CAS News Bulletin: Week of February 6th, 2017
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Kongou Falls, Ivindo National Park, Gabon. Photo provided by Jennifer Moore.
February 6th, 2017

Talks This Week

Monday 02/06- Social Change & Development Working Group, Goran Hyden: "Who Owns What? Ownership in Partnership." 12:45pm in 471 Grinter

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

Next Week:

Friday 02/17- Baraza, Daniel Mains, University of Oklahoma: "Governing Three-Wheeled Motorcycle Taxis in Urban Ethiopia: States, Markets, and Moral Discourses of Infrastructure" 3:30pm in 404 Grinter

In this issue:









Message from Dean Dave E. Richardson:
We have heard many expressions of concern from students and faculty regarding the ramifications of the executive order that restricts entry into the US from seven countries in Africa and the Middle East.  As you know, President Fuchs has advised UF faculty and students from those countries not to travel outside of the US.  The conditions under which the order may be lifted or modified to allow resumption of travel are unknown. 
We are working closely with UFIC and Dean Leo Villalón to stay up to date on any developments that may arise.  The order has created understandable uncertainty about future travel for many of our students and faculty.  We share the concern that they may be subject to abrupt changes in plans or be separated unexpectedly from their families or work.  We will let you know as soon as possible when we are able to provide you with additional details. If you have any specific questions or concerns, please feel free to discuss them with your department chair or program director.  Associate Dean Mary Watt will serve as the coordinator on this matter for the college and can also be consulted.  In addition, Dean Villalón has offered to meet with anyone who has questions or needs guidance from UFIC.
The current situation impedes our mission to promote the fruitful and free exchange of knowledge.  In my four decades in higher education, I have witnessed the extraordinary power of academic institutions to bring people from around the world together for a common purpose.  In every case, the aspirations to grow and learn together transcended national borders. It has been gratifying to see how people from different cultures can not only co-exist but also coalesce, enhancing our scholarship and learning through teamwork. 
I truly believe that education is an amazing tool for building peace and understanding.  Our college will continue to embrace this goal by inviting and welcoming students with diverse backgrounds and experience, no matter what their religious beliefs may be.  In doing so, we are acting upon one of our core values, that is, our commitment to a college that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive in all we do.
Please join me, therefore, in supporting all affected students and other members of our college community.

Awards, Publications and Fame


Rene Lemarchand, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and African Studies, wrote an op-ed in the Gainesville Sun, printed in Sunday's Edition (Feb. 5th) but also 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.


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.


Access the facebook event here !

The full schedule: 
Curator Talk and Demonstration
7:00 p.m. – “Shore Lines: Art across the Sahel” - Susan Cooksey, Curator of African Art with Eugenia Martinez, UF PhD Candidate in Art History who will demonstrate wrapping a Mauritanian women’s cloth
7:30 p.m. - Pazeni Sauti Africa Choir
8:00 p.m. – Agbedidi: West African Music and Dance
Cultural Appropriation Discussion 
Collaborative Kuba Mask Activity 
Elusive Spirits Crossword 
African Geography Quiz 
Art Blasts tours – every 15 minutes, 6:30 – 8:15 p.m.!

Call for Papers: Grad Student Seminar @ Northwestern University

Deadline February 10th

Title: RE...AFRICA: Knowledges, Archives, and Approaches
Dates: April 14-15, 2017
Location: Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
Keynote Speaker: Cajetan Iheka, Assistant Prof of African and Postcolonial Literatures, University of Alabama

The Program of African Studies graduate student seminar (AfriSem) invites graduate student papers in the study of Africa and its communities engaging with the theme “RE...AFRICA.” Interested participants should submit abstracts of not more than 250 words to: by February 10, 2017. Please include your name, affiliation, and contact details.

We invite papers that critically rethink familiar and unfamiliar African objects, revisit archives, refuse prevailing historical concepts, re-theorize structures of feeling, and reconsider methodologies in the study of African life, politics, and aesthetics. In order to explore new ways of thinking about the questions and concerns that have historically afflicted the enterprise of African studies, we welcome papers that unsettle origins, reject hegemonic narratives, and pay particular attention to the consistent re-invention of “Africa” as a discursive and ‘real’ object.

Papers are welcome from a diverse range of disciplines in the Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities. We are also interested in papers that engage with art, society, governance, public policy, education, and consider community involvement and collaboration. Papers with qualitative and/or quantitative approaches are encouraged.

This conference is primarily a forum for graduate students to present their research (in various stages of development) to a cross-disciplinary audience. Please contact with questions and inquiries.

