Revisiting Islam - Muslim discourses and practices in Africa
The roundtable seeks to discuss different proposals for the analysis of representations of Muslims and look more deeply into specific case studies in Africa. Conceived in an interdisciplinary perspective, from Political Science to Anthropology and Linguistics, the aim of the roundtable is to present discourses and practices regarding Muslims in several African contexts. Yolanda Aixelà’s paper, “Anthropological considerations in the Multicultural Analysis of the Muslim people”, critically analyses how Muslims have been seen in Cultural and Postcolonial Studies, especially regarding the issues of multiculturalism and migration. How to understand magic and ritual practices among female and male muslim practitioners in northern Morocco is the focus of Araceli González Vázquez’ paper, “Non-human voice, non-human flesh: Magic and ritual in Moroccan Islam”. Axel Fleisch, on “Multifarious Islam. South African entanglements”, presents the specific characteristics about Muslim ideas in South Africa through the understandings of marriage among Afrikaans-speaking Muslims and the appeal of Islam among Black African converts. The West African context is presented by Christian Coulon and Eduardo Costa Dias. Christian Coulon discusses “The Sufi brotherhoods in the context of globalization and Islamism: the case of Senegal (and some other West African countries)”, inquiring how the Sufi brotherhoods, that developed as popular organizations rooted in a local society and without a clear or active political project, face the challenge of a more politicized and globalized Islam. In “Tarbadju di muru – Anthropological and historical considerations about Muslims practices in the Great Senegambia”, Eduardo Costa Dias puts into context the regional process of islamization among the Mandingo and Fulbe in Guinea-Bissau and Casamance, questioning the relationship between the local Muslim practices and the proclaimed Muslim religious orthodoxy.
Non-human voice, non-human flesh: Magic and ritual in Moroccan Islam
Araceli González Vázquez (Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Vitoria-Gasteiz)
Multifarious Islam. South African entanglements
Axel Fleisch (University of Helsinki)
The Sufi brotherhoods in the context of globalization and Islamism: the case of Senegal (and some other West African countries)
Christian Coulon (Insitut d’Études Poiltiques, Bordeaux)
“Tarbadju di muru” – Anthropological and historical considerations about Muslims practices in the Great Senegambia
Eduardo Costa Dias (ISCTE-IUL)
Anthropological considerations in the Multicultural Analysis of the Muslim people
Yolanda Aixelà (Institució Milà i Fontanals del CSIC, Barcelona)
Pan-Africanism in the making of social science research in Africa
Africanists need to be united. The marginalization of the continent (Africa) does also impinge upon the Africanist scholarship and makes it increasingly threatened… After all, the bulk of research on Africa is still being produced on this side of Atlantic. Certainly, it is our writing that reaches further and in that sense helps determined intellectual trends. (Hyden, 1996:4)
Pan-Africanism has made its trajectory primarily as an ideology. The founders of this ideology enrolled it in history as a political ideal, a dream, an aspiration of a people, and also as an instrument of liberation struggle of black people. While in the diaspora this ideology is designed to dignify the black people and serve as a political and cultural link to Africa; on the continent, it served as a platform for self-definition and collective struggle against colonialism. But Pan-Africanism has also an intellectual and heuristic dimension. It can be seen as the framework from which theories, paradigms and social science knowledge can be produced. There are heuristic claims we can make in trying to understand the pan-African idea and consciousness in relation to seeking its relevance in understanding African societies, particularly in a context in which the images and representations of Africa and African societies have been “west centric”. A lot have been achieved since Hyden’s historical appeal for the unity of those who claims to study Africa. The extreme and multifaceted fragmentation of knowledge production on and about the continent, the scale and magnitude of changes that it is undergoing, make it clear that social sciences in general and social research on Africa in particular must unite in order to understand and respond to the multiple changes that are occurring. In other words, there is need to re-tool us, to be able to grapple with the multifaceted and hydra-headed crises confronting Africa in the world of today. Rather than an attempt to make a claim of exceptionalism for the continent, is the recognition of a humanist approach to an investigation of Africa from a sensitive, measured and intellectual and political point of view, whereby the issue of social location, context and specific material and cultural differences in material and social production matter. What is under stake is a de-centering of social theories as part of a larger quest to reinvent world history. This roundtable will discuss the meanings of an “Afrocentric” epistemology by critically engaging what is known as “colonial library” and its postcolonial repercussions; identify the contributions of social scientists and African studies in the construction of the social sciences that are practiced in and about Africa and its Diaspora; Identify the frontiers of the “Afrocentric” research and new avenues of investigation that can nurture a Pan-African research agenda.
