting a growing number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In some, jihadi Salafi organizations have established home bases and turned into permanent security challengers. However, other countries have managed to prevent the formation or curb the spread of homegrown jihadi Salafi organizations. In this book, Sebastian Elischer provides a comparative analysis of how different West and East African states have engaged with fundamentalist Muslim groups between the 1950s and today. In doing so, he establishes a causal link between state-imposed organizational gatekeepers in the Islamic sphere and the absence of homegrown jihadi Salafism. Illustrating that the contemporary manifestation of violent Islamic extremism in sub-Saharan Africa is an outcome of strategic political decisions that are deeply embedded in countries’ autocratic pasts, he challenges conventional notions of statehood on the African continent, and provides new insight into the evolving relationships between secular and religious authority..
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Naked Agency: Genital Cursing and Biopolitics in Africa.
[التفويض الأعزل: لعنة اللأعضاء التناسلية والحياة السياسية في إفريقيا]
Author: Naminata Diabate

What provocations are posed by a naked woman’s body? What does it mean to those who see her? And what does it signify for the woman herself, in the moment and in memory? In this book, Naminata Diabate recovers the deep historical roots for women’s embodied agency in political action across the African continent. She examines instances of women’s insurgent disrobing in 23 African countries from 1920-2018 and considers the multivalence of ‘genital cursing’ as a means of protest. Diabate’s intervention incorporates visual arts, narrative films and documentaries, alongside newspaper coverage and literary fiction in many languages, to reconstruct the significance of women’s embodied agency and the threat that nakedness posed to established authorities..
Publisher: Duke University Press, 2020.

Dynamism in African Languages and Literature: Towards Conceptualisation of African Potentials
[الحيوية في الآداب واللغات الأفريقية]
Author: (Ediors) Keiko Takemura, Francis B. Nyamnjoh

The book provides novel perspectives towards conceptualisation of African Potentials. It explores diverse and dynamic aspects of linguistic communications in Africa, ranging from convivial multilingual practices to literal and musical arts. The book reflects the diversity and ever-changing dynamism in the African sociolinguistic sphere, that is, metalinguistic discourse in East Africa, sociolinguistic dynamism in Angola, conflict reconciliation speech performed in Ethiopia, and syncretic urban linguistic code called Sheng in Kenya. The volume also explores multi-dimensional relationships between literary arts and the society by investigating such topics as traditional Swahili poetry, publication of children books in Benin, and transformation and reconstruction of Yoruba popular music. The book elucidates dynamic process of creation through mixing of traditional and foreign elements of culture
Publisher: Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon, 2021.

France’s Wars in Chad
[حروب فرنسا في تشاد]
Author: Nathaniel K. Powell

Examining the continuous French military interventions in Chad in the two decades after its independence, this study demonstrates how France’s successful counterinsurgency efforts to protect the regime of François Tombalbaye would ultimately weaken the Chadian state and encourage Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi to intervene. In covering the subsequent French efforts to counter Libyan ambitions and the rise to power of Hissène Habré, one of postcolonial Africa’s most brutal dictators, Nathaniel K. Powell demonstrates that French strategies aiming to prevent the collapse of authoritarian regimes had the opposite effect, exacerbating violent conflicts and foreign interventions in Chad and further afield. Based on extensive archival research to trace the causes, course, and impact of French interventions in Chad, this study offers insights and lessons for current interveners – including France – fighting a ‘war on terrorism’ in the Sahel whose strategies and impact parallel those of France in the 1960s–1980s.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Becoming Rwandan: Education, Reconciliation, and the Making of a Post-Genocide Citizen.
[كيف تصنع رواندا: التعليم والمصالحة الوطنية وصياغة نوعية المواطن فيما بعد الإبادة الجماعية]
Author: S. Garnett Russel.

argues that although the Rwandan government makes use of global discourses in national policy documents, the way in which teachers and students engage with these global models distorts the curricular intentions of the government, resulting in unintended consequences and an undermining of sustainable peace. She is assistant professor of international and comparative education and the director of the George Clement Bond Center for African Education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.
Publisher: Rutgers University Press, 2020.

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Research Africa (research_africa-editor@duke.edu) welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (research_africa@duke.edu).

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.
Read the rest of the article here.

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
ALEKSA VUČKOVIĆ, 18 MARCH, 2021

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!
Read the rest of the story here.

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.
Read the rest of the story here.

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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Research Africa (research_africa-editor@duke.edu) welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (research_africa@duke.edu).

