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Kansas African Studies Center UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS


FALL 2014

KU Hosts 20th Annual MAAAS Meeting

This fall, the Kansas African Studies Center (KASC) had the great pleasure to welcome the Mid-America Alliance for African Studies (MAAAS) back to its KU birthplace for the organization’s 20th annual meeting. This was the 5th time that KASC has hosted the annual gathering since the inaugural MAAAS meeting was held at KU in 1995. The meeting provided an opportunity to reflect on past achievements and consider promising future directions. Discussions examined the relevance of African Studies scholarship for the Mid-America region and the benefits of African Studies to the university education mission. One enduring contribution of work in African Studies has been not only to illuminate how standard forms of knowledge bear the imprint of colonial power, but also to develop intellectual practices, rooted in everyday experience of life in African settings, that provide the foundations for broader human liberation. This idea found expression in the conference theme of “African Studies: Concepts and Practices for Decolonizing Knowledge.” Reflecting both the conference focus on decolonizing knowledge and the occasion of the 20th annual meeting, we welcomed back as keynote speaker former KASC Director, former MAAAS President, and founding member of MAAAS, Garth Myers. Dr. Myers is now the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Urban International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. He was present at the inaugural meeting of MAAAS and was a signatory to the original MAAAS charter. Dr. Myers has a long history of work that exemplifies the theme of decolonizing knowledge, most recently drawing on understandings and experience of African urbanism as a foundation for re-thinking conventional perspectives of urban studies in general. His keynote address, “Building from the South: Comparative Urbanism from African Knowledge Bases,” highlighted this work.

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More than 70 scholars gathered for the conference, which featured 31 presentations by researchers from around the Mid-America region. Graduate students were authors of eight presentations, including KASC affiliate Elene Cloete, KU Department of Anthropology, who won the Ken Lohrentz Graduate Paper Award for her submission, “Confronting the Elephant in the Room: Race in South Africa Twenty Years after Democracy.” The Award Committee also gave an honorable mention to Ifeyinwa Onyenekwu, University of Illinois, for her submission, “Traveling to Nontraditional Destinations: 5 Things Americans Should Know Before Studying Abroad to ‘Africa’.” The conference also featured a panel discussion by a group of visiting Nigerian educators on “The Role of Extended Family in Raising Children with Special Needs: Implications for Community-Based Rehabilitation in Africa.” The visitors were on a six-week visit to Missouri State University as part of the Nigeria Public Affairs Program. Sponsors of their visit were the U.S. Embassy, Public Affairs Division in Abuja, Nigeria and the Office of the Provost, Missouri State University. MAAAS meetings are an excellent opportunity for junior scholars to gain conference presentation experience, for established scholars to test new ideas, and for everyone to promote African Studies in the Mid-America region. The next meeting of MAAAS will be in the fall of 2015. KASC will share the call for papers when it comes out, and we hope that you will consider presenting your work. KASC would like to thank all of those at KU who provided support for the conference, including the Africa Students Association, The Commons, the Department of African and African-American Studies, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Ken Lohrentz (center) is pictured with the Ken Lohrentz Graduate Paper Award winner Elene Cloete (left) and Ifeyinwa Onyenekwu (right) who received an honorable mention.

Keynote speaker Dr. Garth Myers gave an address entitled “Building from the South: Comparative Urbanism from African Knowledge Bases.” Dr. Myers, former KASC Director, is now the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Urban International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, CT.

Spring 2015 Graduate Research Workshop The Kansas African Studies Center will host the Fifth Annual Graduate Research Workshop at the University of Kansas in Lawrence on April 3, 2015. This forum will provide an opportunity for graduate students with research interests in African settings to present their research to an interdisciplinary African Studies audience. Student participants are expected to attend the day-long event to engage in discussions and provide critical feedback on other students’ work. Faculty will be in attendance to listen and offer advice on student research agendas. Students who wish to read a paper or give a research presentation should submit an abstract of up to 250 words by email to by March 2, 2015. Questions about the workshop should be directed to the co-conveners: Dr. Byron Caminero-Santangelo ( or Dr. Glenn Adams ( The Center plans to assist with travel expenses for participants who are not KU students. Please share this announcement to potential participants who may be interested in benefiting from this opportunity.



