ASC Newsletter November 2015

African Studies Centre Leiden Newsletter, No. 12, November 2015
ASC Highlights

Stephen Ellis Annual Lecture: 'How today's China-Africa encounter came about and what it means for the world' - by Howard French

We are delighted that Howard W. French, journalist, author, photographer and associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, will give the ASC Annual Lecture, now called the Stephen Ellis Annual Lecture, on 10 December, 18.30. French will talk about the processes that began drawing large numbers of new Chinese migrants to Africa in the early 1990s, and then address the question of the global geopolitical and economic setting that pushed events in this direction.

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Wouter van Beek's Africa memoirs published

Wouter van Beek's memoirs Thuis in Afrika, een dubbelleven (At home in Africa, a double life) were festively presented to Erica Terpstra on 6 November at the ASC. Van Beek will give his valedictory lecture as a Professor of Anthropology of Religion at Tilburg University on 20 November. Title: 'Zwarte Piet in Afrika: Rite en Ruzie'. 

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Research news

Jan-Bart Gewald rewrites the colonial history of Zambia

In his forthcoming book Forged in the Great War: People, Transport, and Labour, the Establishment of Colonial Rule in Zambia, 1890-1920, ASC researcher Jan-Bart Gewald, who is a Professor of Southern African History at Leiden University, writes about the establishment of colonial rule in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). In contrast to historians who argue that the colonial state nearly collapsed during the course of World War One, Gewald argues that the establishment of effective colonial rule in Northern Rhodesia only came about on account of the unique conditions that developed in WWI.

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News from INCLUDE

There is no 'one size fits all’ when it comes to promoting youth and women’s employment. Taking into account the social and political context of employment interventions is crucial. This was the main conclusion of the biannual working conference ‘What works to promote employment prospects for women and youth: Policy-knowledge interactions for inclusive development in Africa’ that was organized by INCLUDE on 15 October in Leiden.

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Sahel Watch: The political climate in Mali

Sahel Watch, initiated by ASC partner The Broker, has added new contibutions on the political climate in Mali to its 'living analysis' of the conflict in Mali.

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New publications

Last two articles by Stephen Ellis (1953-2015) published


The last two articles that our late colleague Stephen Ellis completed, have recently been published. His final article, 'Nelson Mandela, the South African Communist Party and the Origins of Umkhonto we Sizwe', in Cold War History, shows that the guerrilla army Umkhonto we Sizwe was essentially a creation of the SACP. The other article, in African Affairs and co-authored by Mark Shaw, is entitled 'Does organized crime exist in Africa?'. 

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Africa Yearbook 2014


The Africa Yearbook 2014, published by Brill, covers major domestic political developments, foreign policy and socio-economic trends in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014. It is a joint effort of the Africa Institute of South Africa, The Nordic Africa Institute, the German Institute of Global and Area Studies and ASC Leiden. 

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Historical overview of development policies and institutions in the Netherlands in the context of private sector development and (productive) employment creation


A new ASC Working Paper by Agnieszka Kazimierczuk reviews the Dutch development cooperation policies for the years 1949-2015, with particular attention for private sector development. The long history of Dutch development cooperation shows continuity in its approach towards development policy as a way of promoting Dutch businesses and export in developing countries.

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Land-use changes by large-scale plantations and their effects on soil organic carbon, micronutrients and bulk density: empirical evidence from Ethiopia


Maru Shete (PhD candidate), ASC researcher Marcel Rutten a.o. wrote an article in Agriculture and Human Values, examining land-use changes by large-scale plantations in Ethiopia and evaluating the impacts thereof on soil organic carbon, micronutrients and bulk density. Unless appropriate measures are taken, long-term ecosystem health and national food security could be undermined.

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Library news

New web dossier: Renewable Energy in Africa

The ASC Library has compiled a new web dossier, containing recent titles on Renewable Energy in Africa from the library's online catalogue. The dossier has sections on Renewable Energy Resources, Planning & Policies, and Local Impact stories, illustrating how applied renewable energy technology can change lives.

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Ghana International Book Fair: acquisition trip to Accra

Elvire Eijkman of the ASC Library travelled to Accra to visit the 13th Ghana International Book Fair. Goal: to buy books and other materials (journals, DVDs) for the ASC Library. Read her report!

