CAS News Bulletin: Week of October 17th, 2016
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A pirogue carries passengers at sunset on the Congo River, Kisangani, D.R. Congo. Photo provided by Amanda B. Edgell.
October 17th, 2016

Talks This Week

10/17- MDP Final Presentation, Rugiyatu Kane, UF: "Transforming Youth Years in Senegal: Developing a Youth Venture Program with Ashoka Sahel." 2-3pm in 404 Grinter

10/17- African Migrations, Ferdinand de Jong
, University of East Anglia: "Cultural Festivals- Archives of Tradition for Global Migrants." 3:30pm in 404 Grinter

10/18- Political Science Research Seminar, Pierre Englebert
, "A Potemkin State in the Sahel? Travails of Mali's Construction and Reconstruction." 2:00-3:00pm in 216 Anderson Hall

10/18- Development Practitioner Forum, Usman Iftikhar, UNDP: "Convergence lost and regained- the converging evolution of the environment and development discourses, and what this means in practice in the age of the Sustainable Development Goals." 2:30-4:30pm in 404 Grinter

10/21- Baraza, Anita Hannig, Brandeis University: "Mistaken for Strangers: Injury, Kinship, and Belonging among Fistula Patients in Ethiopia." 3:30pm in 404 Grinter

10/21- Senegal Meets America, A Conversation with Chef Pierre Thiam,
Discussion led by Journalist Osayi Endolyn. 6:00-7:30pm in the Friends of the Music Room- UF Auditorium (followed by drinks and appetizers).

Next Week:

10/24- Chapurukha Kusimba, American University:  "The History and Archaeology of Slavery in East Africa." 2pm 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.

Reminder: CAS Research Report Submissions

A friendly reminder that submissions for the 2016 CAS Research Report are due TODAY, Monday, October 17, 2016 to Past reports can be found here.


Dr. Nancy Rose Hunt

In Fall 2016, Nancy Rose Hunt joined the University of Florida as Professor of History & African Studies. We are pleased to report that she recently received the 2016 Martin A. Klein Prize recognizing the most distinguished book in African history (from the American Historical Association).

A Nervous State: Violence, Remedies, and Reverie in Colonial Congo (Duke University Press) involved over ten years of archival, ethnographic, and historical research in Congo, Belgium, the UK, and even Nashville, Tennessee on everyday life, therapeutic practice, and infertility investigations, following atrocious violence and rape in King Leopold's Congo Free State. Hunt urges her readers to think in terms of two juxtaposed, though intersecting faces or moods to a modern colonial state. One is 'nervous', the other 'biopolitical', and she suggests that these shifting state practices continue into the early 21st century Africa, as security and medical operations combine and cross in global health, humanitarian, and peace-keeping interventions. In colonial Congo, the nervous state became paranoid; it culminated in a penal colony that imprisoned the many 'therapeutic rebels' of Hunt's history. The biopolitical state was more humanitarian, demographic, and medical, even motivated by guilt following the international scandals that surrounded the Congo Free State; this face of the state investigated barrenness and STDs in Equateur, a region that knew much rape and other bodily terror practices in these early colonial years. Intertwining religious imaginations with biomedicine, police operations, and fierce subaltern insurgences fueled by reverie (daydreaming about postcolonial futures), Hunt connects her multidimensional colonial history to contemporary strategies in Congo's eastern warzones, where rape has returned as a strategy used to terrorize and denigrate enemies while both biopolitical and securitizing campaigns remain active.

Nancy received a PhD in History in 1992 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, after studying the humanities as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago. She first went to Africa as a special student at the University of Ghana in 1975-76, and later received a Fulbright to do MA women's history research in Bujumbura, Burundi. After five years teaching at the University of Arizona, she accepted a cross-school "World Health Culture/Practice" post at the University of Michigan. It landed her with a professorship in History and because of her scholarship on childbirth in central Africa also in the Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology (where African collaborations were already strong under chair, Dr. Tim Johnson). Over her 19-year Michigan career, she worked closely with the Joint PhD Program in Anthropology & History, taught medical students about narrative and global women's health, co-edited Gender & History, and ran a major humanities research training program in Accra (Legon plus Korle-Bu) which included Ghanaian clinicians, nurses, geographers, historians, and anthropologists in ethnographic story-writing, film-making, and site-based, team analytics of gender, life cycle, and risk, ranging from beauty salons to eclampsia, AIDS, and backstreet abortions.

Hunt's first book, A Colonial Lexicon: Of Birth Work, Medicalization, and Mobility (Duke, 1999), received the Herskovits Book Prize from the African Studies Association, and its storytelling in many ways guided much of her transnational work in the medical humanities. Her current work ranges from the sequential arts in Congo, a compact global history of health and harm, and a cross-empire analysis of madness and mental health in colonial Africa. Her fieldwork has taken her to Zaire-Congo, Ghana, and Burundi. She speaks English (native), French, and Swahili, while her reading skills in Lokele and Lomongo have enabled much analysis of vernacular texts.


