CAS News Bulletin: Week of April 3rd, 2017
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Isalo National Park, Madagascar. Photo provided by Jennifer Moore.
April 3rd, 2017

Talks This Week

Wed. 04/05- Migration Dreams: Africans in China Talks (CAS China Working Group)- see below

Wed. 04/05- Film Showing: "Guangzhou Dream Factory" with Filmmaker Christiane Badgley. 6:00pm, Harn Museum

Thurs. 04/06- NRM in Africa, Thomas Smith,
UCLA: "Importance of Preserving Environmental Gradients in a Changing World." 12:45pm in 404 Grinter

Thurs. 04/06-
Lecture on North African Islamic Saints, Medicine, and French Colonialism, Ellen Amster, McMaster University: "A Doorway to the Divine: Islamic Bodies and the Sufi Saints as Connecting the Living to the Dead." 5:30pm in Smathers Library 100

Fri. 04/07- Baraza, Noah Saloman, Carleton College: "For Love of the Prophet: The Art of Islamic State-Making in Sudan." 3:30pm in 404 Grinter

Sat. 04/08- 45th Annual African Student Union Showcase 2017- 
6:30pm in the Reitz Union (Grand Ballroom)

Sun. 04/09- Turkish Food Fair,
Kanapaha Veterans Memorial Park, Freedom Community Center, All donations sent to Syrian Refugees via 'Mercy without Limits' (US-based non-profit), 12:00-7:00pm

Next Week:

Monday 04/10- Social Change & Development Working Group, Nancy Rose Hunt,
UF: "Pleasure and Dreams in a Congolese 'Shrunken Milieu.'" 12:45pm in 471 Grinter

Tuesday 04/11- SASA Lunch Presentation, Senegal RTA Group, UF. 11:30pm in 471 Grinter. More info in next week's bulletin.

Thursday 04/13- NRM in Africa, Andrew Mude, International Livestock Institute: "Using Remote Sensing to Improve Rural Livelihoods." 12:45pm in 471 Grinter

Thursday 04/13- African Graduate Research Poster Competition. 2:00 - 4:00pm in Reitz Union 3320

Friday 04/14- Distinguished Lecture in African Archeology, Audux Mabullala, National Museum of Tanzania: "Museums in Tanzania: Legislation, Policy and Functions in Society." 3:30pm in 404 Grinter

In this issue:










Awards and Publications


Ba, Oumar. 2017. “Dislocated Narratives and Kenyan Life Fragments: Political Violence, Nationhood, and Justice in Flux,” Journal of Narrative Politics 3(2): 108-119. Online available here.
Please send citations for your recently published articles, book chapters, book reviews, or op-ed pieces to for their inclusion within the news bulletin.

African Graduate Research Poster Competition

Graduate students conducting (or planning to conduct) research in Africa!

We invite you to join the Natural Resource Management in Africa Working Group’s Poster Competition on April 13th from 2-4 pm in Reitz Union  3320.

This competition is open to ANY UF graduate student conducting research about Africa or based in Africa in ANY field of study. The goal of the competition is to share graduate research taking place in Africa with a broad audience. 

Posters will be judged by faculty working in Africa and we will award several $300 Grants that can be used for research or travel.

Register by visiting: by Monday, April 10th to ensure you get a spot.

Questions? Contact


French Institute for Research in Africa- call for Applications for 2017 Fieldwork Grants

IFRA-Nairobi is offering fieldwork grants to masters and doctoral students to conduct their research in 2017 in one of the five East African countries covered by the Institute: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

IFRA’s main research themes include: political dynamics, culture and society, economy and land issues.

The following topics are IFRA’s priority areas:

  • Elections in Kenya (2017) : mobilization, devolution, culture & technologies
  • Violence & security : police violence, daily security practices
  • Informal trade and rural-urban linkages
  • Social inequalities, morality and authority

Note that all applications will be reviewed and that some of the grants will be given to students of non-priority topics.

The duly filled application forms should be sent to by April 4th April 2017

For more information, please visit:


Migration Dreams: Africans in China

“The History of African Trading Communities in
Guangzhou, China”
Dr. Heidi Østbø Haugen, University of Oslo
“The Bridge is not Burning: Transformation and
Resilience within China’s African Diaspora Communities”
Dr. Adams Bodomo, University of Vienna

(Click here for an Interview with Dr. Bodomo)

April 5th, 404 Grinter Hall 11:45 AM— 2 PM
Lunch will be provided

April 5th 6:00 PM, Harn Museum
Film Showing: Guangzhou Dream Factory
With Filmmaker Christiane Badgley

45th Annual African Student Union Showcase 2017

Grand Ballroom, Reitz Union
Saturday April 8th, 6:30-10:00pm


Come out to UF African Student Union's 45th Annual ASU Showcase! Enjoy a show full of music, performances, dances, fashion and more to see the various cultures within Africa come to life!

A Link to the Facebook Event


On Wednesday March 29th, the film VIVA RIVA was shown at the Wooly as part of the Kinshasa Meets Gainesville symposium sponsored in part by the Center for African Studies. Produced in 2010, Viva Riva was the first film produced in Congo-Kinshasa since 1987. It is a violent, sexy, gangster film that is exciting, vibrantly shot, and showcases professional acting. The film received 12 nominations and won 6 awards at the 7th Africa Movie Academy (AMA) Awards as well as won Best African Movie at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards.
After the film, writer-director Djo Tunda Wa Munga spoke with Alioune Sow (Associate Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures) and answered questions from the audience. Born in Kinshasa, Munga offered several interesting perspectives on choices made, tropes emphasized, and critiques received about the film. It took 7 years to put the film together and the use of the gangster lifestyle within the setting of a critical fuel shortage allowed the movie to travel to places which are overall underemphasized if not hidden from public view. Tropes of street life, prostitution, disintegration of the family, domestic violence and so on were placed front and center. Some audiences, particularly in the diaspora, criticized the film for depicting Africa or Kinshasa in such a violent and corrupt manner. However, this critique led to a deeper conversation about the extent to which African films are expected to portray ‘real life’ and are criticized for liberties taken in these ways, even within works of fiction.
For a more thorough appraisal, consider reading Robert Ebert’s review. Viva is also currently available on Netflix.

