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56th Annual Meeting: Important logistics information

It is hard to believe that the 56th Annual Meeting is less than two weeks away! We are very excited, as this promises to be a great event. We certainly look forward to seeing you there. The ASA secretariat has put this article together in partnership with the 56th Annual Meeting Local Arrangements Committee (LAC), to highlight some of the important things you need to know about the conference.





  • The ASA’s room-block at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel is currently closed, and the hotel is sold out for the nights of Friday November 22nd, and Saturday November 23rd. We are working with the hotel to secure some courtesy room blocks at nearby hotels, and will post any new information as we have it.
  • The ASA has partnered with Grupio, to provide a Mobile Event app for the conference. For instructions on downloading the app and to begin using it, click here.
  • There will be complimentary WiFi on all meeting floors this year! The wifi code will be provided in the final conference program.
  • Make time in your busy conference schedules to attend the special Film Screenings we have organised at the Reginald Lewis Museum. The film-makers will be attending the conference and will hold Q & A sessions after the screenings. The titles of the films are Tey, Pumzi and Something Necessary. Full details will be listed in the final conference program.
  • The artist behind the 56th Annual Meeting image, The Great Migration: People of the African Diaspora, Helina Metaferia, will be attending the conference and exhibiting some of her beautiful work. The exhibit will be in Grand Foyer West of the hotel, and she will also have some pieces for sale.
  • The Welcome Reception will be held on Thursday, November 21 from 7:30PM to 9:30PM in Grand Ballroom Salon VI. The reception is open to all registered Annual Meeting attendees!
  • The Presidential Lecture, given by Professor Abdi Samatar and entitled Scholarship, Politics, and the Fate of the Somali People will be held on Friday, November 22 from 12:00PM to 1:00PM in Grand Ballroom Salon VI.
  • The African Studies Review (ASR) Distinguished Lecture given by Professor Iris Berger and entitled African Women’s Movements in the Twentieth Century: A Hidden History, will be held on Friday, November 22 from 1:15PM to 2:15PM, in Grand Ballroom Salon VI. 
  • Plan to attend the ASA Board sponsored Current Issues Plenary, entitled Genomic Research Flows and Health in Africa, on Friday, November 22 at 2:30 pm-4:30 pm in Grand Ballroom Salon VI. This event is Co-Sponsored with the Health and Medicine Group.
  • The Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola Lecture is being given this year by Professor Salah Hassan, and is entitled Rethinking Cosmopolitanism: Is ‘Afropolitan’ the Answer? The lecture will be held on Saturday, November 23 in Grand Ballroom Salon VI at 1:15 pm-2:45 pm.
  • Attend the ASA Special Forum on US Policy in Africa which will feature Ambassador Bisa Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. The session will be moderated by Mr. Steve McDonald, of the Wilson Centre. The forum will be held on Thursday November 21st at 1:30PM to 2:30PM in Grand Ballroom Salon VI.
  • The Women’s Caucus Lecture and luncheon will be held on Saturday November 23rd, at 12:00PM to 1:15PM, in Grand Ballroom Salon VI. The lecture this year will be given by Dr. Ngwarsungu Chiwengo and is entitled Congo (DR) Women: History of Atrocities, Myths, Trauma and Resilience.
  • The Award Ceremony will be held on Saturday November 23rd, at 8:30PM, in Grand Ballroom Salon VI. This year in addition to the awards, we have the pleasure of the presence of Mr. Driss Benhima, CEO of Royal Air Maroc (RAM), who will be announcing an exciting new partnership between RAM and the ASA. We will also be giving out the first set of awards for the ASA-Royal Air Maroc Student Travel Award.
  • Put your dancing shoes on! All ASA Annual Meeting registrants are invited to the ASA Dance Party. This year, music will be provided by Sitali.

Top Fifteen Activities for Conference Participants (Adults)

Walk the scenic waterfront pathway to and around the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, day or night.

