Coordinate Organization Spotlight: Ghana Studies Association

The African Studies Association will showcase the events and activities of one of our coordinate organizations in each issue of ASA News. The Summer 2017 edition features an update from the Ghana Studies Association. The ASA thanks Nana Akua Anyidoho for sharing GSA's update with the association.

Ghana Studies Association
The Ghana Studies Association, which began as the Akan Studies Council in 1988, is a multidisciplinary organization of about 200 scholars based in Africa, North America, Europe, and Asia whose research focus is the West African state of Ghana. GSA will celebrate 30 years in 2018. 

The current executives are Nana Akua Anyidoho, President (University of Ghana) and Kwame Essien, Treasurer (LeHigh University).

GSA at ASA
GSA members continue to be involved in ASA, serving in leadership and participating actively in each annual meeting through paper presentations, roundtables, and invited addresses.
In addition to holding its business meeting, GSA will sponsor three panels and a roundtable at this year’s annual meeting in Chicago:

Also, to celebrate Ghana’s 60th anniversary of independence, which coincides with ASA’s own 60th anniversary, GSA is planning a reception to be co-hosted with Northwestern’s Program of African Studies and the Herskovits Library.

GSA Triennial Conferences
As a part of a commitment to encouraging interconnections between Ghana Studies scholars/hip in the Global North and in Ghana, the GSA holds a conference every three years at a Ghanaian academic institution. The most recent was at the University of Cape Coast from 6 to 9 July 2016. Dubbed “Global Ghana”, it brought together 120 researchers—university faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars—from the US, Europe and Ghana. The four days were filled with keynotes, roundtables, and panel sessions, as well as informal conversations. In addition, there were educative guided tours of historical sites in Cape Coast. Participants described the conference as a time of vibrant intellectual discourse and warm collegiality.

Review program, pictures, social media posts, and testimonials of the “Global Ghana” conference.

Ghana Studies journal
GSA publishes an issue of Ghana Studies each year in which we feature the best of Ghana Studies scholarship. The current editors are Carina Ray (Brandeis University) and Kofi Baku (University of Ghana).  

In addition to the journal, the GSA website has past issues of its newsletter (1989 to 2011) which includes think pieces, research findings, general news, membership directory, and a list of member publications.

Scholarship
GSA researchers have made tremendous contributions to area studies scholarship. As only one indication on this, two of our members recently won the prestigious Melville J. Herskovits Award back-to-back: Carola Lentz in 2014 for her book Land, Mobility and Belonging in West Africa and Abena Dove Osseo-Asare in 2015 for Bitter Roots: The Search for Healing Plants in Africa.

Other GSA publications have received recognition beyond ASA. In the past year alone, Manu Herbstein’s The Boy Who Spat in the Sargrenti’s Eye won the African Literature Association (ALA) Book of the Year Award (Creative Writing) and Carina Ray’s book Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana was honored with the Wesley-Logan Prize in African Diaspora History by the American Historical Association (AHA).

GSA is also very proud of Trevor Getz’s ground-breaking graphic history, Abina and the Important Men, which has won a number of awards, including the James Harvey Robinson Prize from the American Historical Association.

Click here for other member publications and recognition in 2015 and 2016. (For a list of member publications before 2015, see archived e-newsletters.)



Awards and Grants
Boahen-Wilks Prize
The GSA inaugurated the Boahen-Wilks Article Prize in 2015 to recognize scholarship on Ghana that best exemplifies the rigor, innovation and interdisciplinary nature of our field. Our pool of nominations is invariably diverse, spanning history, anthropology, art history, sociology, political science, international relations and safety science.

The inaugural Boahen-Wilks Article Prize in 2015 was awarded to Jean Allman’s  “Phantoms of the Archive: Kwame Nkrumah, A Nazi Pilot Named Hanna, and the Contingencies of Postcolonial History-Writing,” which appeared in The American Historical Review in 2013.

The 2016 prize went to Ebony Coletu and Kendra Field for their article, "The Chief Sam Movement, A Century Later” in Transition in 2014.

Research Grants
GSA is committed to supporting scholarship in Ghana. Every year, it awards at least two research grants to graduate students, faculty, and researchers resident in Ghana. (See past grantees and their projects here).

Community
Beyond our congregation at ASA annual meetings in the USA and the GSA conferences in Ghana, GSA maintains community through its website and a lively Facebook page.

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