SOCIAL SCIENTISTS DISCUSS THE EBOLA OUTBREAK The Kansas African Studies Center hosted a panel discussion on the Ebola outbreak featuring the perspectives of leading KU social scientists about health, the state, and society. This event, held at the Kansas Union on November 12, was open to the KU community and the public. More than 120 individuals in attendance learned about the Ebola outbreak and the context in which it occurred in greater depth. Ebenezer Obadare, Associate Professor of Sociology, began by discussing what epidemics tell us about the societies in which they occur. Sandra Gray, Associate Professor of Anthropology, then examined the biology, transmission, and virulence of Ebola and analyzed the failure of the international public health structure to contain the epidemic. Glenn Adams, Associate Professor of Psychology, closed by discussing reactions to Ebola in West African settings and reflecting on the outbreak as a manifestation of geopolitical and economic processes. The panel was co-sponsored by KASC, the Center for Global and International Studies, the Department of African and African-American Studies, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Psychology, and the Department of Sociology. KASC would like to thank our panelists and cosponsors for their help in carrying out this succesful event on a timely topic.

Student Spotlight Sammy Badran Graduate student in Political Science Sammy Badran, a PhD student in the Department of Political Science, received a 2014 Summer FLAS fellowship. He spent two months studying Modern Standard Arabic at the Arabic Language Institute in Fez (ALIF), Morocco. At ALIF, he took courses in Intermediate-level Arabic which helped refine and widen his vocabulary and communication skills. He also took a course and had private lessons focused on media Arabic. Sammy can now understand material in Arabic newspapers and television news broadcasts, which he plans to utilize for his research on the Arab Spring. During the weekends in Morocco, he spent time wandering Fez’s medina, traveling the country, and engaging in valuable conversations with new Moroccan friends. One of the favorite spots that he was fortunate enough to visit was the University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, which is one of the oldest and leading Islamic educational centers in the world. 3

Fall 2014 Semester Highlights (Left) Dr. Hannington Ochwada at his Ujamaa Food For Thought Lecture, which was jointly sponsored by KASC and CGIS. Dr. Ochwada’s talk was entitled “‘You Must be God’s Servant’: Medical Missionaries, Colonialism and Biomedicine in Uganda and Kenya.”

Friends of KASC enjoy good company at the welcome back reception in early September.

(Above) Fradreck Mujuru and Erica Azim play Shona music from Zimbabwe on the Mbira Dzavadzimu at this concert and lecture hosted by the Department of African and African-American Studies. KASC and the Lied Center were co-sponsors. Over 40 students, faculty, staff, and community members enjoyed the concert.

Faculty Highlights Jide Wintoki Associate Professor of Finance, School of Business Dr. Wintoke was recognized as the 28th recipient of the Byron T. Shutz Excellence in Teaching Award. The award winner is selected through student surverys. He gave a talk on “The Effect of Corporate Governance and Legal Institutions on the Value of Companies in the U.S. and Around the World.” Byron Caminero-Santangelo Associate Professor of English Dr. Caminero-Santangelo recently published a ground-breaking work exploring African environmental writing. His book Different Shades of Green: African Literature, Environmental Justice, and Political Ecology, was published by The University of Virginia Press. He will lead a study abroad program to South Africa on “Sustainability, Development, and Community Empowerment” in the Eastern Cape in July.


Mariana Candido Assistant Professor of History KASC congratulates Dr. Mariana Candido on the nomination of her recent book as a finalist for the Herskovits Award from the African Studies Association (ASA). The ASA presents this award to the author of the most important scholarly work in African Studies published in English during the preceding year. Prof. Candido was recognized for her book, An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World: Benguela and its Hinterland, published by Cambridge University Press.

KASC Awarded FLAS Fellowships KASC received $990,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to fund Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) awards for students between 2014-18. FLAS funds are awarded in a competitive process open to graduate and undergraduate students to pursue foreign language and area studies training for professional purposes. FLAS Fellowships for an academic year cover tuition (up to $18,000 for graduate students and up to $10,000 for undergraduates) and provide a stipend ($5000 for undergraduates and $15,000 for graduate students). Summer FLAS Fellowships are also available. Awards are for the study of Amharic, Arabic, Hausa, Somali, Kiswahili, and Wolof, and are contingent on federal funding. Additional African languages may be supported upon approval. Academic year FLAS fellowships are usually used for domestic study at KU, but a semester or full year abroad is also an option. Summer FLAS awards can be used for study abroad, or for a KU language course or an intensive language program at another accredited university in the US. This summer, KASC and the Department of AAAS will offer courses in Arabic, Kiswahili, Somali, and Wolof during the KU Summer African Language Institute (SALI). The deadline for summer 2015 and Academic Year applications 2015-16 is February 15, 2015. For more information, contact Daniel Atkinson in KASC at 785-864-1064. To apply, go to:

Noemi Tracy, a graduate student in AAAS, studied advanced Wolof in Senegal through a summer FLAS fellowhsip. She is studying Amharic at KU this year. Paeten Denning spent last summer studying Kiswahili in Tanzania with the support of the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program. She is continuing her study of Kiswahili as a FLAS fellow at KU this year.

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships

Amharic, Arabic, Hausa, Somali, Kiswahili, and Wolof Application deadline: February 15, 2014 APPLY ONLINE AT: FLAS.KU.EDU

Current FLAS Fellows Academic Year 2014-15 Graduate Students: Sammy Badran, Arabic (Political Science) James Baker, Arabic (African & African American Studies) Noemi Tracy, Amharic (African & African American Studies) Undergraduate Students: Paeten Denning, Kiswahili (Social Welfare) Salman Husain, Arabic (Journalism, Global & International Studies) Megan Mapes, Kiswahili (Political Science) Sierra Upton, Kiswhaili (Journalism) 5


KU Summer

african language


The Kansas African Studies Center and the Department of African and African-American Studies at the University of Kansas are the sponsors of a Summer African Language Institute on the Lawrence campus from June 9 - July 30, 2015. The institute will offer expert instruction in beginning and intermediate Arabic, beginning and intermediate Kiswahili, beginning Somali, and beginning Wolof. In eight weeks, experience the equivalent of one year of university-level language instruction. Enhance your global awareness through experiential learning. Empower yourself to build your future as a socially responsible citizen. The environment of the institute will foster a close community of African language learners over the course of both summer sessions. All language courses will be supplemented with a variety of activities including guest lectures, field trips, films, language tables, and cultural immersion. We invite you to join us for a rigorous yet fun summer of learning without boundaries! For more information visit: Arabic, one of the fastest growing languages, is a Semitic Language spoken widely across Africa, the Middle East, and the Arabic Peninsula. It is the key to understanding the culture and history of more than 22 nations and more than 280 million speakers. Arabic is also the liturgical language of more than a billion Muslims around the world, and it is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. The study of the Arabic language and Arab culture allows students to develop an appreciation for the complexity of the many facets of the Arab world: its society, culture, history, arts, religions, and literary heritage. Kiswahili is the most widely studied indigenous African language. It is spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit large stretches of the Indian Ocean coastline from southern Somalia to northern Mozambique, including the Comoros Islands. Up to 10 million people speak it as their native language, and over 130 million use it as either a first or second language in eastern and central Africa. Kiswahili is also a lingua franca of much of East Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the national or official language of four nations, and it is the only language of African origin among the official working languages of the African Union. Kiswahili is taught in many academic institutions in the world from Japan in the East to Mexico in the West. Somali speakers number up to 19 million worldwide, with the majority living in the Horn of Africa. There are almost 9 million living in the nation of Somalia and 4.6 million residing in neighboring Ethiopia. An additional 2.2 million Somali speakers live in the surrounding countries of Kenya, Yemen, and Djibouti. Somali is the official working language of Somalia (along with Arabic), and it is estimated that over 95% of those in Somalia speak Somali. A majority of the population in the smaller nation of Djibouti also speak Somali. More than half a million people outside of Northeast Africa and the Middle East also speak Somali as a mother tongue. There is a substantial Somali-speaking population in the Kansas City metro area and in southwest Kansas. Wolof is a West African language spoken mainly in Senegal, Gambia and southern Mauritania. The language has influenced the societies and economies of West Africans, and it has emerged through trade as a lingua franca also used in parts of Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Mali. Wolof is known internationally through the popular work of acclaimed musicians and filmmakers. There are over 10 million speakers of Wolof in West Africa, France, the U.S., and other parts of the world.

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Fall KASC Campus Events September 4 KASC Welcome Back Reception October 3-4th 20th Annual Meeting, Mid-America Alliance for African Studies (MAAAS) “African Studies: Concepts and Practices for Decolonizing Knowledge” Keynote Adress: “Building from the South: Comparative Urbanism from African Knowledge Bases” Garth A. Myers Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Urban International Studies, Trinity College

October 21 Literary Bridges: The Local and Global as Envisioned in the Works of Sindiwe Magona Dianne Shober Head of the Department of English, University of Fort Hare, South Africa October 29 Ujamaa Food for Thought: “Listen, Plan, Educate, Propel Uganda” Mickey Woolard Founder of Propel Educational Consultancy

November 12 The Ebola Outbreak in Wider Perspective: Social Scientists Discuss Health, the State, and Society in Africa Ebenezer Obadare, Sociology; Glenn Adams, Psychology; Sandra Gray, Anthropology November 12 Ujamaa Food for Thought: “’You Must be God’s Servant’: Medical Missionaries, Colonialism and Biomedicine in Uganda and Kenya” Hannington Ochwada, Visiting Lecturer in African History Departments of History and African & African-American Studies November 5 World Wednesday: A Day in the Life of a Ugandan School Child Mackenzie Jones, KASC Outreach Coordinator Lawrence Public Library


Support KASC

GIVING TO THE KANSAS AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER Your contribution to the Center supports academic activities, outreach, special events, and research programs related to Africa. •

KASC supports the development of new courses on Africa, faculty and student research in Africa, the study of African languages, and the Africana Library at KU.

KASC promotes knowledge of Africa through academic conferences, seminars, workshops, lunch talks, public lectures, film festivals, cultural performances, exhibits, recitals, and other celebrations.

KASC offers outreach programs that serve K-16 students and educators, as well as the public, throughout the Great Plains region.

KASC Outreach Coordinator Mackenzie Jones talks to educators about Ugandan school children at the Lawrence Public Library

The Center receives funding from the university and actively pursues other ares of support. However, contributions from individual donors are essential not only to underwrite activities not covered by other sources, but also to demonstrate to corporate sponsors and foundations the value that our alumni and members attach to the Center and its mission. You may donate to an unrestricted fund and allow the Center to decide where your contribution can be used most effectively, or you can direct your donation to a particular area or activity such as student scholarships, faculty research support, curriculum development, or library acquisitions. KASC Assistant Director Daniel Atkinson makes hibiscus snowcones for incoming students during Hawk Week in August.

Please go to the KASC website, to give online, or send a donation, marked for the Kansas African Studies Center, to: Gift Processing Department KU Endowment P.O. Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044-0928

Kansas African Studies Center University of Kansas Bailey Hall 201, 1440 Jayhawk Blvd. Lawrence, KS 66045 Phone: 785-864-3745 Email: Web:

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Fall 2014 KASC Newsletter  
Fall 2014 KASC Newsletter