Call for Proposals: The 2010 UC African Studies Dissertation Workshop

27 04 2010

The African Studies Multi-Campus Research Group invites applications for participation in

The UC African Studies Dissertation Workshop

to be held at University of California, Irvine, on Friday and Saturday, 1-2 October, 2010.


Victoria Bernal, Department of Anthropology & Laura Mitchell, Department of History

Application Deadline: May 28, 2010

Click here for the full Call for Proposals, application form and instructions.

UC Summer Abroad Programs in Africa

23 02 2010

Accra, Ghana: UC Davis: Culture and Development in an African Nation, 7/4/2010 - 8/1/2010
Instructor: Moradewun Adejunmobi

Durban, South Africa:  UC Davis ~ Race, Class, and Community Development in the New South Africa, 6/10/2010 - 7/17/2010
Instructor: Chris Benner

Nairobi, Kenya: UC Berkeley ~ Environment, Culture, and Peacebuilding, May 24, 2010 - July 2, 2010
Instructors: Leo Arriola, Tabitha Kanogo, and faculty from Kenyatta University

Yoff (Dakar) Senegal:  UC Los Angeles~ Sustainable Community Development, June 28 - August 22, 2010
Instructors: Arona Ba, Ousmane Aly Pame, Brooke McKean, Marian Zeitlin

Revisting Modernization Conference Documents

23 02 2010

The Revisiting Modernization Conference
27-31 July 2009 at University of Ghana-Legon

Conference Documents

  1. Programme
  2. Art Exhibit
  3. Films
  4. Dance Programme

Revisiting Modernization Preliminary Schedule Now Available

16 06 2009

We have just posted our preliminary schedule.  The final schedule will be available shortly.

Critical Investigations Into Humanitarianism in Africa Group Blog

9 06 2009

We would like to announce a new blog that grew out of the conference, ”Critical Investigations Into Humanitarianism in Africa,” held in January 2009 with the active collaboration of the UC African Studies MRG.

To view the blog, please go to:

We invite comments on current submissions as well as your own suggestions and contributions (the latter should be between 500-1200 words) on any aspect of humanitarianism on the African continent.  Submissions can be theoretical or conceptual, policy related, artistically inspired, commentaries on current events, or a combination of any of the above.  We welcome submissions from scholars, NGOs, students, foundations, the media, and others.

We arecurrently running the blog on a shoestring, so we ask your patience while we process submissions and suggestions.

To comment on the posts, click on “Comments” at the end of the post, and

“Add Comment.”

To submit a post, contact either Morgan Kronberger ( or Guillermo Narváez (

Zimbabwe Film at UCLA (June 10)

9 06 2009


A film by Darrell Roodt, Zimbabwe 2008

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:00 PM

James Bridges Theater, 1409 Melnitz Hall

Free and open to the public

Pay-by-space and all-day ($9) parking available in lot 3.

A young girl named Zimbabwe (so named by her patriotic father) finds that life gets even tougher in rural Zimbabwe after the death of her mother from the dreaded “thin disease” - AIDS. Her father has also perished from the disease, as has her elder sister, making her responsible for her younger brother and her niece, her sister’s baby daughter.

The village Headman tells her they must leave, that the village can no longer support them. A jar buried by her mother before her death contains some money (now rendered useless over years of hyperinflation) and an address of an aunt in the Zimbabwean border town of Beitbridge.

The three children walk for days until they get there, only to get an icy reception from the aunt. Though she reluctantly agrees to let them stay, they are treated like slaves. Zimbabwe is all but pushed by her extended family to jump the border into South Africa to find work to support them all.

In South Africa without any papers, she finds herself trapped in an illegal employment racket, where her pay is almost totally stolen, and she’s constantly raped at the house where she works. Threats of being reported to the police render her powerless against her abuse and exploitation.

Eventually she takes matters into her own hands and has to turn herself into the police - knowing she’ll be deported - rather than face a worse outcome.

Her home-coming is bittersweet: her Aunt’s guilt and worry creates an emotional and warm welcome but Zimbabwe learns that her brother, Dumi, has just left to attempt a crossing of the Limpopo River in search of her… the cycle of tragedy continues.

Part of the International Human Rights Film Series.

About the International Human Rights Film Series:

From January to June, the UCLA International Institute presented recent documentaries and feature films on human rights issues that receive little attention in the United States.  These films stand out for their depiction of issues on terms dictated from within the countries and cultures that they examine.  Featuring commentary from filmmakers and scholars, each screening provided an opportunity for public discussion about the issues.