Research Africa News: January 24th, 2021

Research Africa News: January 24th, 2021

Rethinking African Studies: Four Challenges and the Case for Comparative African Studies

By Matthias BasedauFirst Published November 17, 2020 (Research Article)

This article takes stock of the state of African Studies and argues that (1) research on Africa is strongly dominated by outside, non-African, mostly Western views; (2) there is a tendency towards undifferentiated views on “Africa,” which usually concentrate on negative aspects, overlooking progress in many areas; (3) methodologies that focus on causal identification are rarely used; and (4) the field focuses on micro-perspectives while few works examine the big picture and the longue durée. The article then argues that Comparative African Studies, which builds upon the concept of Comparative Area Studies, can address some of these challenges.

Read the research article here.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: “Europe and the West must also be decolonised”

We talk with one of the leading voices of contemporary African literature about linguistic imperialism and the importance of decolonising minds and the imagination.

By Tania Adam 10 SEPTEMBER 2019

Writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o has always questioned the literary tradition written in colonial languages, analysing the dynamics and the functioning off colonised societies and their relationship with the colonisers. Thiong’o defends the mother tongue as a weapon against linguistic imperialism, and recommends decolonising minds and the imagination, in Africa and Europe alike. We talk with him on the occasion of the publication in Catalan of his book La revolució vertical (Raig Verd, 2019).

Read the rest of the story here.

Performing Modernity

By Rafia Zakaria, December 11

THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES has worked long and hard at looking like the West—even better than the best. The world’s tallest building, with its glistening spire, looms over the shoreline of the gleaming city of Dubai, proof of the Emiratis’ technocratic zeal. The streets are clean; a brown or black person is always nearby to pick up any errant piece of litter. For entertainment, there are bars and clubs where liquor flows much like it does in New York or London or any place that draws the young and the affluent. Blazing lights shine from malls full of wares from around the world: perfumes that cost hundreds of dollars, couture houses that make their own statement by refusing to pin prices, cars that cost more than a small suburban home in the American Midwest.

Read the rest of the story here.

Becoming Kwame Ture

By Roape -December 15, 2020

In Guinea, doors fly open at the mere mention of Kwame Ture’s name. A senior government minister met me within a few hours’ notice. And when I arrived at Villa Syli to meet a member of Sékou Touré’s old party, the PDG (Parti démocratique de Guinée), I was unexpectedly ushered into a luxurious salon, where I was instead met by Hadja Touré, the former president’s wife. Now in her eighties, she sat on a red and gold wooden carved chair, at the centre of a discussion with three men dressed in expensive fabrics cut in traditional styles. I recognised one of the men as the brother of the Senegalese radical Omar Blondin Diop. Hadja Touré acknowledged me with a deft nod of the head, as I tried to find the most appropriate French expression for the occasion..

Read the rest of the story here.

Eager to Appropriate On the Supreme Court decisions that created “Indian Country.”

By Mahmood Mamdani, November 30, 2020

In the early period of American colonization, there was no reference to a place called Indian country. That is because every place was Indian country. Settlers in Maine rented land from Indians. In the Dutch and English colonies, settlers purchased land from Indians, either wholesale or piecemeal.

Read the rest of the story here.

Studying Religion in and from Africa

By Birgit Meyer, December 11, 2020

Featured as the continent of religion par excellence, Africa is often situated in contrast to Europe, where religion – especially Christianity – is in decline. There certainly is some truth to such a view. Over and over again, when I touched ground again in Ghana in the course of my longstanding research since the late 1980s, I have been amazed by the strong public presence of preachers and prophets, loud religious soundscapes and colorful proliferation of visual signs, including posters, stickers, advertisements, motto’s on shops and mini-buses, and so on. Gradually getting used to this situation during my stay, upon returning home in turn I would be rather surprised about the relative invisibility of religion over here.

Read the rest of the story here.

‘Africapitalism’ and the limits of any variant of capitalism

By Roape, July 16, 2020

In a contribution to ROAPE’s debate on capitalism in Africa, Stefan Ouma provides a critical account of Africapitalism as well as an assessment of the future/s it imagines, what it silences and its potential to transform African economies. Ouma concludes that the ecologically destructive and dehumanizing architecture of our global economic system provides further evidence to condemn any variant of capitalism.

Read the rest of the story here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

The Social and Political Thought of Archie Mafeje: A Pan-African Social Scientist Ahead of His Time.

