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ASA Board of Directors Condemns Executive Order Restricting Entry into the U.S.

On behalf of its members, the Board of Directors of the African Studies Association demands immediate reversal of the recent Executive Order barring citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen entry for 90 days into the United States; prohibiting all refugees from entering the United States for 120 days; and banning Syrian refugees for an indefinite period of time. This order and its draconian enforcement are an affront to the ethical principles of our organization, to constitutionalism and the rule of law of the United States, and to basic tenets of international law.

For the past 60 years, the African Studies Association, the premier academic organization for scholars of Africa, has been committed to fostering greater knowledge and understanding of the African continent through encouraging the study of Africa, supporting research by Africans, and promoting collaboration among Africanists within the United States and abroad. Our ethical guidelines include a commitment to defending academic freedom and drawing attention to acts and events that violate the rights of people and their communities. As an association whose central mission is dedicated to understanding the complexity of the African continent and promoting academic exchange between scholars of the African continent and the United States, we deplore the arbitrary and unwarranted application of the executive order, which has a significant impact on the people of Africa and scholars who study the continent.

We are particularly concerned about the attack on academic freedom resulting from the travel limitations imposed on foreign nationals from the seven named countries. This ban directly impacts students and faculty at our universities, scholarly partners from these countries and ASA members who conduct research there. The fact that all seven are majority Muslim countries and that the rhetoric preceding the exclusion specifically talked about a ban of Muslims suggest that US policy is targeting Muslims. This creates an image of bias and hostility that undermines efforts to build understanding and cooperation. It also blatantly disregards constitutional protections of freedom of religion enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and makes those of us who work abroad less safe.

The four-month ban on all refugees is inexcusable. A large portion of the world’s 21.3 million refugees comes from Africa, and African countries themselves host over 26 percent of the world’s refugees. The decision of the US to reject all refugees adds to the already disproportionate burden on African countries struggling to support the millions of refugees in their territories. Particularly offensive has been the equation of refugees with terrorism in much of the rhetoric surrounding this executive order. Refugees are by definition individuals escaping war and persecution. Over half of refugees are under the age of 18, and many have themselves been the victims of terrorism.

The ASA includes many scholars who have worked in countries with autocratic governments, and who conduct research on authoritarianism, and we are particularly troubled by the signs of emerging authoritarian practices in the United States. We are alarmed by the administration’s attacks on the free press and the harassment of civil society. This executive order targets people based on race, religion, and national origin and is a form of scapegoating commonly associated with authoritarian regimes. The failure to adequately consult with Congress on this order and the disregard for court rulings limiting its impact represent an overreach of executive authority that undermines democracy.

We implore representatives of the US government to respect the diversity that is America’s strength and to protect the principles of democratic governance that are currently under attack. History shows that early opposition to scapegoating and exclusion are essential to preventing dangerous and violent violations of human rights.

For all of these reasons, we demand that this executive order be rescinded immediately. 

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Announcing the 2017 Annual Meeting CFP


60th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association  
Institutions: Creativity and Resilience in Africa
November 16-18, 2017
Chicago, IL Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile

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2016 Award Winners

December 2016

The African Studies Association (ASA) is pleased to announce the 2016 award winners. The ASA Awards Ceremony was held on the evening of Saturday, December 3, 2016 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC. The ASA heartily congratulates the following individuals and organizations:

Distinguished Africanist Award
The ASA Distinguished Africanist Award was established in the 1980's, to recognize and honor scholars who have contributed a lifetime record of outstanding scholarship in their respective field of African studies and service to the Africanist community. This year, the award goes to Professor Sara Berry, for her considerable contributions to the study of Africa.

Graduate Student Paper Prize
In 2001, the ASA Board of Directors established an annual prize for the best graduate student paper presented at the ASA Annual Meeting in the previous year. The 2016 award goes to Moritz Nagel, Northwestern University, for his paper, “Precolonial Segmentation Revisited: Initiation Societies, Talking Drums and the Ngondo Festival in the Cameroons.”

