From the President

Dear Colleagues,

Let’s be thankful for it is our duty; 
and be marveled for it is our duty;
and be astounded for it is our duty; 
for we are blessed with great gifts.

Serigne Mbaye Diakhaté, Murid Ajami Poet (1875-1954)

A warm welcome to everyone in 2015!  I would like to use my space here to reflect on the ASA’s achievements over the past year and share some exciting news about the year to come.  

The 2014 Annual Meeting was one of our most successful meetings to date, with close to two thousand attendees.  We had a record number of submissions and high-quality presentations, and the conference venue allowed for many interactions and fruitful collaborations.  We all enjoyed many brilliant papers on new ideas and issues, all pushing the frontiers of knowledge in new and positive ways while expanding our scholarly horizons.

Demonstrating our great association’s engagement with important contemporary issues facing Africa, the 2014 annual meeting featured a series of panels addressing the Ebola crisis that devastated the populations of three countries, notably Sierra Leone and Liberia, and triggered outlandish reactions across the globe. Beyond that, the ASA made significant progress in better connecting our annual meeting to scholars and organizations based in the African continent by including more online access for those who could not physically attend the meeting. In particular, an interactive panel featured several participants from the West African Research Center (WARC) in Senegal.  Similarly, one will find multimedia archives of the 2014 Opening Ceremony and Reception, the Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola Lecture delivered by Professor Francis Abiola Irele, the Hormuud Lecture delivered by Professor Maxi Schoeman, and the Women’s Caucus Lecture delivered by Professor Mîcero M. Gîthae Mûgo in the Winter 2015 issue of ASA News. Members who were unable to attend this year’s annual meeting or those who attended but missed these events should check out the multimedia archives.  We are also grateful to Professor Leonce Ndikumana, the ASR Distinguished Lecturer, whose fine paper will be published shortly by the African Studies Review.

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58th Annual Meeting Call for Proposals

CALL FOR PROPOSALS58th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association

The State and the Study of Africa

November 19-22, 2015
Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina


Program Chairs:

Dismas A. Masolo, University of Louisville
Derek R. Peterson, University of Michigan

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Interview with 2014 Herskovits prize winner, Carola Lentz

The ASA awarded the 2014 Herskovits award to Professor Carola Lentz, for her book entitled Land, Mobility and Be-Longing in West Africa, published by Indiana University Press. The prize was shared with Professors Allen and Barbara Isaacman, for their book entitled Dams, Displacement and the Delusion of Development: Cahora Bassa and its Legacies in Mozambique, 1965-2007, published by Ohio University Press. The ASA heartily congratulates the prize recipients.

The following is a brief interview conducted with Professor Lentz, whom it is worth noting, also holds a chieftaincy title in Ghana.

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ASA 2014: Photos

The ASA secretariat is pleased to announce that photographs taken at the 57th Annual Meeting held in Indianapolis in November 2014, are now available for your viewing pleasure. Please follow the link below, and enjoy!

Thank you for supporting the ASA.

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ASA 2014: Women's Caucus Lecture Video


The 2014 Women's Caucus Lecture was given by Professor Mĩcere M. Gĩthae Mũgo, and entitled Women Embracing Creativity and Utu as Tools to Combat Violence and Find Healing. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

Mĩcere M. Gĩthae Mũgo is the Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, Professor of African American Studies. She is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Africanist Award from the New York African Studies Association for her contribution to scholarship. In November 2002, The East African Standard Century listed her among “The Top 100: They Influenced Kenya Most During the 20th Century”.

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ASA 2014: Hormuud Lecture Video

The 2014 Hormuud Lecture was given by Professor Maxi Schoeman, and was entitled A crisis of leadership? Reflections on 20 years of democracy in South Africa. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.

2014 marked the inaugural year of the Hormuud Lecture. This lecture series aims to bring focus to themes at the intersection of leadershship, development, and democracy in Africa. The 2014 speaker, Maxi Schoeman, is chair of the Core Social Sciences Cluster in the Faculty of Humanities and head of the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria. She is a member of the University Council and an adjunct professor in the School for Public Policy at George Mason University in the United States. She has held research fellowships with Cambridge University (1995/96), the Copenhagen Peace Research Institute (2001), the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (2009) and the Nordic Africa Institute (2009). She was recently awarded the 2014 Claude Ake Visiting Chair at the University of Uppsala. Professor Schoeman is a member of the Advisory Board of the African Peace Network of the Social Sciences Research Council in New York, deputy chairperson of the Institute for Global Dialogue and a trustee of the Institute for Security Studies. She serves on the editorial boards of several local and international journals in the field of international relations.

