CAS News Bulletin: Week of January 30th, 2017
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Congo River dividing Kinshasa and Brazzaville. Photo provided by Amanda B. Edgell.
Dr. Leo Villalón, who serves as Dean of the International Center and as a faculty member in Political Science and African Studies, will host a public meeting with international students and scholars this afternoon at 5:30 pm in the Arredondo Room of the Reitz Union.  The meeting will allow him and other UF officials to hear your concerns, as well as try to answer whatever questions you have.  All are welcome
January 30th, 2017

Talks This Week

Thursday & Friday 02/03 - 02/04- SEAN/SERSAS Annual Meeting: 21st Century Resiliency: Sustainable Development and US-Africa Relations. College of Charleston.

Next Week:

Thursday 02/09- NRM in Africa Roundtable: "Natural Resource Livelihoods in Africa." 12:45pm in 471 Grinter

Friday 02/10- Baraza, Kathleen Klaus, Northwestern University: "Claiming Land: Institutions, Narratives, and Political Violence in Kenya." 3:30pm in 404 Grinter

In this issue:



·  FLAS DEADLINE- Feb. 6th







I urge you to read UF President Fuchs note below. In addition to the general sentiments expressed by UF leadership, I would like to voice my personal concern that three of the seven countries targeted by the Executive Order are in Africa: Libya, Sudan and Somalia. Such exclusions are an affront to human rights and go against the mission of our program. Moreover, the announced travel ban and suspension of refugee entry explicitly target persons of Muslim faith. This too contravenes the values of inclusion on which CAS and UF as a public institution are based. If you have questions about these policies or are in need of assistance, there are resources on campus available, including UF International Center (352-392-5323) & UMatter/WeCare Be assured that CAS is working with other units on campus and with our affiliates nationally to respond to these policies and voice our support of Africa-focused scholarship and intellectual exchange and African students, faculty and visiting scholars.
Brenda Chalfin, Director, UF Center for African Studies                 

Message from UF President W. Kent Fuchs: 
In light of the administration’s executive order suspending the entry of individuals from certain countries into the United States for 90 days, we at the University of Florida affirm our support for our international students, faculty and staff.
We are committed to the rights and opportunities enjoyed by all members of our university community, including those who are citizens of other countries. Embracing all members of our community and maintaining a welcoming environment for talented students, faculty and staff from around the world are central to our values and identity as a university. It is also critical to excellence in education, research, economic development and other contributions to society. 
It is this core belief in inclusion and diversity that has also led to UF’s support for the students of undocumented parents, particularly DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) students, over the years. In November, UF joined a number of universities in a statement of support of DACA students. Additionally, the University of Florida is committed to keeping student records private, consistent with state and federal laws. We do not collect or provide information on immigration status except when required by law.
UF has approximately 7,000 international students. We estimate there are about 200 students, graduate students, faculty and staff from the seven countries addressed in the order. We are advising these individuals not to travel outside the U.S. in the immediate future and will continue to monitor the situation and update them as possible.

Warm regards,
W. Kent Fuchs
President, University of Florida

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.


Academic Year Fellowships provide a stipend of $15,000 per academic year and cover the cost of tuition and fees (12 credits per semester) and are offered for any one of the regularly taught languages (Akan, Amharic, Arabic, Portuguese, Swahili, Wolof, Yoruba, and Zulu). Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States and be admitted to a graduate program at the University of Florida.

Summer Fellowships cover tuition and fees at the host institution (up to $5000) and provide a stipend of $2,500. Travel awards may also be available. The statement of purpose accompanying the application for a summer fellowship should indicate why summer study is desired and how it will contribute to the candidate’s program of study. Applicants must also provide specific information on the program they wish to attend, i.e. fees, contact hours, instructor qualifications, etc. Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

Visit here for more information and application forms.


The Center for African Studies is pleased to announce that it will again offer a limited number of pre-dissertation research awards to UF graduate students for summer 2017. Grants of up to $1,000 per individual from the Jeanne & Hunt Davis fund and the Madelyn M. Lockhart fund will be made to support summer pre-dissertation research in Africa. CAS may also award additional supplemental research stipends if budget permits. Travel awards are made to allow doctoral students to refine proposals and prepare the groundwork for seeking outside funding to support subsequent dissertation research. These awards are intended to complement funding from other UF or external sources.

Eligible applicants must be doctoral students (MA/MSc awarded prior to summer 2017) in any discipline of African Studies at UF who are at the pre-dissertation stage of their program. Previous grantees will not be considered.

To apply, please submit:
  • a 500-750 word proposal discussing the research project (including theoretical framework and methodology), outlining proposed summer schedule, and illustrating benefits of pre-dissertation research travel for the applicant
  • letter of support from doctoral committee chair
  • UF transcript
  • budget (accompanied by statement of other funding received or requested)
  • email contact information for notification of award status
  • Hardcopy applications only please
Application deadline: all materials must be received by 5pm on 13 February 2017 to CAS, Pre-Dissertation Research Awards.
Pictured: Paschal Mdukula (left) and Paul Japhet (right)

Please join us in welcoming Paschal Charles Mdukula and Paul Japhet, two Visiting Scholars from Tanzania attached to the UF Center for African Studies as part of the Center's longstanding University of Dar es Salaam - UF Exchange Program.

Paschal Charles Mdukula is an Assistant Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Dar es Salaam, with a research focus on socio-linguistics and specifically linguistic landscapes.

Paul Japhet is an Assistant Lecturer in Development Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam, with a research focus on public health and development.

Both will be here through May 2017. Welcome to UF!!

