15 Jun African Studies Research Focus Group
Convener: Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie (History of Art and Architecture), firstname.lastname@example.org
The IHC African Studies Research Focus is an interdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students with diverse research interests in African studies. Established in 1998, the group meets approximately two to three times a quarter to share ongoing research interests in African studies and to discuss relevant readings that engage with theories, epistemologies, and practices of African studies. Once a year, the group hosts an outside speaker addressing an issue relevant to the group’s discussion.
Established in 1998, the African Studies RFG has been active in bringing several guest speakers to campus, including the internationally acclaimed writer Chris Abani (UC Riverside) in 2004, the distinguished historian Toyin Falola (University of Texas) in 2006, the prominent globalization theorist and anthropologist James Ferguson (Stanford University) in 2009, the acclaimed Zimbabwean musician Thomas Mampfumo in 2010, the anthropologist Filip De Boeck (University of Leuven, Belgium) in 2011, and the world-renowned Ghanaian author, Ama Ata Aidoo in 2012, and the historian Jean Allman (Washington University, St. Louis) in 2014. The group’s activities have led to numerous conferences at UCSB and beyond. In 2001, the RFG organized the conference “Africa After Gender? An Exploration of New Epistemologies for African Studies.” Ama Ata Aidoo’s visit was an integral part of the 2012 conference, “Gender, Creative Dissidence, and the Discourses of African Diaspora.”2 In 2008, members of the RFG launched the University of California African Studies Multi-Campus Research Group (MRG), which has organized several conferences and dissertation workshops, most prominently the Revisiting Modernization Conference at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana in July 2009 and the conference Archives of Post-independence Africa and its Diaspora, held on Gorée Island, Senegal in June 2012. The RFG from 2012-2014 expanded upon theme of Alternative Archives for Africa in the Post-colonial Era. The RFG was hibernated during 2014-2015.