By Greg Maddox
For the third year, the ASA sponsored a workshop for graduate students at its annual meeting in Indianapolis. Over thirty graduate students participated in the workshop this year. For the first time, the workshop took place over two sessions at the meetings. The first session consisted of presentations by experienced scholars on topics to benefit students during their careers. Former ASA President Judith Byfield spoke of the challenges faced by scholars of color in the academy. Board member Sheryl McCurdy outlined strategies for interdisciplinary collaboration and grantsmanship. Conference program chair Clifton Crais discussed writing and publishing. Jonathon Reynolds and Eric Gilbert talked of the experience of teaching Africa and being the “lonely Africanist” at an institution. Gregory Maddox, the organizer of the workshop, spoke of the necessity of maintaining contact with African scholars and African institutions.
In the second session, the students were divided into small groups for mentoring sessions with a group of mentors. Mentors including former ASA president Charles Ambler, James Giblin, Byfield, Reynolds, Gilbert, McCurdy, and Maddox. In the sessions the volunteer mentors career strategies and gave students the opportunity to develop contacts among themselves. The workshop sessions continue to provide students at the ASA the opportunity to interact with a wider number of scholars and gain insights from veterans of the field. This year’s expanded format responded to suggestions by previous participants. Planning is already underway for next year’s workshop.