Archival documents shared during interview with the grandson of the famed healer-rebel Maria N'Koi in Mbandanka (DRC), 2007. (Field photograph by N. R. Hunt).

Queen of Katwe

Queen of Katwe depicts the life of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan chess prodigy from Katwe, a low-income neighborhood of Makindye Division within Kampala. The film was adapted from a book by Tim Crothers, and was directed by Mira Nair (famous for her production company Mirabai Films and, noteworthy for academic communities, Nair is also married to scholar Mahmood Mamdani). Look here for an inside look into the making of the film.

Mutesi’s family struggled financially after the loss of her father to HIV/AIDS and she was forced to drop out of school by age nine. She was introduced the chess at a religious and sports mission program run by Robert Katende. Mutesi went on to become a three-time junior girls’ champion of Uganda beginning at the age of 14, a Woman Candidate Master, and was the first titled female Ugandan player. If you would like to meet Mutesi virtually, Silent Images produced a short 6-min. film about her in 2011. As you will see in that short documentary, the settings in which Queen of Katwe was filmed are very close to Mutesi’s real-life environs. The film is an inspiring story, particularly in its underlying emphasis on the immense value of every individual, and is currently playing in at least the Regal Cinemas on Newberry Road. If you do see the film, make sure you stay for the credits where the actors and real-life individuals are presented to the audience side-by-side.   

Finally, on a last note, the Queen of Katwe soundtrack is generally worth a listen, including songs by MC Galaxy (Nigeria), A Pass (Uganda), Jose Chameleone (Uganda), DaVido (Nigeria), Afrigo Band (Uganda), Eddy Kenzo (Uganda), and Bobi Wine (Uganda). As an example, Nair also directed the music video for the made-for-the-movie song “#1 Spice” by Young Cardamom & HAB (note Young Cardamom, aka Zohran Kwame Mamdani, is also the son of Nair and Mamdani).

Last Week’s Recap

On Monday October 10th, Patrick Milligan gave a NRM presentation titled "Invasive 'big-headed ants' in the Laikipia Plateau". A video recording of that presentation is available (with a UF login) here.
On Thursday October 13th, Annie Loggins (above) and Rich Stanton (below) presented at a NRM Roundtable held in Grinter 471.
At the roundtable, research was generally presented on the effects of climate change and resource management policies within national parks on animal life and community structure. Loggins (MS, SNRE) works on rodent communities in southern Africa, particularly comparing the effects of a high versus low density elephant population on small rodents in Kruger National Park, South Africa, to the Hlane National Park, and Mbuluzi and Mlawula Reserves in Swaziland. In essence, as elephants cause tree damage and knock over vegetation, Loggins argues for the need to get a better handle of the effects of these occurrences for a number of indigenous small mammals. She sets up an experimental design testing for how ‘safe’ different types of small mammals feel, in terms of their willingness to access food, in different degrees of shrub gradients. Overall, Loggins’ results point to a greater perceived risk by most small mammal species in less dense shrub environments.
Stanton’s (PhD, SNRE) research also analyses the effect of shrub cover and risk of environment on animal populations, but particularly as they affect vertebrates and especially bird community structures. Stanton measures the changes in detectability and occurrence of both non-predatory and predatory birds, as well as their breeding habits. Species interaction is also a major component of his work, and he analyzes the degree to which predatory birds in encroached savannah are determining bird community structure. His preliminary findings from the field suggest that there are less nests in the treatment as opposed to control plots, so both occurrence and breeding habits of birds may be affected by global change.

Graduate Student Spotlight

Cady Gonzalez is a second year MA student in cultural anthropology and an Amharic Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellow. This past summer, she attended Afaan Oromoo language training and conducted ethnographic research in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Working in part with her chair, Dr. Marit Ostebo, she explored a new public health (development) project in Ethiopia. Since January 2016, the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Agency (AAWSA) has constructed “mobile toilets” at 107 locations within the city municipality. Promoted as urban parks and green spaces, these public toilets also feature the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, once limited to the domestic sphere, but now becoming an integrated part of the urban public landscape. The project seeks to increase awareness of and access to better public sanitation and hygiene practices, by offering low cost services in spaces widely considered “dirty.” Coffee not only generates income by attracting customers, but also legitimizes these spaces to the public. Each site is managed by a cooperative of ten citizens, selected by the district government based on their unemployment status.

She set out to investigate the role coffee plays in “open defecation free” policy. Who decides how, when and where coffee and toilets should fit together? Using a multi-level approach to explore technologies of governance and user experiences, she encountered contested narratives about coffee’s ‘place’ and its relation to sanitation. What emerged was a complex story that speaks to Dr. Ostebo’s current research on theorizing models in development. As she continues this research, she will also consider the movement of coffee from the domestic to the public spheres and its impact on gender relations. 

The research and language study was supported by the Foreign Language and Area Studies Summer Fellowship (Center for African Studies), Polly and Paul Doughty Research Award (Department of Anthropology) and Summer Field Research Grant (Tropical Conservation and Development). 
Copyright © 2016 Center for African Studies, All rights reserved.


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