CAS News Bulletin: Week of October 31st, 2016
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A woman selling produce in Uganda. Photo provided Amanda B. Edgell.
October 31st, 2016

Talks This Week

11/04- Social Change & Development in Africa Working Group, Steven Brandt and Justin Dunnavant, University of Florida: "Cultural Heritage as an Agent of African Social Change and Development." 11:45pm in 471 Grinter

11/04- Baraza, Carlton Jama Adams, City University of New York: "Adaptive Ambivalence: African Workers in China and the Struggle for Recognition and Agency." 3:30pm in 404 Grinter

In this issue:






Awards and Publications

Please send citations for your recently published articles, book chapters, book reviews, or op-ed pieces to for their inclusion within the news bulletin.

WWF Climate Adaptation and Resilience Fellowship

Russell E. Train Fellowships support individuals pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in conservation. Each year, WWF supports committed conservationists from target countries to receive financial support for their studies and field research. Applicants can apply to attend any university around the world and must return to their home countries to work in conservation for at least two years after completing their degree.

Applicants from the following countries are eligible to apply: Colombia, Ecuador, Fiji, Guatemala, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Solomon Islands, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia. The application deadline is March 1, 2017. For more information, you can access the website here or email EFN at

As discussed by UF’s Oumar Ba in this contribution to the Africa is a Country blog, South Africa announced it was withdrawing from the International Criminal Court on Friday October 21st. Prior to that announcement, Burundi’s Parliament voted to leave the ICC on October 12th, making it the first country to ever make such an announcement. After Burundi and South Africa’s announcements, on October 26th Gambia has now followed suit.
As Ba reports, the main issue from the point of view of African leaders is that the ICC appears solely concerned with the investigation of Africans (with the one exception of a recent ICC investigation of war crimes committed in Georgia in 2008), though it is also true that many of these investigations actually came at the request of African states. Gambia’s recent statement on why it was leaving the ICC may have been the boldest (i.e. public officials have referred to the ICC as the International Caucasian Court and President Jammeh asked the court to “investigate the European Union over the deaths of thousands of African migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean” (Quartz, 2016)), the departure of regional heavyweight South Africa represents a greater ideological blow to the court’s international standing and power.
Ba points out that South Africa’s leaving the ICC might not be so surprising in retrospect, given the country’s refusal to arrest President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan at the Court’s request in June 2015, but that it also may have been an illegal move domestically as the executive branch issued the announcement without allowing Parliament to vote on the issue. Moving forward, he suggests we keep our eyes on Kenya, Uganda, and Namibia which maybe the next states to jump off the ICC ship.

Dr. Chapurukha M. Kusimba

Last Week’s Recap

On Monday October 24th, Chapurukha M. Kusimba gave a presentation titled “The History and Archaeology of Slavery in East Africa.” Dr. Kusimba is now Professor of Anthropology at American University, after 19 years at the University of Illinois, Chicago. The talk focused on the international slave trade as it affected East Africa and the types of artifacts that provide evidence of the slave trade’s great impact.
Dr. Kusimba’s talk opened with a comparison of the estimated number of people taken out of West and East Africa as slaves. The approximate total of individuals taken out of Sub-Saharan Africa is at 11.2 million from West Africa (1600-1900 CE) and 11.5 million from East Africa (500-1900 CE). The slave trade out of East Africa occurred over a longer time period, meaning it may have been less drastic or sudden a change as in West Africa but still would have had a great impact on societies. To get at the root of the types of archeological evidence that would demonstrate the presence of a disruptive trade in slave, Dr. Kusimba first discusses the high demand for slaves early in Islam, including the types of roles slaves would have occupied (e.g. military service, agriculture, mining, domestic service, etc.) in different parts of the Middle East and Asia. Dr. Kusimba also theorizes about the ways societies in East Africa functioned at the time, summarized in a concept referred to as the ‘Mosaic Model’. The Mosaic Model is a symbiotic style of life where pastoralists, merchants and urbanites, hunters, and agropastorialist all come together to contribute to communal needs during the day but return to their separate villages at night.
As the East African trade in slaves disrupted communities, the Mosaic Model was significantly affected. Kusimba and co-researches have uncovered archaeological evidence pointing to a number of these effects, including: site abandonment; moving to resource poor areas, such as rock shelters and caves; decline and cessation of pastoralism; decline in habitat diversity and productivity; changes in the types of goods traded, such as raw ivory to cut and worked ivory; and so on.
For more on the subject, see “Fifty years in the archaeology of the eastern African coast: a methodological history”, by Stephanie Wynne-Jones and Jeffrey Fleisher, in which Dr. Kusimba’s work is heavily featured.
Dr. Sadie Ryan

