CAS News Bulletin: Week of January 16th, 2017
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Namid Desert, Namibia. Photo provided by Jennifer Moore.
January 17th, 2017

Talks This Week


Friday 01/20- Baraza, Rebecca Nagy, Susan Cooksey & Alissa Jordan, University of Florida: "On the Cutting Edge: The Contemporary Art Scene in Accra and Kumasi." 3:30pm in 404 Grinter

Next 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

In this issue:










Awards and Publications


1) Pedro A. Sanchez. "En route to plentiful food production in Africa." Nature Plants 1: 1-2. (2015).

2) Amanda B. Edgell. "Foreign Aid, Democracy, and Gender Quota Laws." Democratization (2017). Access the online pre-print 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 Studies Quarterly- December 2016 Issue

ASQ's Volume 16, Issue 3-4 (December 2016) is now available here! The title of the issue is, "Special Issue: China-Africa Relations: Political and Economic Engagement and Media Strategies."
Agnes Ngoma Leslie served as the Guest Editor. Congrats ASQ team!

World Wildlife Fund- Russell E Train Fellowships

Russell E. Train Fellowships support individuals pursuing master's or doctoral degrees in conservation. Each year, WWF supports committed conservationists from target countries to receive financial support for their studies and field research. Applicants can apply to attend any university around the world and must return to their home countries to work in conservation for at least two years after completing their degree. This year the two programs and target countries are: 1)  Building Capacity in Sustainable Food Systems and Conservation - Colombia, Ecuador, Fiji, Guatemala, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Solomon Islands, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia; and 2)  Conservation in Mozambique - Mozambique only. Find more information here. Deadline is March 1, 2017.

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowships

The Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship Program provides opportunities to doctoral candidates to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. Students may request funding for a period of no less than six months and no more than 12 months. Projects focusing on Western Europe are not supported. The official deadline is March 14, 2017, though UF will release specific internal guidelines soon.


Population, Health, and the Environment (PHE) Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowships

As part of efforts to increase research capacity to conduct research within the Population, Health and the Environment (PHE) field, the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), in partnership with Pathfinder International, is pleased to announce a call for applications to support 2 doctoral students interested in working within and contributing to the PHE field. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of a sub-Saharan African country and must be studying programs/projects/topics that include a family planning component, a health component and a natural resource management/conservation component. Each fellowship award will be a maximum of $10,000. Application deadline is March 31, 2017. For more information, visit APHRC or contact for more information.
On December 8th, Fati Abubakar gave a talk about her photograph exhibition at the Harn (November 29th, 2016 - February 26, 2017). The exhibit is titled, "Bits of Borno - Bruised but not Broken, Surviving Boko Haram."
Also, while in Ghana, CAS Director Brenda Chalfin caught up with three UF alumni! Pictured here (left to right) is Adjowa Walker ('08), Afua Entsuah ('08), and Emmanuel Gamor ('09) at the Coco Lounge in Accra on Thursday January 5th, 2017.
Netty Carey
Last Week's Recap
On Monday January 9th, Netty Carey (MA student, Anthropology) gave a presentation to the Social Change and Development in Africa Working Group. Her talk, titled, “‘We are in the air’. Land Claims and Liminal Space on Ghana’s Volta Delta”, discussed the interactions between an Italian-Ghanaian company, Trasacco, and the local community as plans are underway to construct a high-class tourist resort and boat marina on the west side of the Volta River estuary. The research presented was based on 6 weeks of ethnographic fieldwork Carey carried out in Ghana in June and July of 2016.
If constructed, the Trasacco resort project will result in the forceful relocation of over a hundred residences. Historically, the community has faced volatile pressures on land by the encroaching sea, which has resulted in residences lost to the sea or moved-inland on at least three different occasions. The dwellings to be demolished and reconstructed elsewhere have been marked by painted yellow numbers. As Carey describes, these numbers have color, presence, and agency as they serve as a warning (a yellow card, as many locals describe it) about the possible pending relocation measures. The numbers, located on structures on one side of the community, paint over the class differences among the households they mark, but many fear those differences will be reinforced by the relocation. Themes of ownership and political patronage are paramount in this issue, particularly because it was the chief who went around with the Trasacco officials to paint the residences (and shrines!) which would need to be moved. That the chief is the custodian of the land who has promised to protect the interests of the community makes many community members view his involvement in the Trasacco deal as a prominent betrayal. As tribal claims, chieftaincy authority, class differences, the power of rumors, and international versus domestic authority interact, Carey’s research offers a close-up view of what tourism development can mean for vulnerable communities in picturesque landscapes.
Dr. Sue O'Brien (left) introduces Dr. Farooq Kperogi (right)
On Friday January 13th, Farooq A. Kperogi gave a Baraza presentation titled, “Citizen Journalism and Nigeria’s Digital Diaspora.” Kperogi is Associate Professor of Journalism & Emerging Media in the School of Communication & Media at Kennesaw State University. He also writes two columns a week for the Daily Trust, a prominent newspaper in Nigeria, as well as maintains an influential political blog accessible here.
Kperogi’s presentation focused on the ‘online citizen journalism’ that is carried out by the Nigerian diaspora. His research thesis investigates how people who are voluntarily displaced from their homeland, re-territorialize and then engage in media outreach with their homeland in dynamic or influential ways. Also referring to these communities as “digital diasporas” or “transnations of diasporic communities”, Kperogi argues that media and migration are inextricably connected. Further, the strong media influence of diasporic communities has resulted in a ‘contra flows’ phenomenon where, instead of the historic domination of the media by the West, which then flows to the Rest, contra flows refer to a discourse which subverts that informational flow. Now the prominence of diasporic media sources has resulted in Western audiences accessing these media links.
Kperogi explains that the rise of Nigerian diasporic media sources was the result of a dearth of critical journalism in Nigeria, a delay in the technological quality of online news sources coming from Nigeria, and the geographic distance (which also serves as protection) of diaspora citizen media practitioners from the homeland. The print media has always been inextricably linked to democracy in Nigeria, and now both online and print sources are central in sustaining Nigeria’s progress toward democracy. Finally, Kperogi’s talk concluded with a discussion of the immense, and possibly undue, influence of the diaspora for Nigerian politics. This influence translates into the government’s viewing of the diaspora, and diasporic concerns, as more legitimate than domestic voices and results in the Nigerian government responding more directly to Nigerian reports from abroad.   

Graduate Student Spotlight

Ben Lowe
M.S. Student, Interdisciplinary Ecology Program
2016-17 FLAS Fellow, Center for African Studies

There is considerable knowledge today about the unprecedented impacts we are having on the earth, its ecosystems, and the critical goods and services they provide. Less understood are the effects these growing pressures have on human societies. In order to increase resiliency and develop appropriate adaptation and conservation strategies, especially among more vulnerable communities, we need to better understand the human dimensions of environmental change. Towards this end, Ben Lowe’s research is focused on Lake Tanganyika in East Africa, where he studies how fishers respond to climate-driven declines in fishery productivity, the key factors influencing their adaptations/mal-adaptations, and the implications of these changes for the broader social-ecological system. As a Masters student in the Interdisciplinary Ecology program (advised by Dr. Susan Jacobson in WEC), Lowe is very grateful to have received a 2016-2017 FLAS Fellowship to study Swahili. Developing Swahili language skills is a critical asset for accomplishing his research, which involves conducting surveys and interviews with Swahili speaking fishery stakeholders. The results of this research will contribute to our understanding of how resource users respond to changes in their natural resource base—on Lake Tanganyika and beyond—and will be critical for informing management efforts to improve people’s livelihoods while protecting one of the most unique and biodiverse freshwater ecosystems in the world.
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