eNewsletter - Spring 2007
Newsletter of the UCLA African Studies Center.
UCLA african studies Center
:: IN THIS ISSUE ::
::-:: In Memoriam
::-:: From the Director
::-:: Global Dimensions of the HIV/AIDS Pandemic
::-:: Divestment Was Just the Beginning
::-:: Justice in the Grass
::-:: Speaker Discusses Rights, Writers
@ the FOWLER
::-:: Makishi: Mask Characters of Zambia
::-:: Butabu: Adobe Architecture of West Africa
::-:: El Anatsui: Gawu
::-:: Architecture of the Veil: An Installation by Samta Benyahia
:::::: Princes of the Great Plains
:::::: Ghislaine Lydon
:::::: An African Love Affair
Faculty & Student News
::-:: In Memoriam
Amy Futa remembers friend and colleague Gregory A. Cherry
Greg Cherry was five months into what was expected to be a long and contented retirement when his heart decided otherwise. The news of his death was stunning: I’d simply forgotten about his chronic heart condition. Greg, you see, was always so active, so sturdy.
::-:: From the Director
Aside from the rich complexity of African lives that we all find so inspiring, the aspect of African Studies that I have always found most exciting is its multi-disciplinarity. Because of the concentration on substance that is the hallmark of all area studies programs, we have an unusual opportunity to learn and share each other’s methods and theories; and for me, one of the greatest privileges and joys of serving as director of the James S. Coleman African Studies Center over the last six years has been the chance to “wear so many hats.”
:-:: Global Dimensions of theHIV/AIDS Pandemic
How is the world responding to this serious health crisis? On May 18th panelists discussed responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and share experiences from Latin America, The Caribbean, Africa and Eastern Europe. Event featured a Special keynote by Stephen Lewis, Former UN Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.
== Promises in AIDS Fight Not Met
Focusing on Africa, former UN envoy Stephen Lewis expresses amazement at the passivity of the international community as the HIV/AIDS epidemic traumatizes women, creates orphans, and continues on its decades-long path of devastation.
== Roots of Epidemic Still Go Unaddressed
Debrework Zewdie, the director of the Global HIV/AIDS Program at the World Bank, argues that efforts to fight the pandemic will come up short as long as "fundamental drivers" such as poverty, gender inequality, and the marginalization of high-risk groups are not dealt with.
::-:: Divestment Was Just the Beginning
To call attention to ongoing violence in Darfur, committee plans week of events
Nearly a year after the University of California voted to divest from Sudan, organizers of the Darfur Action Committee on campus say violence in the region still requires student attention and action.
::-:: Justice in the Grass
A documentary about the Rwandan genocide to be screened at UCLA on Wednesday looks at efforts to revive a traditional court system that brings victim and perpetrator face to face.
Joanita Mukarusanga believes that her neighbor, Anastese Butero, killed her husband and children during Rwanda's 100-day genocide in 1994. Butero says he was part of a Hutu death squad that targeted and killed Tutsis, but denies ever killing anyone himself.
::-:: Speaker Discusses Rights, Writers
Visiting humanities professor lectures on African activism, literature, and liberties.
In November 1995 in Nigeria, Ken Saro-Wiwa, a prominent novelist and environmental activist, was executed by hanging by the country's military regime after a controversial trial.
@ the FOWLER
::+:: Makishi: Mask Characters of Zambia
January 14, 2007 to June 17, 2007
In the Fowler in Focus gallery inside Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, see twenty-four of these fascinating masks drawn from the Fowler Museum’s collections, and explore the drama and complexity of the remarkable masquerade traditions of the Chokwe, Mbunda, Lunda, Luvale/Lwena, and Luchazi peoples who live in the “Three Corners” region of northwestern Zambia, northeastern Angola, and southwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
::+:: Butabu: Adobe Architecture of West Africa
Photographs by James Morris
April 22, 2007 to July 15, 2007
For centuries, complex earthen structures, many of them quite massive, have been built in the Sahel region of western Africa—Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Ghana, and Burkina Faso. Made of earth mixed with water, these buildings display a remarkable diversity of form, human ingenuity and originality. In Butabu: Adobe Architecture of West Africa, lush, large-scale photographs by British photographer James Morris offer a stunning visual survey of these structures, from monumental mosques to family homes.