Dr. Ch. Didier Gondola

Last Week's Recap

On Friday, March 31st, Ch. Didier Gondola gave a Baraza presentation titled, “Buffalo Bill in Kinshasa: Westerns, Masculinity, and Violence in the Tropics.” Dr. Gondola is Professor of History at Indiana University – Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). The talk focused on Dr. Gondola’s new book, “Tropical Cowboys: Westerns, Violence, and Masculinity in Kinshasa” (Indiana University Press, 2016).  
With a focus on Congo-Kinshasa in the 1950’s, the talk began reacquainting the audience to “Buffalo Bill” Cody, a figure in American Western history who lived from 1846 to 1917. A scout, entertainer, buffalo hunter, performer, etc., Buffalo Bill was widely known, and depicted in movies, as an American cowboy. At his funeral then President Theodore Roosevelt eulogized Buffalo Bill as someone who opened the Western US to civilization and embodied traits of courage, strength, and others vital to the nation.
In the 1950’s, Buffalo Bill’s image arrived in Congo-Kinshasa via Westerns (films). Still under Belgian rule, paternalism was a dominant theme where the African man was depicted as a child in need of supervision and colonization was the white man’s burden.  The missionary censorship boards which approved of American Western movies did so in part, Gondola argues, because King Leopold II and Buffalo Bill were understood as kindred spirits (i.e. both ‘tamed the wild’ and propagated Western civilization). Still, Buffalo Bill and Westerns became incredibly popular, less so for their simple story lines and more so for the action and imagery of the films. Further, to some extent local viewers identified with Buffalo Bill and cowboys (the winners) against Native Americans (the losers) despite the parallels between cowboy and colonial paternal cultures. Further, directly related to the popularity of Westerns, networks of neighborhood gangs of ‘bills’ developed in Kinshasa. Bills developed their own language, Indoubill, largely to conceal activities dealing with drug consumption and girls from the colonial authorities. Through this incredibly rich history of Bills, Dr. Gondola’s research offers us a purview into youth culture, changes in the understanding of masculinity, local sources of rebellion against colonial rule, and performative violence that characterized Kinshasa in the 1950’s. 
Chesney McOmber (pictured center left)

On Monday, March 27th, Chesney McOmber gave a talk to the Social Change & Development Working Group titled, “The Feminization of Rural Space: Exploring the Politics of Male Absence in Kenya and Morocco.” The talk focused on McOmber’s dissertation research comparing 4 communities between both Kenya and Morocco with dominant female populations (largely due to male migration) as compared to those with more equitable female/male population ratios.
Focused on analyzing the effects of gender ratios on community and home life, McOmber used political ethnographic methods to conduct her research, including qualitative semi-structured surveys, focus groups, life history interviews, and participant observation, as she resided for about 4 months within each community. Using community-centered understandings of empowerment, Chesney overall found that where male migrations were high, women were more empowered. In particular, high rates of male absence were linked to interdependency on community resources (social, economic, and political), physical mobility between public and private spheres, and greater political awareness and actions. These differences were most stark in Morocco, where gender norms are more overt, as compared to Kenya. Finally, McOmber’s presentation ended with an emphasis on women-centered research which asks the right questions, given the social and cultural context, and which increases our global understanding of the development of social capital as the first step to promoting women’s empowerment and change.

Graduate Student Spotlight

I am Emmanuel Akande, Ph.D student in Food and Resource Economics (FRE). I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Economics from University of Lagos, Nigeria, in 2008 where I graduated at the top rank of my class. I was admitted to Florida State University (FSU) where I obtained my Master of Arts (M.A) in Economics in 2012. As a master’s student, I published a paper titled “The Investment Shock: Sources of Fluctuations in a Small Open Economy” and I also worked as a researcher/project manager at the Florida State University Center for Economic and Forecasting Analysis (FSU-CEFA) for 2 years. My research interests in the Ph.D program include applied econometrics, resource and environmental economics and production economics. These research areas will enhance my research curiosity and guide my path in explaining the relationship of production activities and the preservation of our natural resources and environment.

Outside of research, I am currently the Mayor of Tanglewood village and, as the Mayor, I organize and preside over monthly resident meetings, I recently organized a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) symposium for children over the age of 4, I coordinate the fitness classes for all the Graduate and Family Housing (Tanglewood, Diamond, Corry, UVS and Maguire) and lots more. My role as Tanglewood Mayor has obligated me to reach out to more people from different cultures and nationalities. I have also initiated and created a Parent Support Group (PSG) in Cuddly Kids Academy (CKA) and I am currently serving as the president of the group. The aim of the group is to produce a better relationship between teachers and parents and also provide a forum for parents to get involved in the classroom. Getting parents involved will help boost teacher-student relationships.
In 10 years from now, I plan to become part of the president’s economic team in Nigeria. As an office holder in that capacity, I will embrace costless but reliable polices that would provide economic tools in resource development and sustainability. As an effective leader, the foundation of possible and feasible economic structures will be laid to encourage the citizens whose hopes were dashed and show the world that effective leadership and sound policies are all what we need to be a great country.
Curated by Jennifer C. Boylan, Programs and Communications Officer,
Center for African Studies, UF.
Copyright © 2017 Center for African Studies, All rights reserved.


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