ASC Newsletter October 2015

African Studies Centre Leiden Newsletter, No. 11, October 2015
ASC Highlight

Winner Africa Thesis Award 2015: 
Merel van 't Wout (University of Groningen)

Merel van 't Wout has won the Africa Thesis Award 2015 for her thesis 'Entrepreneurs by the grace of God: Life and work of seamstresses in Bolgatanga, Ghana'. Van 't Wout completed her research master in Modern History and International Relations cum laude. Her thesis aims to understand the motivations of young women in Ghana to start their own business. The thesis contributes to, and criticizes the dominant discourse in the global development agenda on the need to advance entrepreneurship.

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Education news

Meet our new Research Masters students!

Miriam Ocadiz from Mexico and Rob Hogenboom from the Netherlands are two of our new Research MA students. Learn more about their background, education so far and (career) expectations in the short interviews we did with them!

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Research news

New research project: Ethnographic study on mobile money in Africa

The ASC has been awarded a one-year research project on the attitudes, perceptions and usage of Mobile Money in four African countries: DR Congo, Zambia, Cameroon and Senegal. The project is financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, which in turn is supported by the MasterCard Foundation.

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INCLUDE working conference: Employment prospects for women and youth in Africa

INCLUDE and the ASC are organizing the working conference 'Employment prospects for women and youth: policy-knowledge interactions for inclusive development in Africa' on 15 October in Leiden. On the programme: an introduction to the letter on inclusiveness of Minister Ploumen to Dutch Parliament; and evidence from 200+ studies into what works to promote employment for women and youth. Full programme on the INCLUDE website!

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New publications

Sharing scarcity: land access and social relations in Southeast Rwanda


Margot Leegwater's PhD thesis has been published in the African Studies Collection. Her study examines the effects of land-access and land-tenure policies on local community relations, including ethnicity, and land conflicts in post-conflict rural Rwanda. Leegwater succesfully defended her PhD dissertation on 16 September at VU University. Watch the interview we did with her! 

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African Diaspora: Special issue: In and Out of Ethiopia: Migrations, Diasporas, and Contemporary Ethiopia


Ethiopia hosts migrants and produces migrants; it hosts diasporas and produces diasporas. It is precisely at that interface between Ethiopia and its diasporas, that this special issue of African Diaspora is situated. ASC researcher Rijk van Dijk is editor-in-chief of African Diaspora, which is published by Brill.

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Library news

Acquisition Highlight: The Fishermen (Man Booker Prize shortlisted)

The Fishermen, by Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma, is on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize 2015. The nomination is remarkable, The Fishermen is Obioma’s first novel and, at the age of 28, he is the youngest of this year’s nominees. Chigozie Obioma is professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA. The winner of the Man Booker Prize will be announced on 13 October.

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African Studies Abstracts Online no. 52 out

African Studies Abstracts Online is published quarterly and provides an overview of journal articles and edited works on sub-Saharan Africa in the field of the social sciences and the humanities. All publications are available in the ASC Library. Many are accessible full text in the library's online catalogue.

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ASC Community news

Visiting community members from Ghana and Ethiopia

ASC Community members Abamfo Ofori Atiemo (Ghana) and Alemayehu Gurmu (Ethiopia) are currently visiting the ASC. They focus on (respectively) a religious history of Ghana, and on local group relations & conflict mediation in Ethiopia. Plus: find out about new publications by other ASC Community members!

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marieke on RTL
ASC in the media

Review Harrie Leyten's book From Idol to Art

Harrie Leyten's book From Idol to Art, Leyten's PhD dissertation, was reviewed in Museumvisie (September 2015 issue) by Jos van Beurden. From Idol to Art has been published in the African Studies Collection.

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Obituary about Stephen Ellis in Madagascar Tribune

Dr Solofo Randrianja, Université de Toamasina (Madagascar), wrote an obituary about Stephen Ellis in the Madagascar Tribune. Together, they wrote the book Madagascar, A Short History. Read Solofo Randrianja's article 'So long my friend'.

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Seminars and conferences

NVAS Africa Day 17 October: Africa and Technology

The Netherlands Association of African Studies (NVAS) organizes this year's NVAS Africa Day in Delft. Theme: Africa and Technology. The day provides a platform for the presentation and discussion of research on technologies that are present in Africa, or are aimed at improving life in Africa: from rope making and forging, to mobile phones and solar energy. 

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Country Meeting 19 October: Burkina Faso

The ASC and the Burkina Faso Platform Nederland will be organizing a country meeting about Burkina Faso. Focus will be the recent political developments and their consequences for the economy and for international relations. Elections, planned for 11 October, seem to be back on.

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Seminar 5 November: Liberia, Ebola, and the pitfalls of single-minded state-building objectives

Using the Ebola outbreak of 2014/15 as a case study, Robtel Neajai Pailey will argue that Liberia’s postwar recovery is more likely to succeed if it factors in multiple layers of authority ‘below’ and ‘outside’ the state, such as domestic citizens and transnational actors. The seminar will be followed by a book presentation by Liberian author Vamba Sherif.

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Book presentation 5 November: 'The Black Napoleon' by Vamba Sherif

‘The Black Napoleon’ was the nickname given by French military leaders in West Africa to Samori Toure (1830–1900), a man of humble means that rose to conquer an area almost the size of Europe. Samori Toure has fascinated Liberian-Dutch writer Vamba Sherif since childhood. This book presentation will be preceeded by the seminar on ebola by Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey.

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Other news

Blog Mirjam de Bruijn: Academy and art - reflections on the Voice4Thought Festival

Mirjam de Bruijn’s latest blog post is a reflection on the Voice4Thought festival that took place in Leiden 24-30 August. The festival saw a heated debate between youth leaders from Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo and Cameroon.

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Guest blog Stephanie Kitchen: Publish or Perish in African Studies - New Ways to Valorize Research

Stephanie Kitchen, managing editor of the International African Institute (UK), wrote a guest blog for the ASC about the panel she convened during the European Conference on African Studies in July in Paris. The panel, ‘Publish or Perish in African Studies: new ways to valorize research’, drew a full house.

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Highlights Africa

African Studies Association of Africa Conference, 13-17 October

The African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA), which was launched at the University of Ghana in October 2013, is holding its first international conference at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, 13-17 October.

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