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ASA 2014: Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola Lecture Video

The 2014 Bashorun M.K.O. Abila lecture was given by Professor Francis Abiola Irele and entitled, African Studies as Discipline and VocationCLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

The Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola Lecture was established in 1992 with a generous grant from the Honorable Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola to provide for a lecture by a senior African scholar selected by the ASA Board of Directors. This year the Abiola Lecturer is Francis Abiola Irele, Provost of the College of Humanities, Kwara State University, Malete, Nigeria University. His talk is entitled, 

Irele, described as “the doyen of African literary scholars worldwide” was formerly Professor of French and Head, Department of Modern Languages, University of Ibadan. He has taught at various universities on the African continent and in the United States, including the University of Ghana, the Ohio State University, Tulane University, and Harvard University. He has also held a visiting fellowship at Churchill College, University of Cambridge. His publications include The Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literature (edited with Simon Gikandi) published in 2004, and four collections of essays: "The African Experience in Literature and Ideology" (1981, rpt 1990) "The African Imagination: Literature in Africa and the Black Diaspora" (2001), "Négritude et Condition Africaine" (2008), and "The Négritude Moment: Explorations in Francophone African Literature and Thought" (2011). A new volume of essays entitled The African Scholar is scheduled to appear before the end of the year. He has also published annotated editions of Selected Poems by Léopold Sédar Senghor (1978) and Aimé Césaire’s

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Critique de la Raison Négre: A Review

By Elaine Coburn

This piece was originally published at It is re-published here with permission from both the author and editor

Elaine Coburn is a researcher at the CADIS-EHESS and assistant professor at the American University of Paris, in Paris, France. She was the Editor of the interdisciplinary online journal Socialist Studies for five years, ending in the summer 2014. She may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Book review:
In 1959, a young Jewish student named Marshall Berman (2000) hazarded upon Karl Marx’s Economic and Philosophical Manuscript of 1844. He was so amazed by what he read, he immediately went out to the nearest Soviet-subsidized bookstore and bought copies for everyone he knew. Re-reading his original copy, years later, he discovered that he had underlined virtually every line in the book. Reading Achille Mbembe’s Critique de la Raison Nègre inspires the same kind of enthusiasm. Currently only available in French, it’s a book that you want to shout about from the rooftops, so that all of your colleagues and friends will read it. My copy, only a few months old, is stuffed with paper markers at many intervals, suggesting the richness of analysis and description on nearly every page. It is not a perfect book. For instance, Mbembe is almost relentlessly masculinist in standpoint and language, so that you can already imagine a Black feminist re-telling that challenges this “malestream” account, so building new, necessary layers to his analysis. He does not explicitly consider how the liberation struggles of the “Nègre” might act in concert and in tension with other liberatory movements, for instance, by still-colonized Indigenous peoples. He emphasizes literary, artistic and intellectual figures, although not exclusively, so that it is possible to imagine another re-telling, this time centering the everyday struggles of many ordinary people designated as “Nègre” over the last centuries. Notwithstanding these important limitations, this is certainly one of the outstanding intellectual contributions to studies of empire, colonialism, racism and human liberation in the last decade, perhaps decades. Indeed, I fear I can hardly do Mbembe’s book justice in this brief review. With that preface...

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ASA 2014: First Time Attendee Breakfast