Ebrima Sall (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA))
Carlos Cardoso (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA))
Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Columbia University)
Paul Nugent (University of Edinburgh)
Keith Hart (University of Pretoria)
Elísio Macamo (University of Basel)
Researchers' question time: Expert advice on research resources and journals in African studies
At times researchers and information specialists in the field of African studies seem to live in separate and different worlds. This roundtable aims to bring the two together and thereby shed more light on research resources, and the publishing strategies which underlie them.
Many things have changed in the world of scientific publications. The electronic availability of publications and Open Access make life easier but also more complicated. The growing importance of journal impact factors and the pressure on researchers to publish (or perish) also affect publications in African studies. The number of databases and journals seems to be endless. At the same time, this abundance makes it more difficult to decide what to read – and where to publish.
In this roundtable several specialists will talk about new developments in the field of African studies research resources and publishing. They will touch on topics such as databases, electronic and paper archives, webservices and Open Access, bibliographies and libraries, and “Africana” journals, the vicissitudes of editing, the strategies of researchers and publishers and research impact.
The introductory talks will be followed by an hour of question time. A panel of six - the three convenors together with Hartmut Bergenthum (Frankfurt), Dag Henrichsen (Basel) and Marion Wallace (British Library) - will answer questions and enter into discussion with the audience and each other.
Jos Damen (African Studies Centre, Leiden)
Terry Barringer (Africa Bibliography)
David Pratten (Director, African Studies Centre, Oxford; editor of the journal Africa)
Hartmut Bergenthum (Universitätsbibliothek J. C. Senckenberg, Frankfurt)
Dag Henrichsen (Basler Afrika Bibliographien)
Marion Wallace (British Library)
The role of civil society on the Africa-EU strategic partnership - Organizers: Casa África
The roundtable is organized by ECAS 2013 in collaboration with the Spanish consortium Casa África, will be focus on the role of civil society, namely of policy-oriented and research-oriented organizations, on the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership and on the agenda of the Africa-EU Summits of Heads of State and Government.
Fernando Jorge Cardoso (Coordinator of Strategic Studies of the Institute Marquês de Valle Flôr (IMVF))
Chris Alden (Head of the Programme Global Powers and Africa, South Africa Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA))
Santiago Martínez-Caro (General Director of Casa África, Spain)
Paulos Chanie (Executive Director of the Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA))
Geert Laporte (Deputy Director of the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM))
Adebayo Olukoshi (Director of the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (UNIDEP) and Executive Director of the Africa Governance Institute (AGI))
Corsino Tolentino (Ambassador and Secretary General of the Installer Council of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities of Cape Verde)
Ebrima Sall (Executive Secretary of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA))
Research in African drylands: between politics of climate change, conservation and conflict management - where is the place for academia in a phase of NGOisation and alarmism?
African drylands, including hyper-arid areas, cover by far the largest parts of the continent’s terrestrial surface. Drylands ecologies as well as the socio-economic dynamics within drylands are extremely heterogeneous. They are not only comprehensively affected by climate change, or (to be less biased) interdecadal desiccation, they are also increasingly the setting for politicized struggles, separatism and religious fundamentalism, and they host a broad spectrum of economic activities that ranges from mineral resource extraction to horticultural production for global value chains and to subsistence pastoralism. This roundtable aims at critically discussing and problematizing existing research and attract a new generation of young scholars, who would like to share their fieldwork-based research experiences and their experiences with getting funding for in-depth, grounded, not necessarily alarmist work in an environment in which ‘policy’ and ‘NGOs’ seem to provide the dominating ‘language’. It provides the opportunity to reflect on the strengths and limitations of a “double area-study approach” (i.e. African AND drylands), to address the challenges and benefits of a more comparative perspective and to elaborate on the question of how academic, empirically-based and comparative work could become more influential in non-academic settings. The session aims at stimulating an open discussion involving round-table speakers and audience. It is intended as a springboard for a newly establishing AEGIS working group on African drylands. Colleagues from all disciplines are warmly welcome to attend the meeting and share their experience.
