- 17 May 2017
The ASA secretariat is pleased to announce the 2017 Board election results as follows:
Maria Grosz-Ngate, Associate Director, African Studies Program, Indiana University
Bessie House-Soremekun, Associate Dean and Professor of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts, Jackson State University
Sean Jacobs, Associate Professor of International Affairs, The New School and Africa is a Country
Ebenezer Obadare, Professor of Sociology, University of Kansas
The ASA Board of Directors congratulates its new officer and directors, and extends its sincere appreciation to all the candidates for their willingness to serve the Association. Electees will take office at the Fall meeting of the Board.
The 2017 election ballot was powered and counted by ©Simply Voting.
- 15 May 2017
The African Studies Association Board of Directors awarded eight grants at its 2017 Spring Board Meeting to ASA Coordinate and Affiliate Organizations. The awarded grants were supported by the 50th Anniversary Fund of the association, and will support activities ranging from conferences in Africa to travel support for scholars on the continent.
2017 is the first year in which the ASA has awarded grants to its Coordinate and Affiliate organizations. Funds raised by the ASA’s 60th Anniversary Campaign will support these grants in future years. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the 60th Anniversary Campaign to support these, and other strategic priorities of the ASA, you can do so here.
Information about each supported project can be found below – you can also watch the ASA Blog for updates about each activity throughout the year.
Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA)
ACASA was awarded a grant to support their 17th Annual Triennial Symposium on African Art, to be held at the University of Ghana, August 8-13, 2017. You can find more information about the Triennial here.
Africa Network will receive support to build a digital, open access journal called Teaching Africa, which will focus on topics of pedagogy in African Studies and will share instructional resources for educators. Africa Network, an Affiliate Organization of the ASA, promotes the study of Africa within the liberal arts. More information about Africa Network is available here.
African Politics Conference Group (APCG)
APCG was awarded a grant to support the participation of Africa-based scholars in a pre-conference session at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting that will provide those scholars with in depth feedback on their research to prepare those scholars for publication.
Central African Studies Association (CASA)
The Central African Studies Association received a grant to help support the association in bringing a scholar from Cameroon to attend the ASA Annual Meeting. You can find more information about the Central African Studies Association here.
Congolese Studies Association (CSA)
The Congolese Studies Association was awarded a grant to support the costs of a scholar based in Africa to attend the ASA Annual Meeting. More information about the Congolese Studies Association is available here.
Igbo Studies Association (ISA)
The ISA received a grant to support the 15th Annual International Conference of the Igbo Studies Association, to be held June 8-10, 2017, in Owerri, Nigeria. You can find more information about the Igbo Studies Association and the Annual International Conference here.
Mande Studies Association (MANSA)
MANSA was awarded a grant to facilitate the travel of Africa-based academics to the 10th International Conference on Mande Studies, which will be held at Grand Bassam, Cote d’Ivoire, August 2-6, 2017. More information about the conference and MANSA is available here.
North American Association of Scholars on Cameroon (NAASC)
The North American Association of Scholars on Cameroon received a grant to facilitate the attendance of a graduate student at the ASA Annual Meeting in Chicago this November.
- 19 April 2017
The ASA wishes to express its concern regarding the growing threats to academic and press freedom not only in the US but abroad. Over the past several years, scholars and journalists have been harassed, attacked, arrested, and subject to imprisonment, often on dubious grounds. As one of the key academic and professional associations promoting the dissemination of knowledge about Africa, the African Studies Association re-affirms its commitment to freedom of expression and freedom of speech. It would like to note its particular concern about our former Presidential Fellow and member of the ASA, Dr. Stella Nyanzi, of Uganda, who is currently being held in a maximum security prison on charges that she insulted the President of Uganda. The following letter to the President of Uganda addresses the particulars of her case.
15 April 2017
To H.E. the President of Uganda, Yoweri K. Museveni
The Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Museveni
The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Kahinda Otafire
We write on behalf of the African Studies Association, a scholarly organisation composed of over 2,000 university academics based in the United States, Europe and Africa. As an Association, we work to ‘promote conditions of free inquiry and the principles and public understanding of academic freedom’.
The ASA is concerned about the detention of Makerere scholar Stella Nyanzi, who is being held on remand on charges of ‘cyber harassment’, for disturbing the ‘peace, quiet or right to privacy’ of the President, and for ‘obscene and indecent’ speech. Dr. Nyanzi was a 2013 Presidential Fellow of this Association.