Dr. Gilbert Maoundonodji from Chad at UCLA (May 19)

16 05 2009


Presents Dr. Gilbert Maoundonodji from Chad

Tuesday, May 19th @ 1:30 pm

Bunche 11377  –  please note room

11377 is on the 11th floor of Bunche Hall


Dr. Gilbert Maoundonodji is president of the Association for the Promotion of Fundamental Liberties in Chad (APLFT), a human rights organization based in the Chadian capital of N’Djamena. As APLFT president, he has established the Independent National Observatory for Election Processes and Democracy (ONIPED) and has overseen the selection and deployment of hundreds of election observers during Chad’s national elections in 2001. An active member of Chad’s civil society, Dr. Maoundonodji has served as vice president of the executive board of Radio FM Liberty and as editor of the magazine Tchad et Culture. He is an expert on oil extraction in Chad and currently sits on the international board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. He recently completed his doctoral dissertation in political science entitled, “Geopolitical and Geostrategic Stakes of Oil Exploitation in Chad” and holds a PhD from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). During his fellowship, Dr. Maoundonodji is studying the relationship between oil exploitation and democracy in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on the case of Chad.

James Ferguson at UCSB (May 19)

7 05 2009

Declarations of Dependence: Labor, Personhood, and Welfare in South Africa and Beyond
James Ferguson (Anthropology, Stanford University)
Tuesday, May 19 / 11:00 AM
McCune Conference Room

South Africa has in recent decades gone through a wrenching transformation from a labor-scarce society to a labor-surplus one.  Labor scarcity through most of the 19th and 20th centuries led to forms of social solidarity and social personhood that had significant  continuities with the pre-colonial past (continuities that are obscured by conventional narratives that emphasize the rise of  capitalism as a complete and comprehensive break with the past).  It is suggested that the South African experience reveals, in an extreme  and clarifying form, a set of processes that are occurring in many  other parts of the world.  Better understanding such processes may help us to find our way past some of the current impasses in progressive politics.  James Ferguson is Professor and Chair of the Department of  Anthropology at Stanford University. Ferguson’s most recent book,  Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order, was published  by Duke University Press in 2006. He is now beginning a new research  project in South Africa, exploring the emergence of new problematics of poverty and social policy under conditions of neoliberalism.

Sponsored by the IHC’s African Studies RFG, the Department of History, and the Department of Anthropology.

Benjamin F. Soares at UCSB (May 1)

30 04 2009

TALK: “Rasta” Sufis and Muslim Youth Culture in Mali
Benjamin F. Soares (African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands)
Friday, May 1 / 11:00 AM
4020 HSSB

In this talk, Benjamin Soares is concerned with understanding changing modalities of religious expression and modes of belonging among Muslim youth in contemporary Mali. While much recent scholarship about Muslim youth privileges Islamism, trajectories of political radicalization, as well as ethical modes of self-fashioning associated with so-called piety movements, the case of young self-styled Sufis — sometimes dubbed “Rasta” Sufis — in urban Mali helps to illustrate other ways certain youth have been refashioning how to be young and Muslim. By focusing on these young Muslims’ activities, including their religious practices, sophisticated engagement with the media, and religious marketing, Soares explores the cultural politics of Muslim youth who are involved in building new communities and dreaming of a world different from the one in which they find themselves.

Sponsored by the IHC’s African Studies RFG, the Center for Middle East Studies, the Dept. of History, and the Dept. of Religious Studies

Bianca Murillo Speaks about Ghana at UCSB

13 04 2009

BIANCA MURILLO, “The Politics of Consumption in the Gold Coast/Ghana, 1930-75″
Tuesday, April 14, 2009, 12:30 pm
Feminist Studies Seminar Room (4631 South Hall)

Bianca Murillo is completing her dissertation and will give a talk based on her extensive research — it’s her practice job talk, so come and support her.

[Dissertation Abstract]
“The Politics of Consumption in the Gold Coast/Ghana, 1930-75″
This dissertation explores the politics of consumption in the Gold  Coast/ Ghana from 1930-75, a period that encompasses British  colonialism, rapid urbanization, political independence, military  rule, and severe economic decline. By ?politics,? I refer not only to  the conflicts over power and authority that surround access to goods  and control over systems of distribution, but also the regulation of  consumer practices and the organization of consumer space. Drawing  upon both archival and oral research, this project examines how  shifting relationships between foreign capital, colonial/postcolonial  governments and groups of African retailers and consumers shaped these  processes. It argues that efforts to construct and control Ghanaian  markets by the colonial state and foreign capitalists were limited by  deep-rooted critiques of the colonial economy and trading policies, as  well as cultural understandings of wealth and accumulation. After WWII  these issues came to head as Africans used their identities as consumers to assert economic and political rights. After independence  in 1957, the country?s first Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah linked  ideologies of consumerism to notions of freedom, equality,  modernization, and development. He hoped that a flourishing consumer  society, among other things, would help legitimize Ghana as a new  independent nation. In the late 1960s, a declining economy,  outstanding foreign debts, and increased militarization of the state  challenged these ideas. Government-imposed import and price controls  echoed colonial attempts to control the market. Coercive state  measures fueled and increased black market trading and the public  created their own marketing system or what other scholars have described as a ?beat-the-system? economy.

This talk is organized by the RFG African Studies and co-sponsored by Feminist Studies and History.