[الفكر الاجتماعي والسياسي لدى أرتشي مافيجي: العالم الاجتماعي البانأفرقاني الذي جاء قبل عصره.]

Author: Bongani Nyoka

Social scientist Archie Mafeje, who was born in the Eastern Cape but lived most of his scholarly life in exile, was one of Africa’s most prominent intellectuals. This groundbreaking book is the first to consider the entire body of Mafeje’s oeuvre and offers much needed engagement with his ideas. The most inclusive and critical treatment to date of Mafeje as a thinker and researcher, it does not aim to be a biography, but rather offers an analysis of his overall scholarship and his role as a theoretician of liberation and revolution in Africa. Bongani Nyoka argues that Mafeje’s superb scholarship developed out of both his experience as an oppressed black person and his early political education. These, merged with his university training, turned him into a formidable cutting-edge intellectual force. Nyoka begins with an evaluation of Mafeje’s critique of the social sciences; his focus then shifts to Mafeje’s work on land and agrarian issues in sub-Saharan Africa, before finally dealing with his work on revolutionary theory and politics. By bringing Mafeje’s work to the fore, Nyoka engages in an act of knowledge decolonisation, thus making a unique contribution to South studies in sociology, history and politics.

Publisher: Wits University Press, 2020.

Sea Level: A Portrait of Zanzibar

[مناظر حول البحر: صورة من زنجبار]

Author: Sarah Markes

Sea Level is a creative celebration of Zanzibar’s rich and fascinating heritage as seen today. Captured in drawings by artist and designer Sarah Markes, this is a unique and personal portrait of Stone Town’s colourful streets, and a portrayal of the island’s natural beauty and culture. It is also a plea for recognition of the threats posed to Zanzibar’s heritage and the inestimable value of conserving it.

Publisher: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Tanzania, 2020.

Decolonization and Afro-Feminism

[قراءات حول التحرر من الاستعمار وفكرة النسوية الافريقية]

Author: Sylvia Tamale

Why do so many Africans believe they cannot break the “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” cycle? Six decades after colonial flags were lowered and African countries gained formal independence, the continent struggles to free itself from the deep legacies of colonialism, imperialism and patriarchy. Many intellectuals, politicians, feminists and other activists, eager to contribute to Africa’s liberation, have frustratingly felt like they took the wrong path. Analyzed through the eyes of Afro-Feminism, this book revisits some of the fundamental preconditions needed for radical transformation. It challenges the traditional human rights paradigm and its concomitant idea of “gender equality,” flagging instead, the African philosophy of Ubuntu as a serious alternative for reinvigorating African notions of social justice. If you are a student of Africa or in a space where you wish to recalibrate your compass and reboot your consciousness in the struggle for Africa’s liberation, this book is for you.

Publisher: Daraja Press, Canada, 2020.

Nigeria’s Soldiers of Fortune: The Abacha and Obasanjo Years

[جنود نيجيريا الأثرياء: سنوات أباتشا وأوباسانجو]

Author: Max Siollun.

In the cataclysmic decade that is the focus of this book, Nigeria was subject to several near-death experiences. These began when the country nearly tore itself apart after the northern-led military government annulled the results of a 1993 presidential election won by the southerner Moshood Abiola, and ended with former military ruler General Olusegun Obasanjo being the unlikely conduit of democracy. This mini-history of a nation’s life also reflects on three mesmerizing protagonists who personified that era. First up is Abiola: the multi-billionaire businessman who had his election victory voided by the generals who made him rich, and who was later assassinated. General Sani Abacha was the mysterious, reclusive ruler under whose watch Abiola was arrested and pro-democracy activists (including Abiola’s wife) were murdered. He also oversaw a terrifying Orwellian state security operation. Although Abacha is today reviled as a tyrant, the author eschews selective amnesia, reminding Nigerians that they goaded him into seizing power. The third protagonist is Obasanjo, who emerged from prison to return to power as an elected civilian leader.

Publisher: Hurst, 2019.

