Dear ASA Community,
The countdown has begun! It’s hard to believe that in only two months the Secretariat will be onsite at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis to welcome you to the 61st Annual Meeting. In late summer, as our members start the academic year, the ASA Secretariat embarks on the crescendo of activity and excitement that comes with Annual Meeting preparations. As the program is assembled, key events are scheduled, award winners selected, and film screenings confirmed, we start to see the unique and exciting ways in which this conference will develop. This year will be my 10th ASA Annual Meeting and it is amazing to see how far the organization has evolved during this period and how much the ASA has done to expand its outreach and impact. I can’t help but reflect back on the incredible Board members, LAC Co-Chairs, Program Co-Chairs, Award Committee Chairs, Coordinate Organization Reps, and Staff members that I have had the opportunity to work with over the past 10 years. The Secretariat is doing its best to ensure that this year’s Annual Meeting is a continuation of the important work done to professionalize, energize, and expand the Annual Meeting.
This year’s Annual Meeting will include many innovations that we have put into place over the past few years, such as the ASA Podcasts, AfricaNow! sessions, Flash Presentations, First-Time Attendee’s Breakfast, Pipeline for Emerging African Studies Scholars (PEASS) workshop, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York Fellows Panels. It will also feature new events such as innovative “walking panels” organized by the LAC to give participants the opportunity to engage with Atlanta’s communities and the areas surrounding the hotel. We will have a very special Welcome Reception hosted at Morehouse College, unique musical performances, and innovative pre-conference workshops on the Power of Web Presence and Preparing for Fieldwork in Archives. Please take some time to visit the Preliminary Program which is available online here.
The response to this year’s CFP was excellent and our Program Co-Chairs, Nana Akua Anyidoho, of University of Ghana and Mark Auslander, of Michigan State University worked tirelessly to pull together a program that is not only beautifully reflective of their theme statement, Energies: Power, Creativity and Afro-Futures, but also reflective of the diversity of ASA members’ disciplines, areas of interest, and perspectives. One of the highlights of the program is always the Presidential Lecture, and Jean Allman’s lecture, entitled “#HerskovitsMustFall? A Meditation on Whiteness, African Studies and the Unfinished Business of 1968.” will undoubtedly be a highlight of this conference. For many of us who have been so intrigued by the ASA’s “creation story” and evolution throughout the years, this year will provide an opportunity to reflect on our organization’s history and to strategize for its future. Jean has also organized two innovative panels entitled “Ruptures: African Studies and the Racial Politics of Knowledge Production,1968 to 1998” and “Futures: African Studies and the Racial Politics of Knowledge Production, 1998 to 2028”. The ASA is honored to host several members of the Association who participated in the 1968 Annual Meeting, to revisit this moment in the ASA’s history, and to invite our current and future leaders to reflect on important issues of diversity and inclusion for our organization. The program also features a special roundtable on “Abiola Irele: Contributions to Literature and African Studies” and the Hormuud Lecture to be given by Prof. Mahmood Mamdani entitled “Decolonization and Higher Education: Perspectives Shaping the Post-graduate Program at the Makerere Institute of Social Research.”
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with the ASA community the unfortunate news Renee DeLancey, the ASA’s Program Manager for Membership and Annual Meeting, is currently on leave for an undetermined period of time. We wish Renee the best for a quick recovery and ask you to be patient with us as we coordinate the transition and reallocation of Renee’s responsibilities during this incredibly busy period. Kate Donovan joined our team last week and will cover for Renee’s position. Kate is an incredible professional with extensive experience with communications, events, and meetings. She has worked much of her career in the UN system, including working in several African countries. In addition to a Masters of Journalism from Columbia University, she has also completed a certificate program at University of Witwatersrand, so she is quite at home in the world of African Studies. Please join me in welcoming Kate! You can contact her by email at [email protected].
I’m looking forward to seeing all of you in Atlanta. This year’s conference is definitely not one to miss, and we hope that each of you is able to be part of the success of the meeting. Please follow us on twitter at @asanewsonline for more updates as we get closer to the Atlanta!
Suzanne Moyer Baazet,
Executive Director of the African Studies Association