By Kathryn Salucka

The African Studies Association launched the First Time Attendee Breakfast in November 2014 at the 57th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, IN. This event was an initiative designed to assist new attendees as they navigate their way through the ASA Annual Meeting. More than 60 first time members attended the breakfast, which featured a welcome from ASA President James Pritchett. First time attendees benefitted from the insight of several ASA members, including Ousseina Alidou, Abena Busia, Odile Cazenave, Clifton Crais, Peter Limb, Pearl Robinson, and Ahmed Samatar. The ASA is grateful for these volunteers, and for the generous support of Mary Beth Riner and the Indiana University School of Nursing, without whom the breakfast could not take place. First time Annual Meeting attendee Madoda Ntaka of the South Africa Business Centre, Argentina, noted the importance of this event, saying the breakfast was “a great opportunity to interact with other participants and gain experience and knowledge,” and “[ASA President James Pritchett] furnished us with valuable tips to take into account when attending the panels or roundtables, in particular how to handle and manage the program.” If you were a first time member and attendee in 2014 and missed the breakfast, we encourage you to attend in 2015. If you have any feedback or suggestions stemming from your participation in the 2014 event, please share them with the Secretariat and email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The ASA is excited to continue the First Time Attendee Breakfast at the 58th Annual Meeting in San Diego, and welcome any members who wish to participate and provide guidance to new attendees. If you would like to volunteer for this event, or if your institution would be interested in sponsoring the breakfast in San Diego, please contact ASA Program Manager Kathryn Salucka at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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ASA 2014: Graduate Student Workshop

By Greg Maddox

For the third year, the ASA sponsored a workshop for graduate students at its annual meeting in Indianapolis.  Over thirty graduate students participated in the workshop this year.  For the first time, the workshop took place over two sessions at the meetings.  The first session consisted of presentations by experienced scholars on topics to benefit students during their careers.  Former ASA President Judith Byfield spoke of the challenges faced by scholars of color in the academy.  Board member Sheryl McCurdy outlined strategies for interdisciplinary collaboration and grantsmanship.  Conference program chair Clifton Crais discussed writing and publishing.  Jonathon Reynolds and Eric Gilbert talked of the experience of teaching Africa and being the “lonely Africanist” at an institution.  Gregory Maddox, the organizer of the workshop, spoke of the necessity of maintaining contact with African scholars and African institutions.

In the second session, the students were divided into small groups for mentoring sessions with a group of mentors.  Mentors including former ASA president Charles Ambler, James Giblin, Byfield, Reynolds, Gilbert, McCurdy, and Maddox.  In the sessions the volunteer mentors career strategies and gave students the opportunity to develop contacts among themselves.  The workshop sessions continue to provide students at the ASA the opportunity to interact with a wider number of scholars and gain insights from veterans of the field. This year’s expanded format responded to suggestions by previous participants.  Planning is already underway for next year’s workshop.


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Documentary Film on Mali’s Festival In the Desert Now Available on DVD

Directed by Kiley Kraskouskas

Critically acclaimed documentary The Last Song Before The War is now available on DVD for academic institutions. 

Told through the lens of the renowned Tuareg music festival, The Festival in the Desert the film examines the role of the festival in fostering peace and creating economic development in one of the poorest regions in the world.  Filmed in 2011 the producers captured the full festival experience in the period leading up to the fall of Northern Mali and the subsequent coup on the capitol, revealing how the renowned festival managed to thrive amidst a fragile peace. 

 According to Erin Joanna Augis ASA member and Associate Professor of Sociology at Ramapo College of New Jersey, 

"The Last Song Before the War provides a moving and richly detailed analysis of the effects of the invasion of Mali by Ansar Dine and Al Quaeda in the Islamic Maghreb on local communities' religious and artistic traditions. With exceptionally researched ethnographic data, this film highlights the significance of the Festival au Desert to local economies and identities, the devastation caused by its exile, and the resilience of the Malian people in the face of political instability and cultural conflict.  It is a must-see for students and professors of Ethnomusicology, Religion, Sociology, Anthropology, and African Studies."

Individuals represented in the film also praise the work. In a recent interview with the Washington Post, festival director, Manny Ansar told reporter Celia Wren “this film is, for me, the most complete. Unlike others filmed around the same time, it is entirely focused on the festival itself. It touched on every aspect of the festival — its origins, its day-to-day content, even the geographical steps involved in getting there, without ever forgetting the politico-social context” of the festival’s 2011 incarnation.

The film can be purchased online at for an institutional fee of $250.00.





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ANNOUNCEMENT Carnegie Fund for Conference Attendance

The Carnegie Corporation on New York's board of trustees recently approved a grant for the Carnegie Fund for Conference Attendance (CFCA), a competitive fund to support African beneficiaries of Corporation-supported postgraduate degree and postdoctoral programs to present papers at major international conferences.  A list of eligible Corporation-supported programs is attached.  Since 2008, the Corporation’s primary strategy in Africa has been to assist in the development and retention of the next generation of African academics through support for African universities, postgraduate training networks, and fellowship programs.  Close to 1,000 fellows at masters, doctoral, and postdoctoral levels have received support.  This fund is meant to enable a selection of those fellows who have papers accepted for presentation at major international conferences to heighten their visibility within their disciplines and expand their professional networks.

