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Welcome to the Fall 2016 edition of ASA News!

Welcome to the Fall 2016 edition of ASA News! In this issue you will find letters from the ASA President and Executive Director, member announcements, and information about new ASA initiatives and developments. We hope you enjoy this issue, and please feel free to share your feedback about this issue with us by emailing the ASA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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From the President

Dear Colleagues,

As I write this letter, plans for the 59th annual meeting of the African Studies Association in Washington DC are being finalized. And what an exciting meeting it will be: under the umbrella of the theme “Imagining Africa at the Center: Bridging Scholarship, Policy and Representation in African Studies,” the program features a vibrant menu of panels, roundtables, keynote lectures, professional development workshops, live-streaming sessions, and more. We are grateful to Program Chairs Benjamin Lawrance (Rochester Institute of Technology) and William Moseley (Macalester College) and Local Arrangement Committee Chairs Eve Ferguson (Library of Congress), Alem Hailu (Howard University), and Carl LeVan (American University) and their committee members for their tireless work to create an engaging and enjoyable meeting.

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Fall 2016 Advocacy Update

Building on the 2015 decision of the ASA Board of Directors, the African Studies Association has expanded its advocacy efforts and engagements in 2016. The ASA will continue to inform our members of opportunities for advocacy, and reminds our members to review the ASA advocacy policy, which includes a mechanism for members to request position statements from the Board.

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From the Executive Director

Dear ASA Community,

With only a month left until the ASA 2016 Annual Meeting, it is a busy time of year at the ASA Secretariat.  After working hard throughout the summer to achieve a successful @Dakar2016 conference in Senegal, our team is now fully focused on putting the finishing touches on the upcoming Annual Meeting.

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Member Resources Available on myASA Member Portal

The African Studies Association launched our new member portal in early 2016. As all of our members know, this new portal has made it possible to register for membership and the Annual Meeting, update profiles, and more. The ASA is working on expanding this member portal to highlight resources accessible to our members.

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Organization Spotlight: Association of African Studies Programs

This edition of ASA News features a spotlight on the Association of African Studies Programs (AASP). If you will be at the 2016 Annual Meeting and want to learn more about AASP, you can attend their business meeting on Friday, Dec. 2 from 12:30-1:30pm, or you can attend their roundtable, "The Roles and Challenges of African Studies Programs in the United States", on Friday, Dec. 2, from 2:00-3:45pm.

The Association of African Studies Programs (AASP) is an organization that was created specifically to strengthen communication and ties between African Studies programs in the United States and to further goals such as the promotion of the study of African study and research. The AASP believes the study of Africa to be critical to students of the 21st century because it is central to their better understanding of not only world and global histories, but also of American history and contemporary affairs.

The AASP comprises Deans, Directors, Chairpersons, Committee Heads, and individuals who have the responsibility for or interest in organizing or leading the African Studies program at their respective colleges or universities. Members range from Directors of the large Title VI centers to colleagues, but all are dedicated to increasing grassroots awareness of and interest in Africa by mobilizing student populations and promoting the study of Africa on their campuses.

In order to further the study of African issues and affairs on college campuses, the AASP keeps all members up to date on major national developments that impact African Studies programs across the country. The AASP accomplishes this communication in several ways. Firstly, a listserv has been developed to facilitate communication between all interested African Studies program leaders. Secondly, AASP meets twice a year, once in conjunction with the annual meeting of the African Studies Association (ASA), and then again in April for a three-day meeting held at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. The April meeting annually brings together speakers from US government departments and agencies to update AASP membership on new or changing funding programs, leaders from the NGO sector working on African issues present on members’ campuses, and increasingly, staff members from Capitol Hill offices to talk about current policy debates facing congress. Membership helps set the agenda.

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Coordinate Organization Spotlight: Mande Studies Association

The African Studies Association will showcase the events and activities of one of our coordinate organizations in each issue of ASA News. The Fall 2016 edition features an update from the Mande Studies Association. The ASA thanks Barbara Hoffman for sharing MANSA's update with the association.