Village Gone Viral: Understanding the Spread of Policy Models in a Digital Age

[حين تصبح القرية حديث الانترنت: انتشار أنماط السياسات العامة في العصر الرقمي]

Author: Marit Tolo Østebø

In 2001, Ethiopian Television aired a documentary about a small, rural village called Awra Amba, where women ploughed, men worked in the kitchen, and so-called harmful traditional practices did not exist. The documentary radically challenged prevailing images of Ethiopia as a gender-conservative and aid-dependent place, and Awra Amba became a symbol of gender equality and sustainable development in Ethiopia and beyond. Village Gone Viral uses the example of Awra Amba to consider the widespread circulation and use of modeling practices in an increasingly transnational and digital policy world. With a particular focus on traveling models—policy models that become “viral” through various vectors, ranging from NGOs and multilateral organizations to the Internet—Marit Tolo Østebø critically examines the hidden dimensions of models and model making. While a policy model may be presented as a “best practice,” one that can be scaled up and successfully applied to other places, the local impacts of the model paradigm are far more ambivalent—potentially increasing social inequalities, reinforcing social stratification, and concealing injustice. With this book, Østebø ultimately calls for a reflexive critical anthropology of the production, circulation, and use of models as instruments for social change.

Publisher: Stanford University Press, 2021.

The Implicated Subject Beyond Victims and Perpetrators

[الرعايا المتورطون: حوارمابعد محوري الضحايا والجناة]

Author: Michael Rothberg

When it comes to historical violence and contemporary inequality, none of us are completely innocent. We may not be direct agents of harm, but we may still contribute to, inhabit, or benefit from regimes of domination that we neither set up nor control. Arguing that the familiar categories of victim, perpetrator, and bystander do not adequately account for our connection to injustices past and present, Michael Rothberg offers a new theory of political responsibility through the figure of the implicated subject. The Implicated Subject builds on the comparative, transnational framework of Rothberg’s influential work on memory to engage in reflection and analysis of cultural texts, archives, and activist movements from such contested zones as transitional South Africa, contemporary Israel/Palestine, post-Holocaust Europe, and a transatlantic realm marked by the afterlives of slavery. As these diverse sites of inquiry indicate, the processes and histories illuminated by implicated subjectivity are legion in our interconnected world.

Publisher: Stanford University Press, 2019.

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Research Africa (research_africa-editor@duke.edu) welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next edition.

Research Africa News: February 28th , 2021

Research Africa News: February 28th , 2021

Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator.

Building on a 70-year history of innovating for children, UNICEF has partnered with Duke University to identify the world’s most pressing challenges for youth today—and to find the bold minds who can come up with the solutions. By pairing UNICEF’s commitment to children and global reach with Duke’s expertise in social innovation, the Innovation Accelerator will make a real and lasting difference in the lives of children around the world. Teams accepted into the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator will receive funding, mentorship, and other capacity building support from Duke University staff, faculty, students and our global networks.

For more details, visit this site: https://dukeunicef.org

From An Egyptian African Story

By Helmi Sharawy

An Important Meeting Muhammad Fayiq and his colleagues always visited the African Association unannounced, and all we knew then was that he was a senior figure in the world of the presidency and intelligence, personally close to the president of the republic. On one such visit, he noticed me carrying the newspapers that I had just collected from Professor Ishaq. He was kind and warm and voiced his surprise that I read such publications. Wondering how he could benefit from this, he asked Professor Ishaq whether I could present him with a good summary of the information they contained. His request was a boon for several reasons: these papers began to be delivered more regularly, I was benefitting from details about the world of the colonies (the British ones at least) that nobody in Egypt knew, and I was presenting an important source of information to a senior figure in the presidency. And, more important than all that, I was earning five pounds every month for my valuable work!

Read the research article here.

Lost for Decades, These Stunning Color Photos of Africa in the 1950s Have Finally Been Published

The United Nations sent photographer Todd Webb to capture eight African countries during a period of rapid industrialization—but the pictures he came back with included beauty, fashion, jubilation, and much more.

By Bill Shapiro January 28,2021

In 1955, two photographers, Guggenheim Fellowships in their back pockets, set off across America. One was Robert Frank, who returned from his epic road trip with the 27,000-plus images he would draw from to make his soon-to-be-iconic book, The Americans. The other was Todd Webb.

Read the rest of the story here.

The tortured, touching love saga of Cicely Tyson and Miles Davis

By Randall Roberts, staff writer, Feb. 1, 2021

Starting in the mid-1960s, Cicely Tyson had a decades-long, on-again, off-again romance with trumpeter Miles Davis that peaked with their 1981 marriage and ended in a 1989 divorce. Behind the scenes it was a turbulent relationship, according to both, but during their time in the spotlight, they were one of the most striking, stylish couples in America: she an Oscar-nominated, barrier-breaking dramatic actress and movie star known for an unwavering dedication to her craft; he a revered, charismatic jazz musician and innovator with an addictive personality and a bad reputation.