::+:: El Anatsui: Gawu
April 22, 2007 to August 26, 2007
Originally from Ghana but living in Nigeria since 1975, El Anatsui is one of Africa's most influential artists, recently named by Britain's The Independent as one of the fifty greatest cultural figures shaping the continent. His work dwells on the continent's history, drawing simultaneously on traditional African idioms and contemporary western art. This exhibition includes eight large-scale works that make use of large quantities of discarded everyday objects such as bottle tops, flattened food tins, and cassava graters woven together to create magnificent sculptural 'tapestries,' which recall the Ghanaian tradition of weaving kente cloth.
::+:: Architecture of the Veil: An Installation by Samta Benyahia
January 28, 2007 to September 2, 2007
This site-specific installation and first U.S. museum exhibition by Algerian artist Samta Benyahia takes its theme from the moucharabieh, the openwork screens used in Mediterranean Islamic architecture to cover windows and balconies, allowing those inside—typically women—to view the outside world without being seen. For this installation, Benyahia covers the Fowler’s entrance doors and Mediterranean-inspired interior courtyard windows with printed films of a blue moucharabieh pattern. Encircling the courtyard in the Museum’s Galleria are sixty “rosettes” consisting of sequin-embroidered motifs on netting and eight large-scale black-and-white photographs of early 20th-century Algerian women including the artist’s mother and aunt. The installation provides a beautiful and dynamic exploration of gender as well as the dialectic between interior and exterior, light and shadow, concealment and revelation, and private versus public space.
::-:: Faculty focus
==Princes of the Great Plains
They called themselves Ethiopians and religious leaders. Professor of History Robert Hill says we can learn from these imposters. Ethiopian Princes or imposters? This is the question UCLA History Professor Robert Hill addressed in a presentation on Feb. 9, 2007.
= = Ghislaine Lydon
For Ghislaine Lydon, 2006 was the year of travel. It started with her participation in the annual conference of the American History Association in Philadelphia, where she gave a paper on Muslim women’s rights in nineteenth-century Senegal.
== An African Love Affair
Visual culture scholars Allen and Polly Roberts have spent two lifetimes studying and celebrating the profound mysteries, hidden cultures and timeless beauty of one of the most fascinating places on Earth. Of the many mystifying works of art in the Westwood home of Allen Roberts and Mary (Polly) Nooter Roberts, the most intriguing is an image of a slight man in an oversize white robe, his face partially obscured by a shadow. This is a print of the only surviving photograph of Amadou Bamba, a legendary Sufi mystic who resisted the French in the African nation of Senegal and became a symbol of the continent's postcolonial self-reliance.
Faculty & Student News
:::::: Faculty News
Andrew Apter (Professor of History) has a new book, Beyond Words: Discourse and Critical Agency in Africa (University of Chicago Press), which will be released in late May, 2007. It focuses on ritual discourse genres in Africa and their capacity to reshape the sociopolitical relations in which they are embedded. His previous book, The Pan-African Nation: Oil and the Spectacle of Culture in Africa, received the 2007 Amaury Talbot Prize, awarded by the Royal Anthropological Institute for the best work in African anthropology (shared with Harry West’s Kupilikula: Governance and the Invisible Realm in Mozambique), and was featured in the “Autour d’un livre” section of Politique Africaine no. 103 (October), 2006:161-73, where he responded to reviews by Daniel Bach, Kathryn Nwajiaku, and Biodun Jeyifo.
Professor Apter and Percy Hintzen (Professor of Afro-American Studies, UC Berkeley) were selected as co-principal research directors of a new Social Science Research Council Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship for their proposed field, “Black Atlantic Studies.” They will conduct two workshops in May (Denver) and September (St. Louis) for twelve nationally selected graduate students working on various dimensions of the African Diaspora. Professor Apter’s conference presentations included “Activating the Past: History and Memory in the Black Atlantic,” Tepoztlán Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas, Tepoztlán, Mexico, 7/27-8/03/06; “History in the Dungeon: Towards an Archeology of Memory in Cape Coast Castle, Ghana,” Workshop on Diasporic Knowledges, University of Cape Town, South Africa, 10/21-26/06; and “Sacred Routes: The Yoruba Ritual Archive in Black Atlantic Perspective,” Musée Quai Branly, Paris, 1/15/07.
Frederick K. Byaruhanga (Education) published “Student Power in Africa’s Higher Education: A Case of Makerere University (2006). He presented a paper “In Their Own Voices:Student Power and the Culture of Student Protest on a Colonial African University Campus” at The 6th Conference of the International Society for Oral Literature in Africa (ISOLA),University of the West Indies at St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago (July 20–23, 2006). He is presenting another paper “Distance Learning in Tertiary Education: A Viable Solution for Rural sub-Saharan Africa?” at The Twelfth Annual International Conference on the Changing Contours of Education: Future Trends, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam, (May 21-24, 2007).
Deepak Lal, (James S. Coleman Professor of International Development Studies) is on the academic advisory board of the chief executive of the chambers of commerce and industry of South Africa (CHASMA) and of the free market foundation in Johannesburg. CHASMA published monograph by Professor Lal, "Trade and Industrial Policy" in its Economic Insights Series as Monograph No.3, and it is going into a 2nd edition in October. It is based in part on his book Reviving the Invisible Hand, Princeton Uni. Press, 2006.
Edmond Keller, (Professor of Political Science) was invited to present "Federalism, Citizenship and National Identity in Ethiopia" at the Law, Politics and Islam in Africa: A Conference to Honor Professor Bereket Habte Selassie, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, April 12-14, 2007. He was appointed to the Strategic Planning Committee of the African Studies Association in January 2007 as well as co-Program Chair of the 2008 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting in April 2007. He also wrote book review: Ethnic Federalism: The Ethiopian Experience in Comparative Perspective, ed, David Turton. Ohio University Press, International Journal of African Historical Studies Vol. 40, No. 1 (2007).
Charlotte G. Neumann (Professor of Community Health Sciences and of Pediatrics at the Schools of Public Health and of Medicine) gave a paper at the first meeting of the "African Nutrition Epidemiologic Conference" hosted by the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana. The meeting was organized by the University of Ghana, Vaal University of Technology at Vanderbijlpark, S.A., Greenwich University, UK and co- sponsored by the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS).The paper was based on findings from a long term feeding intervention trial on a food -based approach to combating multiple micronutrient deficiencies in rural Kenyan children. Positive impacts were found on growth, cognitive function, physical activity and school performance. Professor Edith Mukudi in the Graduate School of Education and of JSCASC was also involved in this research project as the Field Coordinator.
Professor Neumann also is the Co -principal Investigator of a nutrition intervention study in HIV positive mothers and their children. The objectives are to try t halt or slow the disease progression and to improve the growth and development in the children and to enable the mother to carry out daily tasks of caring for her children and her family and household. A small grant from the Globalization Center under Dr Keller will allow measurement of Time Allocation on a subsample of mothers an children to estimate percent of their time spent on daily tasks and their activities. This research is being carried our jointly with Moi University (Schools of Public Health and of Medicine) and Indiana University. A former doctoral student of Professor Neumann, and now an Associate Professor of Public Health at Moi University, is one of the co-Investigator. The field studies for the project are just getting underway.
Merrick Posnansky (Professor Emeritus History and Anthropology) gave the keynote address to the Ghana Historical Society meeting at the International conference Centre in Accra on August 9th on "Appreciating the Global Dimension of Ghana's Past". He later traveled to Togo and participated in an archaeological film on the royal site of Notse. In late October took up a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award at Makerere University, Kampala where he advised the university on the reintroduction of archaeology teaching at the university and made a representation on history teaching and heritage studies to the International visitation committee evaluating the university. He was also invited to deliver the 2nd Karugire Memorial lecture which will be given in late 2007. From mid December till late January he directed The Dufile research project based on the Egyptian Imperial fort site on the Nile that received the approval and support of the Royal Geographical Society. A party of 10 Makerere University and Kyambogo University students participated. Excavations of both an Egyptian site and a Belgian site facilitated a new chronological evaluation of the site. A new survey based on aerial photographs and GPS mapping has provided Uganda with the most advanced survey of a late 19th century fort that it is hoped will be turned into a sustainable historical monument.
