CAS News Bulletin: Week of January 23rd, 2017
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Menu at Yamikani Restaurant in Makuta, Malawi. Photo provided by R. Hunt Davis Jr.
January 23rd, 2017

Talks This Week

Monday 01/23- Social Change & Development Working Group, Steven Brandt & Justin Dunnavant, University of Florida: "Cultural Heritage as an Agent of African Social Change and Development." 12:45pm in 471 Grinter

Friday 01/27- Baraza, Nancy Rose Hunt, University of Florida: "Harm: a Useful Concept for African Historical Studies?" 3:30pm in 404 Grinter

Next Week:

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

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.


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.

Study Abroad Fair- Wed Jan 25th, 10am - 3pm - Reitz Union North Lawn

On Wednesday January 25th, a Study Abroad Fair will be held at the Reitz Union North Lawn. Summer and semester programs in Dar es Salaam, Uganda, Madagascar, and Swaziland and more will be advertised. Please consider making an announcement in your classes.

Ted Talk by Sisonke Msimang

As part of the TEDWomen 2016 conference in October, South African activist and writer
Sisonke Msimang gave a Ted Talk, "If a Story Moves You, Act On It", on the importance of using stories which speak to you to move you to take action for a cause. Drawing on themes from activist and writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Ted Talk on "The Danger of a Single Story", Msimang cautions us against a trend in society in which stories are gaining public credibility while public trust in the news media is falling. Akin to the dangers of a single story, Msimang cautions against our satisfaction with hearing/reading an inspiring story without also feeling roused to take action. 

Dr. Rebecca M. Nagy

Last Week’s Recap

Note: The summary of this Baraza was graciously written by Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim, a Doctoral Candidate in the Political Science Dept. at UF.

On Friday January 20th 2017, Susan Cooksey, Rebecca Nagy, and Alissa Jordan presented their research on contemporary art scene in Accra and Kumasi. The presentation was based on a field research that the three scholars conducted together during the summer of 2016 in Ghana where they interviewed different actors, including scholars, artists, and other stakeholders in the Ghanaian art sphere.
Dr. Susan Cooksey, a PhD from the University of Iowa and professor of Art History at the University of Florida opened the presentation. She focused her talk on the dynamic role that University scholars and students have played in transforming the Ghanaian contemporary art both domestically and globally. Scholars at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi have developed a full pledged art curriculum, and over the years students have created their own exhibitions. The production of Art has intensified and diversified with productions that address as diverse social issues as gender discrimination, LGBT matters, etc. At the global level, many of these scholars have participated in conferences and exhibitions around the world to present their work on the Ghanaian art.
Second, Dr. Rebecca Nagy, who is the Director of the Samuel P. Harn Musuem of Art at UF and a PhD from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, pursed the presentation emphasizing the role of art galleries in promoting the Ghanaian art scene. The galleries created by Ghanaians have allowed local artists to showcase their work, which is considered a significant progress from the classic approach where artists exhibit their work in big hotels only for foreign tourists to buy. These galleries are also places where intellectual discussions are organized to talk about arts, exhibition, theatres, etc. In sum, galleries are places for Ghanaians to come see, enjoy, and learn about their own art.
Finally, Dr. Alissa Jordan, a December 2016 PhD in Anthropology from the University of Florida, concluded the presentation with a talk on network analysis of the Accra’s art world. She uses Gephi software to map people, places, events and ideas within the art sphere in Accra. She finds that there is a network that influences art production and help artists to stay in contact. She identifies three major influences on the Accra contemporary art sphere, which include the Foundation of Contemporary Art, the Castro and Kari Kacha at KNUST, and Nana Aforiatta Ayim and ANO. The main goal of this network is to keep artists in Ghana by creating a good environment for them to work effectively and productively.
The overall takeaway from the presentation is that the contemporary art sphere in Ghana has become more vibrant due to increasing efforts by University scholars, students and other stakeholders to popularize the Ghanaian art both domestically and internationally. As part of this dynamic, the creation of galleries has allowed local artists to showcase their work in a public yet professional setting, and the whole sphere has constituted a network of support for artists and other actors intervening in that sphere. The presentation was supported with interesting pictures and a video clip.

Graduate Student Spotlight

Mandisa Roeleene Haarhoff is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Florida. She comes to UF from South Africa on a Fulbright Scholarship.

 Her dissertation considers the ways in which writers use the trope of death to represent black experience in the aftermath of apartheid. Through a reading of late-apartheid and post-apartheid literature, her research argues that the figurations of blackness in post-apartheid writing reveal that black South Africans, despite having been granted the rights and freedoms denied them under apartheid, continue to be circumscribed by an existence of exclusion, denigration, and enduring social death.

One question pertinent to the dissertation is: What is the state of black existence after you take away the passbook, dismantle the laws like the Group Areas Act and Native Land Act, transform the national ideology from racially segregated to integrated, and institute a constitution that promises equality for all? In her discussion of these novels, she argues that in post-1994 South Africa, black Africans struggle with the possibilities and freedoms of being South African (racially reconciled and politically equal citizens) on the one hand, and the impossibilities of blackness (the endurance of black social death) on the other. Furthermore, she argues that the novels she has selected reveal that the political transformation did not result in the transformation of black subjectivity. Her selection includes Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona’s 1972 play, Sizwe Bansi is Dead, Zakes Mda’s debut novel, Ways of Dying (1995), Phaswane Mphe’s Welcome to our Hillbrow (2001), and Kopano Matlwa’s Coconut. These novels collectively interrogate what it means to be black in South Africa, and depict the various ways the black people continue to experience exclusion and nonbeing.
Mandisa is also an actress. She will be representing the United States in the play Tsepang with Steven Butler at the Festival du Théâtre in Monaco in August 2017.
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