Turn right out the front door of the Marriott, and right again at the water.  Walk the red brick pathway past the rear of the hotel, then follow the foot bridges to your left past the Pier 5 Hotel and again on to the Power Plant (with the large smoke stacks) around the corner by Chipotle.  Once in front of the Power Plant by the Barnes & Noble Bookstore or near the National Aquarium, you are at the Inner Harbor, which continues on for several blocks from there, curving around the water to your left toward the Science Museum and beyond.

View downtown Baltimore from the romantic observation deck near the Marriott Waterfront Hotel, especially at night.

Sunset and nighttime are best. Turn right out of the front door of the Marriott and left at the water, continue one short block along the water to the broad viewing deck.  In inclement weather, view downtown Baltimore from the Marriott using the windows near the conference meeting rooms, up both sets of escalators.

Explore the Baltimore Civil War Museum (601 President Street, Baltimore) map

One block north of the Marriott, this interesting museum with some growing pains interprets Baltimore during the Civil War.  Good for 30-60 minute quick getaway from the hotel.  A donation is requested but admission is free.

Visit the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture (830 E. Pratt Street) map

Five blocks north of the Marriott Waterfront Hotel on President Street, this is the premier museum of African American history and culture in the northern Chesapeake region.  An easy walk.  Admission is $8.

Take a lunch or dinner cruise on the Baltimore Harbor

Boats depart from the Inner Harbor near the Baltimore Visitor Center (401 Light Street) map

Baltimore Spirit Cruises

Watermark Cruises

Urban Pirates Cruises

Visit the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA)

Four miles north of the conference hotel on the edge of The Johns Hopkins University campus; take a taxi or a city bus (sorry, the free Charm City Circulator bus does not reach as far as the BMA; you can take the Charm City Circulator to Penn Station and then enter a taxi or a northbound city bus number 3 or 11 on Charles Street). The BMA has a superb collection of African art but unfortunately it is all in storage while new space is being renovated for the permanent installation.  But visit the museum’s excellent collections of European and Asian art.  Admission is free, excepting special exhibitions.

Relax after a long day of panels by enjoying a movie at the Landmark Theater, a convenient one block away from the Marriott, at the roundabout (645 S. President Street) map 

Explore historic and lively Fell’s Point map

Fell’s Point is the old ship-building neighborhood of Baltimore, today home to multiple bars, restaurants, and shops.  It lies east of the Marriott hotel and can be accessed by walking 10 short blocks eastward (left out of the front door of the Marriott) along Aliceanna street to Broadway Avenue (just 10 minutes), and turning right (south) toward the waterfront.  See the restaurant guide for Fells Point eating suggestions.

Visit the Walters Art Museum 

In the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore (so named for the Washington Monument that dominates the neighborhood). The museum is approximately two miles north of the conference hotel.  Take a taxi or the free Charm City Circulator bus (transferring from the westbound Green Line to the northbound Purple Line).  Admission is free, excepting special exhibitions.  The current special exhibition relating to Africa: Egypt’s Mysterious Book of the Faiyum

Visit the American Visionary Art Museum, Inner Harbor

A half hour walk from the Marriott Hotel, it is more easily accessed by taxi, water taxi, or the free Charm City Circulator bus.  This museum of nonprofessional art is unique and will leave a definite impression.  Admission is $15.95.

Explore the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine 

The inspiration for the national anthem of the United States.  Admission: Adults $7; children to age 15, free.  The scenic park grounds are free and offer a lovely walk and place to exercise. You can either use the free Charm City Circulator bus, or hail a taxi to get here (unfortunately the Water Taxi will not take you to the Fort in November). Fair warning to our friends from the UK: the jingoistic film in the visitor center commemorating the war of 1812 can be unpleasant—or humorous—depending on your mood.