Read the rest of the story here.

Muslims in America: A forgotten history

For more than 300 years, Muslims have influenced the story of the US – from the ‘founding fathers’ to blues music today.

By Sylviane A Diouf, 10 Feb 2021

In the summer of 1863, newspapers in North Carolina announced the death of “a venerable African”, referred to, in a paternalistic manner, as “Uncle Moreau”. Omar ibn Said, a Muslim, was born in 1770 in Senegal and by the time of his death, he had been enslaved for 56 years. In 2021, Omar, an opera about his life, will premiere at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

Read the rest of the story here.

Free Article s from Miṣriqiyā, an international peer-reviewed African Studies Journal

Recently established by Faculty of Women, Ain Shams University (Egypt)

Welcome to Miṣriqiyā, an international peer-reviewed academic journal published quarterly by the Faculty of Women, Ain Shams University. Miṣriqiyā aims to publish high-quality research papers relevant to Africa. The journal publishes articles in the fields of anthropology, history, sociology, politics, geography, linguistics, and literary and cultural studies. Miṣriqiyā is published in both print and online versions. With an active editorial board that encompasses scholars from a variety of disciplines based at both Egyptian and international universities, the journal seeks to foster an interdisciplinary and global conversation from, with and about Africa. The journal is open to Arab and international scholars and guarantees a fair and accurate reviewing process. Submissions are accepted throughout the year.

Read the rest of the story here.

Mali fails to face up to the persistence of slavery

The Conversation, February 15, 2021

The internal African slave trade was officially abolished in colonial Mali in 1905. But a form of slavery – called “descent-based slavery” – continues today. This is when “slave status” is ascribed to a person, based on their ancestors having allegedly been enslaved by elite slave-owning families.

Read the rest of the story here.

‘Africapitalism’ and the limits of any variant of capitalism

By Roape, July 16, 2020

In a contribution to ROAPE’s debate on capitalism in Africa, Stefan Ouma provides a critical account of Africapitalism as well as an assessment of the future/s it imagines, what it silences and its potential to transform African economies. Ouma concludes that the ecologically destructive and dehumanizing architecture of our global economic system provides further evidence to condemn any variant of capitalism.

Read the rest of the story here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Buried in the Debris of Independence: The Life and Death of Rev Alexander Kutchona

[مدفون تحت أنقاض الاستقلال: حياة وموت القس ألكسندر كوتشونا]

Author: T.S.E. Katsulukuta

As a boy I heard my mother warn my father never to walk alone and never to come home late lest he be killed like Kutchona. But why could people kill an innocent pastor? For Alexander Kutchona God stood above politics and God came first in all areas of life. The Party leaders believed differently. Politics to them could not be separated from Church life and that the church should be used as a platform for the political agenda. They labeled him traitor and removed him out of their path and memory.

Publisher: Luviri Press, Malawi, 2021.

Writing the Black Decade: Conflict and Criticism in Francophone Algerian Literature

[عقد الشؤم: الصراع والنقد في الأدب الجزائري الفرنكوفوني]

Author: Joseph Ford

Writing the Black Decade examines how literature—and the way we read, classify, and critique literature—impacts our understanding of the world at a time of conflict. Using the bitterly-contested Algerian Civil War as a case study, Joseph Ford argues that, while literature is frequently understood as an illuminating and emancipatory tool, it can, in fact, restrain our understanding of the world during a time of crisis and further entrench the polarized discourses that lead to conflict in the first place. Ford demonstrates how Francophone Algerian literature, along with the cultural and academic criticism that has surrounded it, has mobilized visions of Algeria over the past thirty years that often belie the complex and multi-layered realities of power, resistance, and conflict in the region. Scholars of literature, history, Francophone studies, and international relations will find this book particularly useful.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield, 2021.

