ASCL Newsletter February 2016

African Studies Centre Leiden Newsletter, No. 14, February 2016
ASCL Highlight

Samuel Ntewusu appointed KNAW Visiting Professor; Jan Banning to portray chiefs of Gonja and Dagomba

Excellent news from the research programme Society and Change in Northern Ghana: Dr Samuel Ntewusu, co-coordinator of the programme, has been appointed KNAW Visiting Professor for 2016-2017 by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Within the same programme, Dutch photographer Jan Banning will do a photo project on the chiefs of Gonja and Dagomba, in the form of ‘portraits in context’. 

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Education news

New brochure (Research) Master's African Studies

As the only African Studies Masters' programme with a genuine area studies profile, both the one year master's and the two year research master's programme are unique in continental Europe. Read the new brochure!

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Research news

Benjamin Soares professor of the Anthropology of Islam in Africa and its Diaspora

Senior researcher Benjamin Soares has been named professor by special appointment of The Anthropology of Islam in Africa and its Diaspora, at the University of Amsterdam. Soares, an anthropologist, is a scholar of Islam and Muslim societies in Africa. His research focuses on religious life from the early 20th century to the present (photo: Julie Gawron).

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News from INCLUDE, the knowledge platform on inclusive development

INCLUDE launches the new dossier ‘Women and inclusive development’ on what works best for women in enterprise promotion and social protection in Africa. It features two key papers with thematic resource lists written by the Gender Resource Facility, as well as related articles, reports and research group updates.

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New publications

African Roads to Prosperity: interview with Akinyinka Akinyoade

The book African Roads to Prosperity: People en Route to Socio-Cultural and Economic Transformations describes the movement of people in Africa on their way to better socio-economic prospects. We interviewed ASCL researcher Akinyinka Akinyoade, co-editor of the book, about Africans on the road to prosperity, of whom many get stuck halfway. 

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Jan Abbink: Ethiopian-Eritrean Studies: a bibliography on society and history, 2010-2015


This bibliography gives a representative choice of the most important and insightful scholarly contributions (and sometimes also more ‘popular’ writings for wider audiences) in the social sciences and history of Ethiopia and Eritrea. An extremely useful tool for research and reference. 

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Infosheet: Pivoting to Russia, China and anti-Western rhetoric: South Africa’s foreign policy shifts


President Zuma of South Africa attended China’s victory parade in September 2015. Zuma’s visit reflected a broader shift in South Africa’s foreign policy in favour of China and Russia. This clear pivot towards China and Russia differs sharply from the more balanced multipolar approach under Nelson Mandela’s presidency. 

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Library news

Library Highlight: Southern African liberation struggles: contemporaneous documents, 1960-1994

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2004 decided to document the Southern African liberation struggles and to publish the results in a series of books. In 2015 the 9-volume work appeared. Historical chapters are followed by personal stories of liberation fighters, such as Saara Kuugongelwa, Namibia's current Prime Minister.

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New acquisition: field notes and other archival material of Franz von Benda-Beckmann

The Library has acquired the archives of scholar Franz von Benda-Beckmann (1941-2013), who collected material about legal pluralism in Malawi in the 1960s. His wife, Keebet von Benda-Beckmann, kindly donated 3 small boxes containing material on Nyasaland and Malawi, including old constitutions, law books, reports from local courts, penal codes and folders.

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ASCL Community news

Visiting community members

ASCL Community members Afam Ituma and Katrin Langewiesche are currently visiting the ASCL. They focus on (respectively) entrepreneurship development in Africa, and the anthropology of religion in West Africa. Plus: new publications by ASCL Community members.

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marieke on RTL
ASCL in the media

Jan Abbink interviewed by NOS Journaal about Eritrean regime

ASCL senior researcher Jan Abbink was interviewed by NOS Journaal about the regime in Eritrea. Watch the fragment on our website.

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Africa Thesis Award winner Merel van 't Wout interviewed by ViceVersa

Africa Thesis Award winner Merel van 't Wout was interviewed byViceVersa about her thesis 'Entrepreneurs by the Grace of God: Life and Work of Seamstresses in Bolgatanga, Ghana’.

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Marcel Rutten interviewed about the Maasai Cricket Warriors by Radio 1 (audiovisual)

ASCL senior researcher Marcel Rutten was interviewed about the Maasai Cricket Warriors by Radio 1. The Maasai Cricket team also raises sensitive issues like female circumcision. Watch the fragment on our website.

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25 February: Missionary Islam and humanitarian engagement: the case of the Ahmadiyya Movement

The religious movement of the Ahmadiyya reached West Africa in the 1920s, but its importance in West Africa only grew in the 1990s. The Ahmadis disseminate their message via medical centres, schools and development projects, and through the media. Visiting fellow Katrin Langewiesche (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität) will examine the Ahmadis' mission.

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17 March: The death of a UN Secretary-General: Dag Hammarskjöld and the Congo

Initial investigations could not clarify the plane crash in September 1961 in which UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld died. Hammerskjöld was on his way to negotiate with Congolese secessionist leader Moise Tshombe. Fifty years later a private initiative collected further evidence, which resulted in new investigations by the UN. This seminar by Henning Melber, director emeritus of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in Uppsala, summarizes Hammarskjöld’s approach to the conflict in the Congo and offers a briefing over the efforts to establish the circumstances of the plane crash.

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Other news

Guest blog: Rumble in the Jungle: From the January 2015 riots to the #FrontCitoyen2016

PhD candidate Catherina Wilson wrote a guest blog about the riots in DR Congo one year ago, and why she is optimistic about possible change in the country. It's a follow-up to Mirjam de Bruijn's and Meike de Goede's blog posts about the lasting impact of Patrice Lumumba.

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Vacancy: Postdoc research position on Frugal and Inclusive Business Models

The Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa has a postdoc-position on frugal and inclusive business models in the research project 'Frugal Innovations and Responsible Entrepreneurship: Case Studies in the Water and Health Sectors in East Africa'. Application deadline: 4 March.

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'Central African Forests Forever' - book that 'grows like a tree'

The new book ‘Central African Forests Forever’ (online and in print) by Meindert Brouwer presents opportunities and solutions to balance protection and sustainable use of forests. The book will grow like a tree. The first part of the internet version has now been published. Every two months new chapters will be added.

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Highlight Africa

16-17 February: Africa Energy Indaba

The Africa Energy Indaba in Johannesburg brings together international and continental experts to share their insights and solutions to Africa's energy crisis, while simultaneously exploring the vast energy development opportunities on offer in Africa.

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