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Acquisition Highlight: Chappie, a new film by South African Neill Blomkamp

Set in Johannesburg, Chappie is a tale of a sentient robot, asking questions about right and wrong, how we should use technology and treat other members of humanity. Starring Sigourney Weaver, Dev Patel and Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser (Die Antwoord). 

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marieke on RTL
ASC in the media

Introduction to dossier on natural resource conflicts in OneWorld, by Ton Dietz

Ton Dietz wrote an introduction to the scientific dossier on CoCooN (Conflicts and Cooperation over Natural Resources in Developing Countries) published in OneWorld (Nov. 2015). Ton Dietz was Chair of the CoCooN Steering Committee 2009-2013.

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Jan Abbink quoted in Volkskrant about the lost generation in Eritrea

ASC researcher Jan Abbink was quoted in de Volkskrant about the lost generation in Eritrea and tensions within the Eritrean community in the Netherlands.

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Marcel Rutten interviewed by Opzij about female genital mutilation among the Maasai

ASC researcher Marcel Rutten was interviewed by Opzij about female genital mutilation among the Maasai in Kenya.

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Country Meetings

24 November: Ethiopia Country Meeting

Diplomatic and business relations between Ethiopia and donor countries will be discussed from a political context. Speakers include Jan Abbink (ASC), Johannes Borger (RVO) and Mattijs Renden (Cordaid). Moderator: Jos van Beurden. This Meeting will be preceded by a lunch seminar on ethnicization and regionalism in Ethiopia, to be given by our visiting fellow Alemayehu Gurmu.

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Seminars and conferences

26 November: Homosexuality in Africa, a dangerous love? 

In their new book Homoseksualiteit in Afrika, een gevaarlijke liefde ('Homosexuality in Africa, a dangerous love'), Bart Luirink and Madeleine Maurick offer a journalistic account of African gays and lesbians’ struggle for equal rights. During this seminar, Luirink and Maurick will present their observations, followed by a discussion with the audience. 

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3 December: Digging deeper than before. Social and technical change in artisanal gold mining in Siguiri, Guinea Conakry

Gold mining has become a key sector for many West African economies, accelerating their internationalization and transforming the livelihoods of millions of people. Christiano Lanzano (Nordic Africa Institute) will talk about his ongoing research in Upper Guinea.

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8 December: Leiden African Studies Assembly (LeiASA) Meeting

The first meeting of the Leiden African Studies Assembly (LeiASA) will take place on 8 December at Museum Volkenkunde. The meeting will be chaired by Wim van den Doel, dean of the Faculty of Humanities, and will bring together all Africanists of Leiden University. The university's new Africa policy will be central.

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Other news

Blog Ton Dietz: Heineken in Afrika, new book by Olivier van Beemen

Ton Dietz received Olivier van Beemen's new book Heineken in Afrika in Amsterdam and gave a speech about the dilemmas international companies experience in 'difficult' countries. Plus: Ton wrote a blog post about Egypt. This country needs to import most of its food, but the ways to pay for these imports are severely threatened - with possibly global security repercussions?

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Blog Mirjam de Bruijn: Quest for citizenship of the Fulbe (semi)nomads in Central Mali

Awareness of belonging and the right to belong is on the rise among the Fulbe nomads from the Hayre, Central Mali. This implies claiming rights, of which the most basic is the right to a livelihood that is sustainable. In many Sahelian regions this right is still to be fulfilled, Mirjam de Bruijn writes.

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Outcomes Cambridge-Africa Day

One of the messages of Leszek Borysiewicz, vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, at the Cambridge-Africa day (23 Oct) was to 'please grow arts and humanities'. The event, that centred on partnerships between researchers in Cambridge and in Africa, also emphasized the role of scholarships in building research capacity.

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Highlights Africa

International Conference on Sustainable Development in Africa, 26-27 November, Dakar

The International Conference on Sustainable Development in Africa takes place 26-27 November in Dakar, Senegal. The United Nations University Maastricht Economic and social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT) and the Consortium pour la Recherche Economique et Sociale (CRES) have taken the initiative to establish a new UNU institute in Dakar for economic and social research, with the aim of facilitating informed policymaking in Africa. 

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