The Mande Studies Association (MANSA) is thrilled to be celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year. In honor of the occasion, MANSA will sponsor a Gala Fundraiser at the Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire on Friday, December 2, 2016 from 7:30-10:30pm. All profits will go to our African Scholar Travel Fund to bring colleagues based in other African countries to our 10th International MANSA Conference next year at the International University of Grand Bassam in Côte d'Ivoire. An array of West African foods will be served and the music of Grammy-nominated Cheick Hamala Diabaté will enliven the evening.  The link to purchase tickets or make a donation can be found on the MANSA website:

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What to Expect at the Washington DC 59th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association (ASA)

This blog, written by 2016 Annual Meeting Program Co-Chair Benjamin Lawrance, originally appeared on the Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa blog, and is re-posted here with their permission. You can access the original posting here.

By Benjamin N. Lawrance

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Fall 2016 Member News and Announcements

The African Studies Association is pleased to showcase the achievements of our members in each edition of ASA News. If you have an announcement, publication, or other accomplishment you’d like highlighted in the next issue of ASA News, please let the ASA know by filling out this online form. You can also share your news and accomplishments with the ASA year-round by tweeting us @ASANewsOnline.

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Meet Your Board: An Interview with Incoming Board Member Cyril Obi

The ASA Board of Directors have terms of three years. Cyril Obi, Program Director at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), was elected in May 2016 to serve as a member of the Board of Directors, beginning in December 2016. Below you can find an interview with Cyril Obi. You can find more information about the Social Science Research Council here.

How and why did you initially become involved in the ASA?

I got to know of the ASA in the late 1990s as a young scholar, then based in Nigeria. This knowledge came from three sources: reading the African Studies Review, the flagship journal of the ASA, information about the association contained in the newsletter of the now defunct African Association of Political Science (AAPS), and my interactions with colleagues abroad who were ASA members.

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Decisions of the ASA Board of Directors, June-October 2016

The ASA Board of Directors made the following decisions in the Summer/Fall of 2016:

-The Board approved the draft Call for Editors for African Studies Review
-The Board approved the slate of directors for the 2017 election
-The Board approved the 2017 Program Committee Chairs
-To begin implementation of Africa Now! Sessions at the Fall 2016 Annual Meeting and to revisit during the Fall Board Meeting the further development of this concept.
-To accept the proposed 60th Anniversary Fund Campaign Development plan and to officially launch the campaign at the Fall 2016 Annual Meeting
-The Board tasked the Executive Director with creation of a proposal for a small grant fund for Coordinate Organizations. This proposal is to be presented at the Fall 2016 Board meeting.
-The Board approved the ASA representatives to the APSA-AAA joint steering committee. The final committee will be:

  • Cathy Boone, APSA co-chair (LSE)
  • Timothy Longman, ASA co-chair (Boston University)
  • Carl LeVan, APSA  (American University)
  • Peace Medie, ASA (University of Ghana-Legon)
  • Kennedy Mkutu, APSA (United States International University-Africa)
  • Beth Whitaker, ASA (UNC-Charlotte)

-The Board agreed to move forward with organizing an ASA-sponsored panel at the World History Association conference 
-The Board agreed to change the annual meeting refund policy to allow refunds of annual meeting registration fees in cases where the participant is denied a US visa (upon presentation of proof of denied visa.)

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Local Arrangements Activities at the ASA Annual Meeting

The 59th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association will take place December 1-3 in Washington, DC. The ASA depends on its local members to help all Annual Meeting attendees make the most out of their visit to the host city each year, and Washington, DC, is no exception. The 2016 Local Arrangements Committee has put together a slate of activities, workshops, and panels to showcase Washington, DC, throughout the conference.

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Call for Editors: African Studies Review

The African Studies Association Board of Directors announced a Call for Editors for the ASA’s flagship journal African Studies Review in July.

This Call for Editors is for the 2018-2023 term. The ASA encourages applications from individual editors, editorial teams, or those interested in serving as lead editors. Applications are welcome from institutions and scholars located anywhere in the world. The journal is published by Cambridge University Press, and the editorial team will work with Cambridge and the African Studies Association in the publication and growth of the journal.

You can find the complete call for editors here, and you can reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions you may have about this call or the application process. Applications must be received by January 15, 2017. 

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