Michael Bollig (University of Cologne)
Clemens Greiner (University of Cologne)
Ton Dietz (ASC Leiden)
The 'popular' and African popular culture
This roundtable will consider the work of Karin Barber, Johannes Fabian and others on ‘the popular’ and ‘popular culture’ and the continued potential of these concepts to generate original new research. What is the potential of ‘the popular’ as a vision for research of everyday life in Africa and for scholarship? What are its limits?
In the light of the rise of digital media production and transformational modes of cultural production and public spheres across Africa the panel will be debating new developments in the field, and will ask in what ways the concept of the popular has been transformed by such developments.
The roundtable has a strong bearing on the overall conference theme of African dynamics in a multipolar world.
Filip De Boeck (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium)
Karin Barber (Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham)
Brian Larkin (Barnard College, USA)
Joyce Nyairo (Moi University, Kenya)
Ato Quayson (University of Toronto)
The state of the art - African contemporary cinema in focus
The purpose of this roundtable is to examine the state of contemporary African cinema through the analysis of motion pictures covering a wide range of countries, eras, genres, and subjects. A panel of six experts with varied profiles – related to the cinema and/or the academic milieu – will reflect on a number of films, previously selected for their artistic and historical relevance. Each panellist is set to do a fifteen minutes’ presentation. In parallel to the talks, excerpts of films evoking the topics explored by the respective speaker will be displayed on a screen whenever relevant. This roundtable intends to promote a debate concerning the place and identity of African cinema in a multipolar world. Therefore, the goal is to address comprehensive key issues such as the following: the diversity of narratives; the development of techniques and means of production; budgetary constraints and the experimentalism of some filmmakers; contemporary cinema in the light of the past; the presence and influence of political ideologies; the impact of globalization; the ongoing dialogue with the diaspora as well as with the West; the stereotypes fostered by essencialized depictions of the African continent. It will be discussed whether these elements are present (explicitly or subliminally) or absent from films and what they represent, vis-à-vis the potential of African cinema – not only in the international projection of the continent, but also as a privileged channel focusing on social issues. Ultimately, this roundtable seeks to create a space for film makers, actors, producers, scholars and researchers to collaboratively explore the current visions of African cinema and add new and unexplored perspectives to the debate.
This roundtable will be in Portuguese and partially broadcasted live on radiostation RDP África.
Carla Henriques (journalist at RTP - RDP África)
African Film and Migration. Representations of ‘Africa’ between Continents
Manuela Ribeiro Sanches (University of Lisbon)
The invisibility of the cinema that comes from Africa
António Pinto Ribeiro (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation)
Rethinking Jean Rouch’s cinema on Africa
Catarina Alves Costa (New University of Lisbon)
How Valdomiro didn’t save Django. Cinema in Africa and Cinema of Africa
Ângelo Torres (Actor and Director)
Discussions around Jean-Pierre Chauveau’s work: implications for future research
The recent publication of a Festschrift for Jean-Pierre Chauveau (Une anthropologie entre pouvoirs et histoire. Conversations autour de l’œuvre de Jean-Pierre Chauveau, eds Eyolf Jul-Larsen, Pierre-Joseph Laurent, Pierre-Yves Le Meur et Eric Léonard, 2011, Paris : IRD-APAD-Karthala) at his retirement provides an ideal occasion for an in-depth discussion about his work and its implications for further research. One of the great merits of his in-depth studies of developments in Ivory Coast over a considerable length of time was their predictive value. Already in his earlier studies of what used to be called the ‘Ivorian miracle’ one can find the traces of the problems that exploded so violently in the 1990’s. His sharp analysis of the way the ‘cacao-frontier’ moved through the country is crucial for understanding the present-day political divide in the country. Over the recent years, he continued to produce very valuable studies of present-day strife and violence, based on detailed data collected under particular difficult circumstances. This makes Chauveau’s work of interest far beyond the field of Ivory Coast studies only. Chauveau’s work is an example of how in-depth research can produce visionary insights into struggles over resources and issues of violence and peace. During this roundtable we propose to discuss both the main themes from the Festschrift offered to him, but also the implications of Chauveau’s insights for further research.