Visit the ships of the Baltimore Maritime Museum

Four ships in Baltimore’s inner harbor.  Both kids’ and adults’ favorite ship is typically the USS Constellation—which we recommend—and which for a time in the nineteenth century served as an anti-slave-trade patrol off of both North and West Central Africa (it was the flagship of the U.S. African Squadron, 1859-1861).  The USS Constellation is both fun and educational.  Admission to one ship: $11 Adults; $9 Children.

Enjoy an evening of jazz at a Baltimore Jazz Club

Visit the web site or ask the hotel concierge for venues and shows.  You will most likely have to utilize a taxi.

Ponder the Katyn Memorial

The sculpture in the middle of the traffic roundabout one block east of the Marriott hotel (left as you exit the front doors). A sculpture memorial to the mass execution of Polish military officers on the orders of Hitler in 1941.

Take advantage of additional Baltimore cultural attractions:

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Center Stage (now playing: “A Civil War Christmas”)

Had enough of Baltimore?  Hop on a train to Washington D.C.

Maryland Transit Administration (MTA)


On weekdays, MARC commuter trains depart from Baltimore’s Camden Yards station and from Baltimore’s Penn Station, and cost $7 each way.  On weekends, however, you must take Amtrak from Baltimore’s Penn Station, and the cost is typically $25 or more one way (very sorry, that’s how it is).  MARC train tickets are for unreserved seats and can easily be purchased at the train station; for Amtrak you should probably purchase your ticket at Amtrak’s website before proceeding to Baltimore’s Penn Station.

Activities in Washington D.C. are legion, with most of the United States’ various unities, forged or tested in wars and major political and social movements, monumentalized in stone. They are accessible via leased bicyletour bus from Union Station, or via taxicab (recommended: Barwood) for those with the means to hire a car. Those memorials include the Martin Luther King Monument, the Jefferson Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Lincoln Park statue, La la la; the Washington Monument, which is at present being repaired under a dramatic scaffolding, and of course the Capitol Building and the White House. Fine dining can be had along “the U-Street Corridor,” around Dupont Circle, Chevy Chase, Tenley Town, Bethesda, MD, on Capitol Hill, and elsewhere, from Ben’s Chili Bowl to 1741.



Top Ten Activities in Baltimore for Children with their Conferencing Parents

Movies at the Landmark Theater

Pier 5 outdoor Playground 

2 blocks, outside.  In front of the Pier 5 Hotel and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.  Walk toward the Inner Harbor (turn right out the front door of the Marriott).  Admission is free and has a musical theme! 

Port Discovery Children’s Museum

5 blocks.  This museum/play place with a good half-day’s activities for children is worth a visit.  Admission is $14.  Perfect on a rainy day.

Ripley's Believe it or Not Odditorium

At the Inner Harbor (6 blocks).  Experience the weird and wonderful.  Admission is $13.

 The Maryland Science Center

A science museum geared toward children of all ages, Inner Harbor (7 blocks), includes an Imax theater and planetarium.  Adults $17; children $14.  The most educational and substantive of indoor children’s activities.

 The Baltimore Maritime Museum

Four ships in Baltimore’s inner harbor.  Both kids’ and adults’ favorite ship is typically the USS Constellation—recommended—which for a time served as an anti-slave-trade patrol off West Central Africa, and was the flagship of the U.S. African Squadron, 1859-1861.  The USS Constellation is both fun and educational.  Admission to one ship: $11 Adults; $9 Children.

Fort McHenry

Inspiration for the Star Spangled Banner, the U.S. National Anthem.  See the adult section for more information.  Exploring the grounds of Fort McHenry is free, admission to the fort proper $7 adults, children to age 15 are free.

Ride the Water Taxi

Access the Water Taxi from landing site 7 to the right just outside the Marriott front door, or from many other access points around the harbor.  Ride about the harbor

The National Aquarium

Inner Harbor (5 blocks).  Fun, though fairly expensive and often packed with people (best before 11:00 am and after 3:00 pm). Or try Friday evening, when admission is reduced.  Adults $35, Children $22.