Gretchen Walsh Book Donation Award
The African Studies Association offers an annual grant program in collaboration with the Africana Librarians Council to assist book donation projects with shipping costs to send books to African libraries and schools. This year the grant was awarded to: Goshen College and Macha School of Nursing Project, Zambia

ASA Public Service Award
The ASA Public Service Award honors those who have been long-standing contributors to the ASA’s mission and to African Studies, through non-academic contributions. The ASA is excited to announce the 2016 recipient is Brenda Randolph.

Royal Air Maroc-ASA Student Travel Award
The Royal Air Maroc-African Studies Association Student Travel Award aims to increase the exchange of students and ideas between Africa and the United States, and to award outstanding scholarship by future scholars of African Studies. The award consists of tickets for round-trip travel between the United States and any Royal Air Maroc Africa destination, and it is given to students of African Studies. This year the following 19 individuals received the award:

Shamilla Amulega
Olajumoke Ayandele
Benedine Azanu
Rebecca Yvonne Bayeck
Clovis Bergere
Emilie Diouf
Bryan Dougan
Mokake Flavius
Paul Grant
Katie J. Hickerson
Byrd Javoen
Natalie Letsa
Madina Thiam
Moustapha Ndour
Adeola Oni-Orisan
Andriamanana Rijasoa
Scott Ross
Sana Saidykhan
Samantha Stevens-Hall

Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize
The Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize of the African Studies Association is awarded annually at the ASA Annual Meeting to the author of the best book on East African Studies published in the previous calendar year. This year, the Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize was awarded to Elena Vezzadini, Institut des Mondes Africains, Paris 1 - Panthéon Sorbonne, for her book, Lost Nationalism: Revolution, Memory & Anti-Colonial Resistance in Sudan (James Currey, 2015).

Melville J. Herskovits Award
The ASA presents the Herskovits Award to the author of the most important scholarly work in African studies published in English during the preceding year. This year, the Melville J. Herskovits Award was awarded to:

Chika Okeke-Agulu
For his book entitled, Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria (Duke University Press, 2015)

Conover-Porter Award
The Conover-Porter Award is presented in even-numbered years to recognize outstanding Africa-related reference works, bibliographies, or bibliographic essays published in any country during the preceding two years. The 2016 Conover-Porter Award goes to Charles C. Stewart with Sidi Ahmed ould Ahmed Salim, with the assistance of Mohamed Nouhi, Babacar Mbengue, Abdel Wedoud Ould Cheikh, and Bruce S. Hall, for The Arabic Literature of Africa Vol. 5, The Writings of Mauritania and the Western Sahara (Brill, 2015).

Congratulations again to all of our winners and we look forward to seeing everyone next year in Chicago!!

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2017 Call for Nominations: ASA Board of Directors

The Nominations Committee of the African Studies Association is soliciting nominations from members to be considered as candidates for positions on the Board of Directors of the ASA.

If elected, board members serve for three years starting at the Fall Board meeting in the year in which they are elected and continuing through the Fall Board meeting of the third year.

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Statement from ASA Leadership

Dear ASA members,

After a long, bitter electoral campaign in the United States, we will have much to consider and discuss at our upcoming annual meeting about the future of African studies.

As leaders of the African Studies Association, we reaffirm the ASA’s mission to support the dissemination of knowledge about Africa and to understand the continent in all its many and complex facets. We remain fully committed to our core values of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusiveness, values that we believe are shared by the majority of Americans.  We will do everything in our power to defend those values with respect to our members and the African diaspora in the United States. In this endeavor, we welcome the input and energy of ASA members.

As a beginning, the ASA will be hosting several events at our annual meeting in DC to explore the future of US foreign policy towards Africa, the treatment of African immigrants, and support for educational initiatives in Africa by the new administration in the coming years. Information about these events will follow soon.

Yours in solidarity,

Dorothy Hodgson, President
Anne Pitcher, Vice President
Toyin Falola, Past President
Suzanne Moyer Baazet, Executive Director

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Member Aid For Africa
African Studies Association is a participating member of Aid for Africa, a unique partnership of nonprofit organizations serving families and communities throughout Africa.
African Studies Association
Rutgers University - Livingston Campus
54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8045
Tel: 848-445-8173
Fax: 732-445-6637