This roundtable will be in Portuguese | Free Admission
Pierre-Yves Le Meur (IRD)
Peter Geschiere (University of Amsterdam)
Thomas Bierschenk (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz)
Armando Cutolo (University of Siena)
Jean-Pierre Jacob (IHEID-Geneva)
Carola Lentz (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz)
Bruno Losch (CIRAD Montpellier)
Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan (LASDEL, Niamey)
Henri-Michel Yéré (University of Basel)
CRG violent conflict roundtable: Conducting fieldwork in African conflict areas: methodological questions on proximity
Conducting both qualitative and quantitative academic research on conflict dynamics in Africa often involves direct engagement ‘in the field’ and data collecting on the spot. The security conditions encountered while conducting fieldwork in African conflict settings, confront us with important methodological challenges. A context of violence, fragility and instability often challenges the researcher with a dilemma: to be present yourself on the spot or to coordinate locally conducted fieldwork from abroad; to conduct the fieldwork ‘in the heat of the battle’ or to do so once that battle is over. In other words, the researcher is faced with a dilemma of proximity or distance. It is well worth expanding these notions of proximity and distance, by using them as a window for a broader reflection on the relationship between the researcher and his/her research topic and on methodological flexibility in unstable research contexts. In this roundtable we will discuss several questions regarding proximity in time and place: What can be the value of so called ‘remote control’ research on conflict-related topics in Africa? Is a 100% proximity with local reality an illusion? To what extend can we rely on local informant networks? How reliable are more ‘distant’ sources of information such as the new media (blogs, twitter, skype…)? How do we increase proximity by strategies of local ‘embeddedness’ (in networks of armed groups, for example)?
The Collaborative Research Group on Violent Conflict is comprised of European scholars focusing on African conflict and post-conflict areas and dynamics.
Mats Utas and Karen Büscher
Karel Arnaut (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen)
Maria Eriksson Baaz (The Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala)
Mareike Schomerus (Department of International Development, LSE, London)
Morten Bøås (Fafo-Ais, Oslo)
Timothy Raeymaekers (Zurich University)
Maya Christensen (University of Copenhagen)
Writing in African Studies Journals: what, how, and where?
This roundtable will be a practical session about how to write for refereed journals. The general introduction will be given by David Pratten, followed by more specific, short presentations on the main characteristics of the journals represented on the panel (thematic scope, properties of the review process etc.). Afterwards, there will be plenty of time for questions.
Issues touched upon will include: how to contact international journals, different phases of the peer-reviewing process, language policies, open access journals, structure and coherence of your article, reference systems. Major journals in the field of African Studies have announced their presence.
Richard Banegas, Marie-Emmanuelle Pommerolle or David Ambrosetti (Director and editors of Politique africaine)
Nic Cheeseman & Rita Abrahamsen (Editors of African Affairs)
Joost Fontein & David Simon (Editor and chairman of the Journal of Southern African Studies )
Paul Nugent, Martine Walsh or Maggie Dwyer (Editors Team of the Journal of Modern African Studies)
David Pratten & Karin Barber (Co-editors of Africa, the Journal of the International African Institute)
Patrick Van Damme (Editor-in-Chief of Afrika Focus)
Katja Werthmann (Editor of Africa Spectrum)
Wolfgang Zeller (Editor of the Journal of Critical African Studies)
Kenya's 2013 election
Kenya’s recent 2013 election proved relatively peaceful, but they were also contentious. More specifically, there is an ongoing debate regarding the veracity of final results, and signifiance of the elections for the future peace and cohesion of the country and region; interpretation and implementation of Kenya’s 2010 constitution; and efforts to tackle an oft-cited ‘culture of impunity’. This roundtable brings together four experts to discuss these important issues, which are critical for a full understanding of contemporary Kenyan politics, and which also have broader implications for those studying elections and democratisation in Africa, democracy promotion efforts, institutional and constitutional reform, and transitional justice.
Nic Cheeseman will provide an overview of the elections. Gabrielle Lynch will then focus on the impact of the International Criminal Court’s intervention on the election, and signifiance of the Jubilee Alliance’s victory for the two cases at the ICC. Anders Sjögren will analyse Kenya’s first ever county-level elections, and relate this to elections at the national level (presidential and parliamentary), and discuss the prospects for devolution. Finally, Warigia Bowman will discuss the technological problems encountered by Kenya’s new Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the significance of these problems for unsuccessful presidential election petitions and ongoing dissatisfaction in some quarters. There will then be time for questions and a more interactive debate.
Warigia Bowman (Clinton School of Public Service, University of Arkansas, USA)
Nic Cheeseman (African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, UK)
Gabrielle Lynch (Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, UK)
Anders Sjögren (Department of Political Science, Stockholm University and The Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala)