Conference on Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa

The UC Irvine Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies (CGPACS) and The UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center present a conference bringing together scholars, technical experts and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations to assess how humanitarianism is imagined and practiced in Africa. The conference will be held at UCI on Friday, January 16 and Saturday, January 17, 2009.

Saturday, January 17, 2009
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
UC Irvine Student Center
Doheny Beach Rooms B, C-D
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA

Conference just down the road at University of California, Irvine (UCI).  Andrew Apter, Stephen Commins, Edith Mukudi Omwami, Paula Tavrow, Julia Dudek, and Deborah Mindry from UCLA will be presenting, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o will be reading from Wizard of the Crow.  Colleagues who have presented at UCLA, Benjamin Lawrance and Kristen Peterson, will also be panelists.  Some fascinating presentations!
Please pass the info along to anyone you think would be interested.

Conference Purpose:  To conduct a critical assessment of humanitarianism as imagined and practiced in Africa.  This project is truly interdisciplinary, with specialists in anthropology, history, women's studies, political science, sociology, literature, the arts, technology, medicine and public health, the policy world, and nongovernmental organizations.  
The conference has three major goals:
1) to draw attention to the phenonmenon of humanitariarnism in Africa, including the ways it produces knowledge and organizes and disciplines multiply areas of life (health and medicine, the economy, gender, politics, and religion);
2) to highlight especially the critical interventions that humanistically-oriented research brings to the phenomenon, as well as responses to these interventions by nongovernmental organizations, donors, and scholars in disciplines such as medicine and public health; and
3) to create an ongoing dialogue between humanists, medical experts, social scientists, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs ) regarding these interventions through a continuing blog, and disseminate information through an edited volume and participnat websites.
Preliminary Conference Schedule

Friday, January 16
8:30 Continental breakfast - free and open to all attendees
8:45 Welcome:  Cecelia Lynch, UC Irvine, and Andrew Apter, UCLA
9:00 Opening Remarks:  Michael Drake, Chancellor, UC Irvine
List of Panels
9:15 - 10:45  --  Violence and the Political Imagination in Humanitarian Intervention
Peter Bloom, UCSB (Film and Media Studies):  Humanitarianism and Media Technologies of Disaster
Liisa Malkki, Stanford (Anthropology): A Tale of Two Affects: Humanitarianism and Professionalism in Red Cross Aid Work
Ayesha Nibbe, UC Davis (Anthropology): The Making of a “Humanitarian Emergency”: The Case of Northern Uganda
Stephen Commins, UCLA: Changes Over Time in the Humanitarian Aid Architecture
Moderator: Victoria Bernal, Anthropology, UCI
10:45 - 12:30  --  Resources, NGOs and the Privatization of Social Welfare
Tekle Woldemikael, Chapman University (Sociology): The Politics of Self Reliance in Eritrea
Crystal Murphy Morgan, UCI (Planning, Policy, and Design): 'Trust No One': The Logics of Microfinance, Depending on Whom You Ask
Edith Omwami UCLA (Education & Information Studies): Deconstructing Theoretical Perspectives and Practice in Education Sector Intervention in Africa
Jorge Aguero and Neha Raykar, UC Riverside (Economics): A Social Welfare Approach to Evaluating the Millennium Development Goals
Moderator: Deborah Avant, UCI (Political Science)
12:30 - 1:45 Lunch (lunch is provided only for presenters; public attendees are free to buy lunch at area eateries)
2:00 - 3:30  --  “Marching to Heaven”: Humanitarian practices in literature, music, art and film
Laura J. Mitchell, UC Irvine (History): A Humane Gaze: Early European Humanitarian Gestures in Southern Africa
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, UCI (Comparative Literature): Reading from Wizard of the Crow
Adam Finck, Invisible Children:  Documentary Clips
Moderator: Peter Bloom, UCSB (Film and Media Studies)
3:45 - 5:15  --  Practicing Humanitarianism:  Roundtable on NGOs in Africa Today
Daudi Kaliisa,, San Luis Obispo
Debra Antista-Bianchi and Allison Hart, The Africa Project, Orange County, CA
Uzo Okereke, African International Institute, Irvine, CA
Célestin Monga, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Kristen Irving, Causecast, Los Angeles
Moderator: Daniel Wehrenfennig, UCI, Political Science
Dinner: University Club Library ($35 for non-participants; check with Sandra Cushman for availability)*
Opening Remarks:  Barbara Dosher, Dean, School of Social Sciences, UCI
Saturday, January 17
8:30 Continental breakfast - free and open to all attendees
9:00 - 10:30  --  The New Humanitarian Missionizing and Old Paternalism: has anything changed in religious and secular humanitarian logics?
Cilas Kemedjio, University of Rochester (Modern Languages and Cultures): The Humanitarian Misunderstanding: Fragmented States and the Privatization of Imperialism
Siba N’Zatioula Grovogui, Johns Hopkins (Political Science): Humanitarians At War: Zoe’s Ark, Their Critics, and the Children They Love
Cecelia Lynch, UCI (Political Science): New Liberal Logics and Resistances in Christian and Muslim Humanitarianism
Moderator:  Erica Bornstein, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (Anthropology)
10:45 - 12:15  --  Discourses of Aid and the Production of Sexuality and Gender
Paula Tavrow and Julia Dudek, UCLA (Public Health): Breaking the Silence: Safer Sexuality and Conception for HIV-Positive Africans
Andrew Apter, UCLA (History): The New Maternalism: Celebrity Motherhood and Logics of Reproduction
Deborah Mindry, UCLA (Public Health): Engendering Care: Humanitarian Interventions and the Ethics of Care
Moderator: Oladele Ogunseitan, UCI, Global Public Health Program
12:15 - 1:30  --  Box Lunch ($12 for non-participants; contact Sandra Cushman to see if still available)*
1:30 - 3:00  --  Imagining and Practicing Law and Foreign Policy in a Humanitarian World
Audie Klotz, Syracuse (Political Science): Out of Africa: The Roots of South African Ambivalence toward Intervention
Benjamin Lawrance, UC Davis (History): Eradicating Shrine “Wives” and Fishing “Boys”: Drafting Anti-Child Trafficking Legislation in West Africa, c.1990-2007
Mark Fathi Massoud, Stanford (Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law):  Rule-of-Law Intervention in Sudan
Moderator:  Jean Tompihe, UCI, Political Science/Economics
3:15 - 4:45  --  Practices of Medical Intervention and Neoliberal Discourses
Oladele Ogunseitan, UCI, Global Public Health Program: Stalking the Burden of Disease in Africa
Kenneth E. Keirstead & *Hans Stegmann Keirstead, UCI (Anatomy and Neurobiology): Expatriate Funding and Capital Investments Fuel Africa's Growth
Dennis Mull, USC (Keck School of Medicine and Sherati Health Education and Development Foundation: Primary Health Care and W.H.O.'s Health for All Revisited
Kristin Peterson, UCI (Anthropology):  The Trials of Tenofovir in Nigeria: Mobilizing Ethics, Markets, and Clinical Molecules
Moderator: Paula Tavrow, UCLA (Public Health)
4:45 - 5:30  Group Discussion: Resistances to and Transformations of Humanitarianism: Moving Critical Investigations Forward
*For meal registration, contact Sandra Cushman at or 949-824-3344 no later than Wednesday, January 14, 2009.  Also contact Sandra to register for the conference (no conference registration fee) so she'll know how many attendees to expect; I imagine there will be onsite registration as well.

Conference is free and open to the public (see notes about meals). Deadline for meals RSVP extended to Wednesday, January 14!! Donations will be gratefully accepted

Cost : No conference registration fee, but meals are not included except for continental breakfasts. Parking in the Student Center Parking Structure for $7 for general; $10 for reserved. For directions, campus map, visit maps.php

Sandra Cushman

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, University of California, Irvine Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies (CGPACS).