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ANNOUNCEMENT APSA Call for Applications: 2015 Africa Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya

Visit the ASA Forum page to post announcements and/or read member announcements.

Photo Credit: Andrew Stinson

By Andrew Stinson, American Political Science Association

The American Political Science Association (APSA) has launched a call for applications from early-career scholars who would like to participate in the 2015 Africa Workshop on “Conflict and Political Violence.” The two-week course will be held at United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya from July 20-31. The organizers, with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will cover all costs of participation for up to 26 qualified applicants.

APSA’s Africa Workshop program is a great opportunity for PhD students and early-career faculty to broaden their academic networks and advance their research towards publication. Each program includes a combination of lectures, group discussion, guest speakers, and local field trips as participants debate classic and cutting-edge political science research on a particular theme. A central component to the group’s analysis of the overarching theme is the particular study that each participant brings with them. Participants will present their own research manuscripts for peer review and continue to refine them over the course of the program. Following the workshop, alumni will be given complimentary membership to APSA and the opportunity to apply for several small grants.

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ANNOUNCEMENT African Critical Inquiry Programme Research Grants: Call for Applications

Visit the ASA Forum page to post announcements and/or read member announcements.

“Who defines the needs of the people and the related epistemologies that serve them?” (Karp & Masolo 2000:10)

Closing Date: Monday 1 June 2015

The African Critical Inquiry Programme is pleased to announce the 2015 Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards to support African doctoral students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who are enrolled at South African universities and conducting dissertation research on relevant topics. Grant amounts vary depending on research plans, with a maximum award of ZAR 40,000.

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ANNOUNCEMENT African Critical Inquiry Programme Workshop: Call for Applications

Visit the ASA Forum page to post announcements and/or read member announcements.

“Who defines the needs of the people and the related epistemologies that serve them?” (Karp & Masolo 2000:10)

Closing Date: Friday 1 May 2015

The African Critical Inquiry Programme invites proposals from scholars and/or practitioners in public cultural institutions in South Africa to organize a workshop to take place in 2016. The African Critical Inquiry Programme (ACIP) seeks to advance inquiry and debate about the roles and practice of public culture, public cultural institutions and public scholarship in shaping identities and society in Africa. The ACIP is committed to collaboration between scholars and the makers of culture/history, and to fostering inquiry into the politics of knowledge production, the relationships between the colonial/apartheid and the postcolonial/postapartheid, and the importance of critical pluralism as against nationalist discourse. ACIP is a partnership between the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape and the Laney Graduate School of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia (USA).

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Member Announcements

The ASA provides our members with the opportunity to share new publications, recent appointments, professional achievements, and open fellowships, grants, calls for papers, and other research and training opportunities. This listing includes the most recent announcements received by the ASA for our Winter newsletter. 

Recent Publications

Akiiki Babyesiza, Universität Bayreuth, (Post-)Conflict Southern Sudan 2005-2011. The Nexus of Islamism, New Public Management and Neopatrimonialism, Series: Organization & Public Management, (Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2014).

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OBITUARY An Archive for Jeff Guy (1940 - 2014)

By Meghan Healy-Clancy and Jill Kelly

Originally published in Africa Is A Country, 20 December 2014

“We know… but we don’t know.” 

These were words that we heard often from Jeff Guy (1940-2014) in discussing the history of KwaZulu-Natal, the region that fascinated us all. In print, these words may look banal. But in Jeff’s dramatic, deliberate cadence, they resonated as a historian’s call to arms: a command to return to the archives to dig deeper, to talk to more people, to think more creatively, to write more clearly.

To honor his life, we have begun to assemble an archive on Jeff, in which his friends, colleagues, and students from around the world have shared their memories ( Jeff’s first reaction to this archive would have been to shrug those broad shoulders, widening his eyes in incredulity at the legacy that we describe. “Don’t romanticize me,” he would warn us, stretching out his syllables.

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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