Provocative speech has a long, distinguished, and inspirational history in Uganda’s public life. In 1945 and again in 1949 Uganda’s earliest nationalists—among them the trade unionist Ignatius Musazi and the provocateur Semakula Mutumba—criticised British colonial government in extremely intemperate language. Their criticisms helped to inspire Ugandan commoners to challenge the autocratic officials who governed them. In 1953 through 1955 the newspaperman Jolly Joe Kiwanuka published a number of offensive editorials criticising the British government for sending Kabaka Frederick Mutesa into exile. His campaign helped to inspire Ganda people to boycott European business, and pressured the British government to agree to Mutesa’s return. In the late 1950s and early 1960s the demagogue Augustine Kamya mobilised tens of thousands of urban commoners with his loud, aggressive speeches against the monopolies that controlled Uganda’s economy. The movement he inspired helped to promote African ownership of Uganda’s businesses. In the late 1960s the journalists Rajat Neogy and Abubakar Mayanja were imprisoned for authoring cutting critiques of the Milton Obote government in the magazine Transition. And in the early 1980s a young activist named Yoweri Museveni campaigned against the brutalities of Milton Obote’s second government in a series of provocative circular letters.
To their critics, men like Kiwanuka, Kamya and Neogy were rabble-rousers, inciting discontent and insulting their social betters. From our retrospective vantage point we can see them differently. Their language, though deemed offensive by some, helped to clarify injustices, called attention to wrongs, and challenged ordinary people to invest themselves in the betterment of political life.
Dr. Nyanzi’s posts on Facebook and other media stand in this same tradition. They may be considered by many as intemperate and objectionable. But we urge you to rise above the fray and to respond, not by imprisoning Dr. Nyanzi, but by taking the substance of her argument seriously. Democracies function best when leaders of public opinion are given space and opportunity to express discontent. Free expression of opinion can sometimes be offensive. But—as Uganda’s own history shows—it is by free expression that a more just and more open society can be established.
We urge you therefore to direct the Minister of Justice to drop charges against Dr. Nyanzi and restore her to liberty. We urge you, furthermore, to reiterate your support for the exercise of academic freedom at Makerere University and at other institutions of higher learning in Uganda.
The Board of Directors
African Studies Association
- 02 May 2017
2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the African Studies Association. To recognize the past 60 years and to look forward to the next 60, the ASA Board of Directors launched the 60th Anniversary Campaign. This campaign will fund strategic initiatives that are critical to the ASA’s mission, and which expand the impact and reach of the Association. The ASA has set a fundraising goal of $100,000 to help support:
• The expansion of the ASA Presidential Fellows Program, with a goal of doubling the number of scholars based in African institutions that we are able to support to attend the Annual Meeting
• Funding for initiatives for the Emerging Scholars Network, including professional development opportunities
• Conferences and events in Africa – the 50th Anniversary Fund provided $20,000 in travel support for scholars to attend the first ever ASA meeting on the continent. We hope the 60th Anniversary Fund will provide similar support in future meetings
• Expansion of ASA advocacy programs and events
• Creation of a small grants program for ASA coordinate organizations
You can track the progress of the Campaign here. Please consider donating $60 or $600 in support of the ASA for our next 60 years!
By coming together, the ASA membership can help support these important initiatives. Did you know:
- 9 donations of $60 can fund a small grant for a Coordinate Organization
- 16 donations of $60 can fund an advocacy travel grant for an ASA member
- 34 donations of $60 can fund a travel subsidy for an emerging scholar to attend the next ASA conference in Africa
- 50 donations of $60 can fund an additional Presidential Fellow to attend the ASA Annual Meeting
In 2016, the ASA had just over 1800 members. If each ASA member donated $60, we would raise $108,000! $108,000 would allow the ASA to:
- Welcome 36 Presidential Fellows to the ASA Annual Meeting
- Provide 54 travel grants to ASA conferences in Africa
- Give over 200 grants to Coordinate Organizations
- 18 April 2017
Don't forget to vote in the 2017 ASA Board of Directors Election!
You may vote in the 2017 election by going to the ASA online voting portal and entering your automatically generated elector ID and password.
All current ASA members have received this information via email. If you believe you are a current member but did not receive an automated email, please be sure to check your junk and spam mailbox before contacting the ASA at
Candidate statements for all candidates can be found on the online ballot, by clicking the "view details" link next to each candidate's name.