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Film Screenings at ASA 2014

By Ken Harrow

Professor Ken Harrow organizes the ASA conference film screenings, and also coordinates the video marketplace in the exhibit hall

In November of 2014 we screened two films for the ASA conference. In addition to providing dozens of dvds for attendees to view at the Exhibit hall, we determined that projecting two important films, one on Friday and another on Saturday, might best fit the schedules of people attending the conference, what with all the other obligations and panels competing for people’s time.

Indianapolis 2014: Thank you

by Kathryn Salucka

We can’t believe that it’s been almost two months since the 57th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis! We had a blast meeting new members, attending keynote lectures, and seeing the cutting-edge research that was presented. We enjoyed following the conversation and getting your feedback through our app, through #ASA2014, and through our surveys. The ASA greatly appreciates your participation in these surveys, as we use your responses to learn what we did right, and where we still need to improve. We’re already starting to plan for the 2015 Annual Meeting in sunny San Diego, and we hope we see you there.

In the meantime, we’ve loved reading recaps of the Annual Meeting by attendees. You can see some of them here:

Literary Studies at the African Studies Association 2014: Review
Africa Meets the (mid)West
Oromo Studies Scholars Bring Important Topics to the Table at ASA Meeting in Indianapolis

If you wrote a recap you’d like us to include in this post, please email us the link at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Feminists We Love: Professor Amina Mama

Re-published from ©Feminist Wire

Written by Hakima Abass

Professor Amina Mama is Nigerian-British feminist intellectual who has worked for over two decades in research, teaching, organizational change and organizing, and editing in Nigeria, Britain, The Netherlands, South Africa and the USA. She spent a decade at the University of Cape Town’s African Gender Institute where she led the collaborative development of feminist studies and research for African contexts. Author and editor of a range of books and articles on state feminism, militarism, colonialism, feminist methodologies grounded in African contexts, Amina currently earns her living as a professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of California. She pursues longstanding interests in radical knowledge production and dissemination through research and teaching, as founding editor of the open access gender studies journal Feminist Africa, and most recently by working in collaboration with Director/Producer Yaba Badoe on the production of two documentary films: The Witches of Gambaga (2011) and The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo (2014).

I first met Professor Amina Mama at the African Feminist Forum in Uganda in 2008.  I had read her early book Beyond the Masks: Race, Gender and Subjectivity as well as several of her publications on African feminist thought and practice.  In Uganda she spoke about the paradox of Africa’s decreasing civil wars and increasing militarism in the context of globalized neoliberal oppression and imperialism.  What struck me about Professor Mama’s approach was her insistence on sabotaging the false separation between African feminist thought and activism.  Over the last months, I have had the pleasure of working with her on two upcoming editions of the journal Feminist Africa, dedicated to the theme ‘feminism and pan-Africanism’.  The editions pose the question: what can a genuinely radical pan-African engagement contribute to the transformation of multiple systemic oppressions, including gendered oppressions, that continue to sustain the under-development of the resource-rich African continent?


Knowledge, Peace, Prosperity and Equality: Reflections on the Inauguration of the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library

By Elias Bongmba 
Harry and Hazel Chair in Christian Theology and Professor of Religion
Rice University


Toyin Falola
University Distinguished Teaching Professor
Jacob and Frances Mossiker Chair in the Humanities
University of Texas at Austin
The Julius Nyerere Chair of Modern African History-At-Large, Benue State University, Nigeria

We were privileged, on September 16-17, 2014, to join former South African president. Mr. Thabo Mbeki, The Thabo Mbeki Foundation, and the University of South Africa (UNISA) at a colloquium titled “The Power of Memory in Shaping Humanity,” and the launching of The Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library (TMPL) on the elegant campus of UNISA. The goal of the TMPL is to serve as a living library, a center for the production of knowledge, and the promotion of peace building, prosperity, and equality to transform the entire African continent. 

Parables from Wangari Maathai's Trees, by Wole Soyinka

Presented at the Storymoja Literary Festival in Nairobi, Kenya- September, 2014

Republished with permission

Trees bring out the whimsical in a variety of human sensibilities. Also the lyrical, the rapturous, or the simply reassuring, as in family belonging. Lately however, that is, in the past decade or two, trees have attained apocalyptic dimensions – sitting in judgment over humanity – will the proceeding end in a reprieve, or a death sentence on the planet itself? No wonder I have also been lately struck by the fact that, even without their newly conferred powers, trees have played an intimate, even dynamic role in the evolution of human culture – and history – especially on this continent. To go all the way back to beginnings, it would not be out of place to speculate that it was under one such an accommodating canopy of boughs that our great forebears underwent the earliest formulation of community. That seems quite plausible, even inevitable, since trees offer not only land bearings, but shelter against the sun. This primordial subconscious, I propose, is why we are hardly ever content to let a tree be - a tree - just a tree in itself and for itself, a replete presence in its own right. Apart from obvious utilitarian ends that the tree offers - shade, protection, food, material convertibility etc etc., we even impose on it the burden of reference points, metaphors, ethical abstractions and injunctions in forms of proverbs, analogies, celebrate the tree in reams and reams of poetry, entrenching it in social consciousness through the painterly arts and numerous other forms of cooption to the ends of aesthetics and iconography.

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