Tues. Jan. 31ST ONLY

Tuesday, January 31st at 7:30pm at the Hippodrome.
Stay after the film for a special Skype Q&A with Director, Michele Mitchell!
THE UNCONDEMNED is the gripping and world-changing story of a group of young international lawyers and activists who fought to make rape a crime of war, and the Rwandan women who came forward to testify. Up until this point, rape had not been prosecuted as a war crime and was committed with impunity. A courtroom thriller and personal human drama, THE UNCONDEMNED beautifully interweaves the stories of the characters in this odyssey, leading to the trial at an international criminal court–and the results that changed the world of criminal justice forever.

For tickets, or to view the trailer, visit the Hippodrome Website Here.
Please note: An omission in last week's news bulletin failed to credit Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim as the author of the Baraza summary. My apologies - Jennifer Boylan
Dr. Steven Brandt (center) and Justin Dunnavant (right, in white)
Last Week's Recap
On Monday, January 23rd, Steven Brandt and Justin Dunnavant gave a Social Change & Development Working Group talk titled, “Cultural Heritage as an Agent of African Social Change & Development.” Dr. Steve Brandt is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UF and Justin Dunnavant is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at UF. They both conduct fieldwork in Ethiopia, among other places.
Dr. Brandt opened the talk with a discussion of the meaning of tradition (i.e. heritage), defined as anything (e.g., a belief, behavior, object, etc.) with symbolic meaning or special significance handed down from the past by and to an individual, group or society, maintained in the present, and made available for a future individual, group or society. African intangible heritage is expressed as language and oral literature, performing arts (i.e. music and dance), culinary arts, visual arts (i.e., paintings, films, videos, and games), beliefs (i.e. religion, rituals and customs), and indigenous knowledge. Brandt and Dunnavant are both interested in the effect heritage has on social change, as well as the impact international organizations have on cultural heritage.
Dunnavant’s doctoral research analyzes (1) the representation of heritage in museums, including private and local museums, (2) how local protected or historical sites are being used as depictions of cultural heritage and (3) an archeological project looking for the palace of King Tona of the Wolaita Kingdom. The tourism industry which directs foreign and domestic travelers to these sites, are relevant both in terms of heritage protection and local funds for development. Tourism accounts for 4.5% of Ethiopia’s GDP and increasing tourism (prior to the recent political disturbances in the country) has been a major target of the government. This goal recently received support from the World Bank via a $35 million Tourism Development Project for Ethiopia (2009-2015), however Dunnavant and Brandt argue that these top-down development structures have largely been ineffective. Recognizing this issue, the US embassy has begun to provide small grant projects, with bottom-up organizational structures, to support development and sustainable tourism. The presentation also touched upon the politics of heritage sites including whether they are regulated by the state (including private vs. public museums), the simultaneous designation of sites as both archeological and heritage sites, issues of local perceptions about the appropriateness of Western researchers at heritage sites, and the strength of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s land holdings as a determining factor in whether sites become protected.
On Friday January 27th, Nancy Rose Hunt gave a Baraza presentation titled, “Harm: A Useful Concept for African Historical Studies?”. Dr. Hunt is Professor of History and African Studies at UF, coming here after many years at the University of Michigan. Her most recent book, A Nervous State: Violence, Remedies, and Reverie in Colonial Congo (Duke University Press), was the winner of the 2016 Martin A. Klein Prize by the American Historical Association (AHA).
Dr. Hunt introduced her use of ‘Harm’ as a running motif throughout her past and present research. Harm is a complicated concept. It is useful for building an unusual medical history where harm is a core component or container as well as a place for collecting stories about the bodily and adverse effects of disease, abandonment, political events, and so on. Dual conceptions of healing and harming are common language tropes within African historical studies, as these concepts have long been used as a part of political discourse in different African contexts. For instance, harm is often related to socio-political understandings of witchcraft and poisoning which, as she presents in her 2015 book, translated to the colonial persecution of ‘therapeutic rebels’ who were using the injustice of colonial harm to organize against the Belgian colonists in colonial Congo.
Following the trope of harm, Dr. Hunt describes how the concept is driving her approach to her next project: a 110-page book on the world history of medicine. While most medical historians are fascinated by pathogens and how they spread, Dr. Hunt is challenging herself to, not only take on this enormous task within such a confined page limit, but also to get beyond somatic disease by including the history of psychological sufferings and asylums. She will focus on a range of practices that can be described as healing, diagnostic, curative, medical, harmful, and so on. Her final chapter will connect the past to the present, discussing present-day vehicles of harm from refugee camps to cancer wards to fast food restaurants.

Graduate Student Spotlight

Jennifer Moore is a third year PhD student in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation under the advisement of Dr. Madan Oli. Jennifer has spent the last two years working in collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Society in Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda. Last summer, Jennifer spent her time deploying camera traps both at ground level and for the first time within this area in the tree canopy in order to study the mammalian species of the park. She is interested in which species are present, and how they are distributed with a particular emphasis on nocturnal, arboreal, and elusive mammals. She captured photographs of more than 30 mammal species, including at least 3 species that have not previously been photographed in the park. Next summer, she will expand her study area to include all habitat types and elevation zones within the park, with the hope of capturing more new species.

In addition to her camera project, Jennifer’s dissertation research focuses on patterns of illegal human activity within Nyungwe such as poaching, the home range and habitat selection of the flagship species of the park, the endangered eastern chimpanzee, as well as optimal protocols for both monitoring for mammalian species as well as illegal activity in a montane rain forest ecosystem. Jennifer’s research over the last two years has been funded by the University of Florida Center for African Studies, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, and Tropical Conservation and Development, in addition to Sigma Xi Honor Society, Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research, and the American Society of Mammalogists.
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