Emeritus Prof. Spotlight-
René Lemarchand

Dr. René Lemarchand is Emeritus Professor of Political Science and African Studies at the University of Florida. Dr. Lemarchand was born in France in 1932 and first came to the US as a Fulbright scholar at Southwestern College (now known as Rhodes College) in 1951. In 1954 he enrolled in UCLA’s Political Science PhD program, working under Dr. James S. Coleman, widely considered to have played a pioneering role in promoting African studies in Political Science. Lemarchand credits James Coleman with awakening his interest in the use of political science as a tool to better understand and explain the range of phenomena sweeping across the continent on the eve of different nations’ independence.
In December 1959, Lemarchand arrived in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) in the former Belgian Congo. No sooner did the country reach independence in June 1960 than the army went on rampage, causing a major exodus of scores of Europeans. After his wife was evacuated he stayed on to collect data for his doctoral dissertation.  While doing fieldwork in eastern Congo in September1960, he traveled to Rwanda and Burundi and was struck by the contrast between the rising tide of violence sweeping across the first, and the relative calm in the other. Retrospectively we realize that the anti-Tutsi violence that erupted in Rwanda in 1959-60 would have major repercussions in Burundi in 1972, when some 200,000 Hutu civilians were massacred by a predominantly Tutsi army.  In the tragic game of mirrors that has accompanied ethnic hatreds within and between the two states each community bears a direct responsibility for the atrocities endured by the other. This is why, according to Lemarchand, the 1994 genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda cannot be explained without taking into account the genocide of Hutu in Burundi in 1972.
Lemarchand defended his dissertation in 1963 and came to UF, serving as the first Director for the Center of African Studies. He held that position for two years, and then turned his attention to his book, Rwanda and Burundi, which was published in 1970 and would win the 1971 Melville J. Herskovits Award from the African Studies Association. Lemarchand continued to teach at UF until 1992, when he left to serve as USAID Regional Director for Governance and Democracy for West Africa. He officially retired from UF in 1994. While working for USAID he was based first in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire for 4 years and then Accra, Ghana for 2 years until retiring in 1998. From 1998 to 2004 he served as visiting lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, Smith College, Brown University, Concordia University in Montreal, and in Europe at the universities of Helsinki, Bordeaux, Copenhagen and Antwerp. He now resides in Gainesville, FL and remains active within the academic community by attending conferences, giving talks at other universities, and attending events on UF’s campus. 

Anthro. PhD Student Detained at JFK for 5 hours

As shared by This Week in Africa, on Friday Jan. 27th Nisrin Elamin, a Sudanese PhD student in Anthropology at Stanford University and US green card holder, was detained at JFK airport, put in handcuffs, and patted down including her chest and groin areas before she was released 5 hours later as part of the Presidential executive order banning visitors from 7 countries, including Sudan. While she cites her affiliation with Standford University as a reason for her comparatively better treatment than other detainees, she also may not be able to continue her fieldwork in Sudan for some time. You can read her story here.

For more on the effects the travel ban is having/would have on Somali refugees in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world, read this.
Skype Q&A with co-Director Michele Mitchell @ The Hippodrome

The Uncondemned

On Tuesday January 31st, The Uncondemned was shown at the Hippodrome, with a Skype Q&A with the director after the film. Co-directed by Michele Mitchell and Nick Louvel, The Uncondemned is a 2016 documentary which examines the first trial to prosecute rape as both a war crime and act of genocide, in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. Though the 1919 War Crimes Commission listed rape as a crime of war after World War I, rape had never been prosecuted as a genocidal act primarily because the attention to murders typically takes precedence. Still, as the film points out, that the prosecution of rape as a war crime and act of genocide had never been pursued has meant survivors of rape in conflict have consistently been refused justice.
The Uncondemned traces the story of how the charge of rape as a war crime came to be used in the prosecution of Jean-Paul Akayesu, a former mayor of Taba commune in Rwanda. The United Nations investigation of Akayesu focused primarily on murders which occurred under his supervision, but a few key investigators also made sure to collect testimonies of rape. Still, the testimonies were not prioritized, including testimonies from male sexual assault survivors, and were often incomplete. It was not until the trial against Akayesu had already begun that a witness informed prosecutors that she had seen rapes being committed at the mayor’s compound. Other witnesses came forward and the charges against Akayesu were amended to include rape as a genocidal act. The bravery of the witnesses in testifying was paramount in achieving Akayesu’s conviction, particularly since one witness’s family was murdered leading up to the trial and witnesses are still harassed in their communities as of the time the film was made.
Though The Uncondemned only premiered for one night at The Hippodrome, we are hoping to make it available through UF’s library system as soon as possible. In the meantime, a trailer of the film is available, as well as co-Director Michele Mitchell’s Ted Talk regarding the film.

Graduate Student Spotlight

Jesse Borden is an MSc student in the Interdisciplinary Ecology program through the School of Natural Resources and Environment. He is a FLAS Fellow with the Center for African Studies and his research interests center around tropical ecosystems, conservation and community ecology. His thesis will focus on different types of ecological disturbances and their various consequences.

Jesse is currently pursuing two research projects. The first is a study on forest fragmentation and habitat loss in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. The thick montane forests in these ranges hold a wealth of biodiversity and extremely high numbers of endemic species. However, they are also suffering extensive habitat loss, due to the conversion of forest to farmland. Jesse’s work in these ranges will examine how canopy dwelling frogs and chameleons move vertically within the canopy to compensate for changes in temperature and moisture caused by forest fragmentation. This can inform conservation decisions locally, but will also begin to explore how canopy species may be better adapted to deal with climate change.

The second project entails invasive lizards in South Florida. There are currently 56 invasive reptile and amphibian species in Florida and many pose a very real threat to native species and systems. It is uncertain, however, to what extent different species pose threats or how various invasive species may operate in concert to compound negative effects. Jesse’s research will attempt to tease apart some of these dynamics while focusing on a somewhat recently established invasive chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus).
Ultimately Jesse hopes to do ecological research in the tropics, and particularly in Africa, that can inform complex management and conservation decisions that are needed in the context of rapid development.
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