Katrina Daly Thompson (Professor-in-Residence of Linguistics and African Language Coordinator) in Fall 2006, she created a new "Conversational Swahili" course which is growing in popularity each quarter. In summer 2006, she was awarded a grant from the University of California Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching for a collaborative project with Galen Sibanda and Amma Oduro of UC-Berkeley, to develop "Virtual Shona Village," a web portal for the teaching and learning of Shona. Professor Thompson also received a grant from the UCLA Globalization Research Center for Africa for her project, "Maasai Hip-hop: Globalizing Local Stereotypes and Localizing Global Hip-hop," which sent her to Tanzania for a month of interviews with hip-hop artists. She presented some of that research at the African Popular Cultures conference at UT-Austin in March 2007. Also in March, she presented "Wanafunzi wakiwa Walimu: Ufundishaji, Teknolojia, na Uwezeshaji" at the African Language Teachers Association annual conference in Gainesville, Florida, where she also helped lead the pre-conference workshop on "Standards for Learning African Languages and their Implications for the Classroom." Her article, "The Stereotype in Tanzania[n] Comics: Swahili and the Ethnic Other" was published in the International Journal of Comic Art 8:2 (Fall 2006).
Paula Tavrow (Director of the Bixby Program and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Community Health Sciences Department at the School of Public Health) received a grant in 2003 from UCLA's Globalization Research Center-Africa (GRCA) to launch and test a pilot program called Youth for Youth (Y4Y) in Bungoma District of Western Kenya. Y4Y is a comprehensive sexuality education and services program intended to reduce unwanted pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases among rural youth. The program was introduced in the Webuye division of Bungoma district. Upon the conclusion of the research in 2006, the Kenyan program staff of Y4Y registered the program as community-based organization in Kenya. In view of the program's accomplishments, a Dutch non-governmental organization, SIMAVI, donated 100,000 euros ($120,000) to Y4Y in March 2007 to expand Y4Y's activities to three additional divisions in Bungoma district over the next three years. Because the program provides condom information to youths, Y4Y was not able to secure PEPFAR funding.
:::::: Student News
Galia Boneh, PhD candidate at the Department of World Arts and Cultures, have recently completed the Asetena pa Concert Party Project for Ghana, West Africa. The project engaged five local people living with HIV/AIDS and five popular artists in a collaborative process to create a "Concert Party" based on the life stories of the participating people with HIV/AIDS. The group then toured eleven towns and villages across Ghana, reaching out to thousands of people. The project serves as the basis for Boneh's doctoral dissertation in Culture and Performance.
Kim Dionne advanced to PhD candidacy in the Department of Political Science in February 2007. She presented her dissertation prospectus, entitled "The Political Economy of HIV/AIDS Interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa," at the Boston University Graduate Students Conference in African Studies in March of 2007. This summer, she will be collecting data for research on the expansion of HIV anti-retroviral therapy in rural Malawi, thanks to a grant from the Globalization Research Center-Africa.
Marcelle Little, first year MAAS, will enter the UCLA Master's in Public Health program as a joint MAAS/MPH students focusing on Community Health Sciences. Her research is on gender and development looking at how U.S. HIV/AIDS policies affect Uganda. Eventually, her work will extend to examining HIV/AIDS prevention programs from a psycho-social perspective both in the U.S. and abroad.
Kara McMullen, joint MAAS/MPH program focusing on Community Health Sciences. This summer, Kara will be working with Raising Voices, a gender based violence prevention program in Kampala, Uganda. She will work on the Sasa! component of the program--Sasa means "now" in Swahili and is a program to provide educational and assistance tools to NGO's and governmental organizations regarding the ties between violence and AIDS transmission.
Emma Nesper, first year MAAS, presented a paper entitled “Alternative Networks of Power in the Academy: An Exploration into the Role of the Dahira in Senegalese Universities” at the Boston University 15th Annual Graduate Student Research Conference in African Studies on March 10, 2007. This summer, Emma will spend two months volunteering with the NGO Tostan in Sénégal. She will contribute to Tostan's Talibé Project which works to extend micro-credit to Qu'ranic teachers and to improve the learning and living conditions within Qur’anic schools in the city of Thiès. While in Sénégal, she will also undertake archival research for her Master’s Thesis.
Erin Pettigrew, first year MAAS, was awarded a FLAS for Arabic from the Center for Near Eastern Studies for the 2007-2008 academic year. She will be studying Arabic at Damascus University this summer in Syria and going to Aix-en-Provence, France to research for her master's thesis at the Archives Nationales d'outre mer. Her masters thesis will focus on the French colonial administration's appropriation of the Mauritanian qur'anic schools and how this affected social networks in the region. Erin is actively involved in the African Activists Association (AAA) and is senior editor for Ufahamu, journal of the AAA.
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James S. Coleman African Studies Center
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