Growing Wild: The Correspondence of a Pioneering Woman Naturalist from the Cape

[عن منابت القفار مراسلات سيدة رائدة في دراسة حياة الطبيعة في مدينة كيب]

Author/ (editor): Jasmin Rindlisbacher, Alan Cohen

Mary Elizabeth Barber (1818-1899), born in Britain, arrived in the Cape Colony in 1820 where she spent the rest of her life as a rolling stone, as she lived in and near Grahamstown, the diamond and gold fields, Pietermaritzburg, Malvern near Durban and on various farms in the eastern part of the Cape Colony. She has been perceived as ‘the most advanced woman of her time’, yet her legacy has attracted relatively little attention. She was the first woman ornithologist in South Africa, one of the first who propagated Darwin’s theory of evolution, an early archaeologist, keen botanist and interested lepidopterist. In her scientific writing, she propagated a new gender order; positioned herself as a feminist avant la lettre without relying on difference models and at the same time made use of genuinely racist argumentation. This is the first publication of her edited scientific correspondence. The letters – transcribed by Alan Cohen, who has written a number of biographical articles on Barber and her brothers – are primarily addressed to the entomologist Roland Trimen, the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London. Today, the letters are housed at the Royal Entomological Society in St Albans. This book also includes a critical introduction by historian Tanja Hammel who has published a number of articles and is about to publish a monograph on Mary Elizabeth Barber.

Publisher: Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Namibia, 2020.

Black Utopias: Speculative Life and the Music of Other Worlds

[ يوتوبيا السود: الحياة التأملية وموسيقى العوالم الأخرى]

Author: Jayna Brown

In Black Utopias Jayna Brown takes up the concept of utopia as a way of exploring alternative states of being, doing, and imagining in Black culture. Musical, literary, and mystic practices become utopian enclaves in which Black people engage in modes of creative worldmaking. Brown explores the lives and work of Black women mystics Sojourner Truth and Rebecca Cox Jackson, musicians Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra, and the work of speculative fiction writers Samuel Delany and Octavia Butler as they decenter and destabilize the human, radically refusing liberal humanist ideas of subjectivity and species. Brown demonstrates that engaging in utopian practices Black subjects imagine and manifest new genres of existence and forms of collectivity. For Brown, utopia consists of those moments in the here and now when those excluded from the category human jump into other onto-epistemological realms. Black people—untethered from the hope of rights, recognition, or redress—celebrate themselves as elements in a cosmic effluvium.

Publisher: Duke University Press, 2021.

Mobilizing Black Germany: Afro-German Women and the Making of a Transnational Movement

[نحو تعبئة الألمان السود]

Author: Tiffany N. Florvil

Tiffany N. Florvil examines the role of queer and straight women in shaping the contours of the modern Black German movement as part of the Black internationalist opposition to racial and gender oppression. Florvil shows the multifaceted contributions of women to movement making, including Audre Lorde’s role in influencing their activism; the activists who inspired Afro-German women to curate their own identities and histories; and the evolution of the activist groups Initiative of Black Germans and Afro-German Women. These practices and strategies became a rallying point for isolated and marginalized women (and men) and shaped the roots of contemporary Black German activism. Richly researched and multidimensional in scope, Mobilizing Black Germany offers a rare in-depth look at the emergence of the modern Black German movement and Black feminists’ politics, intellectualism, and internationalism..

Publisher: University of Illinois Press 2020.

Black Aliveness, or A Poetics of Being

[كينونة السود أو شاعرية الوجود]

Author: Kevin Quashie

In Black Aliveness, or A Poetics of Being, Kevin Quashie imagines a Black world in which one encounters Black being as it is rather than only as it exists in the shadow of anti-Black violence. As such, he makes a case for Black aliveness even in the face of the persistence of death in Black life and Black study. Centrally, Quashie theorizes aliveness through the aesthetics of poetry, reading poetic inhabitance in Black feminist literary texts by Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Toni Morrison, and Evie Shockley, among others, showing how their philosophical and creative thinking constitutes worldmaking. This worldmaking conceptualizes Blackness as capacious, relational beyond the normative terms of recognition—Blackness as a condition of oneness. Reading for poetic aliveness, then, becomes a means of exploring Black being rather than nonbeing and animates the ethical question “how to be.” In this way, Quashie offers a Black feminist philosophy of being, which is nothing less than a philosophy of the becoming of the Black world.

Publisher: Duke University Press, 2021.

——– ———— ———–
Research Africa (research_africa-editor@duke.edu) welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (research_africa@duke.edu).

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

——– ———— ———–
Research Africa (research_africa-editor@duke.edu) welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (research_africa@duke.edu).

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

——– ———— ———–
Research Africa (research_africa-editor@duke.edu) welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (research_africa@duke.edu).

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.

https://networks.h-net.org/node/73374/announcements/6937910/cfp-decolonizing-islamic-art-africa-edited-volume

 

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 (research_africa-editor@duke.edu) welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next edition.