On Thursday October 27th, Sadie Ryan gave a NRM in Africa talk titled, “Implications of Climate Change for Zoonotic Disease Risk in Africa.” Dr. Sadie Ryan is Assistant Professor of Medical Geography in the Geography Department, as well as the Emerging Pathogens Institute (EPI), at the University of Florida. The talk focused on Ryan’s research on buffalo and natural resource management in Kruger National Park and Klaserie Nature Reserve, in South Africa, over the past 16 years.
Dr. Ryan’s research is multi-faceted, having completed comprehensive research on a number of factors affecting buffalo in southern Africa. The overall theme, however, is the study of phenological synchrony (in lay person’s terms: the ways in which a species matches the timing of their functions with other species and/or their environment) of buffalo and their environments, and how climate change threatens to disrupt that. Ryan primarily presented on projects using massive datasets which analyze buffalo in terms of home range, habitat selection, and birth timing/breeding phenology.
In the sub-tropical yet very seasonal landscapes of these parks, tracking where the buffalo travel (their ranges) is important for specifying animals’ needs and whether different herds’ ranges are distinct from one another (which is itself important for measuring disease transaction vulnerabilities). Similarly, tracking animals’ levels of fecal phosphorous and fecal nitrogen provides information about their grazing habits and whether or not the landscape in the parks are able to fully support the buffalos’ dietary needs. As Ryan found out, the metabolic minimum for the buffalo was not met 100% of the time within the parks. Further, in studying buffalos’ birth timing, via a database of 786 recorded births over 8 years, Ryan’s research suggests that pregnant buffalo may generally be very resource constrained and are timing births according to resource availability, and particularly the green-up season. As climate change threatens to affect a number of these resources and processes, the basic biological functions and well-beings of these animals are likely to be significantly affected.  
Dr. John McCauley
On Friday October 28th, John McCauley gave a Baraza presentation titled “Ethnicity and Religion as Sources of Political Division in Africa.” Dr. McCauley is Assistant Professor of Government & Politics at the University of Maryland – College Park. The talk presented an experimental design to test whether ethnicity or religion create greater social and political divisions in Africa.
McCauley’s experimental design involved four field sites in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in order to operationalize variation across three variables: ethnicity, religion, and national identity. McCauley’s research employed a ‘dictator’s game’, commonly used in behavioral economics. In it, respondents listen to one of three treatment scripts: (1) one which emphasizes ethnicity, (2) the exact same script which instead emphasizes religion, or (3) a third script which emphasizes neither. Then respondents are paired with an ‘anonymous’ partner who is of the same gender but with manipulated ethnic and/or religious backgrounds, and told that they can give any portion (from zero to all) of a pot of money they just earned to their partner.
Three general conclusions result. First, the results suggest a greater affinity for in-group members, whether ethnic or religious, over out-group members. Second, Muslim respondents did not behave differently from non-Muslim respondents (i.e. Muslims and non-Muslims were just as likely to give more to the in-group than out-group). Finally, and most striking, Cote d’Ivoire has an extreme amount of difference between in-group and out-group partners, for both ethnic and religion groups, as compared to Ghana. McCauley concludes that the political context is highly determinative of this result, citing politicians’ emphasis on ethnic and religious differences during the 2002-2011 conflict in Cote d’Ivoire.

Graduate Student Spotlight

Scott Hussey is an ABD doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology at UF. His dissertation project investigates a network of captivity and ransom of European Christians during the Early Modern period (1500-1800) in the Mediterranean.  For his doctoral research, he excavated a sealed and well-preserved subterranean dungeon associated with Christian servitude in North Africa: the Mazmorras of Tétouan, Morocco. Estimates of European enslaved captives in North Africa during the Early Modern period have been a source of contention among scholars, in part because of a lack of archaeological evidence.

Scott’s archaeological research is the first to corroborate historical accounts of Christian captives, prisoners, and slaves by identifying a locus where Christian captives were actually kept.  His historical research builds on these findings to demonstrate the Mazmorra’s position within small-scale networks of capture and ransom within a North African interfaith frontier between Spain and Morocco. As part of this project, he also collaborated with Moroccan authorities to create a heritage management plan to preserve the Mazmorras. Scott adopted a holistic vision of digital humanities which led me to create of a digital reconstruction of the dungeons. The information gathered during his dissertation and the virtual tour of the Mazmorras will be made available in an online museum accessible to international audiences. 
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