 A Cruise in Baltimore’s Harbor: Dinner and lunch cruises.  See the adult section for more information.

Dining and Shopping in the Inner Harbor

Harbor East Restaurants, Near the Marriott Waterfront Hotel (Restaurants marked * come especially recommended). We have divided this list into three categories, inexpensive, moderate, and expensive. For more information please consult the Concierge at the Marriott or visit the restaurant Web Sites

 Inexpensive (dinner mains less than $10)

 *La Mill Coffee, LAMI/LLCO/FFEE (coffee/tea with a beautiful view, 1 block) map

Starbucks Coffee (1 block) map

Häagen Dazs (Ice cream, 1 block) map

 *Whole Foods (groceries, cold & hot takeout items, bakery, deli, and more, 2 blocks) map

 Manchurian Rice Co. Asian Grill (Asian stir-fry, 2 blocks) map

 Harbor East Delicatessen & Pizzeria (Sandwiches & Pizza, 2 blocks) map

 Taco Fiesta (Mexican-American with a bar, 2 blocks) map

 *Teavolve Café and Lounge (4 blocks) map

Moderate (dinner mains $10-20)

Pabu (Japanese Pub, 1 block) map

 *James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant (1 block) map

*Talara (Fine Latin American Bistro, seviche specialty, 1 block) map

*Lebanese Taverna (Middle Eastern, yummy, cozy, good bar, 2 blocks) map

Chiu’s Sushi (Sushi/Japanese, 2 blocks) map

Bagby Pizza (Pizza joint & good beers, 3 blocks) map

RA Sushi (Sushi/Japanese, 3 blocks) map

GB Brewery & Restaurant (Brewpub & American cuisine, 3 blocks) map

*Pazo (Spanish tapas, 4 blocks; moderate if you eat tapas, expensive if you order mains) map

 Chazz (Bronx Italian eatery, 4 blocks) map

Townhouse Kitchen & Bar (American, 6 blocks) map 

Nandos (Portuguese flame-grilled chicken. For all Nandos addicts, this South African-born classic is now stateside!) map

Expensive (dinner mains typically $20-40)

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Bar (1 block) map

Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Bar & Restaurant (Hawaiian Fusion chain, 1 block) map

*Wit and Wisdom Bar & Restaurant (Fresh American Dining, great view, 1 block) map

The Oceanaire Seafood Room & Bar (Seafood, 2 blocks) map

*Cinghiale (Italian, 2 blocks) map

*Charleston (Fine Chesapeake Cuisine, 3 blocks) map

*Fleet Street Kitchen (Fine Fresh American dining, 3 blocks) map

Ouzo Bay (Fresh Greek cuisine, 3 blocks) map

Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Steak chain, 3 blocks) map

 *Waterfront Kitchen (“Spirited” American Dining, highly recommended, 7 blocks) map

Harbor East Shopping, Immediate Vicinity of Conference Hotel

Anthropologie (women’s clothing, 1 block)

J. Crew (clothing, 1 block)

South Moon Under (clothing, 1 block)

Aarhaus Furniture (furniture, 1 block)

Handbags in the City (women’s clothing & accessories, 1 block)

Lululemon Athletica (women’s clothing, 1 block)

City Sports (sportswear, 1 block)

Urban Chic (women’s clothing, 1 block)

Amaryllis Jewelry (handcrafted jewelry, 1 block)

Sassanova (women’s clothing, 1 block)

MAC Cosmetics (women’s cosmetics; 2 blocks)

CVS Pharmacy (basic pharmacy/chemist, 2 blocks)

Whole Foods Grocery Store (groceries & wide range of takeout foods, 2 blocks)

 Bin 604 (Fine wines & beer, 2 blocks, next door to Whole Foods Grocery) map 

Under Armour (Baltimore-based sportswear company, 2 blocks)

Barnes & Noble Bookstore (large bookstore, Baltimore inner harbor, 8 blocks)


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