Penn African Studies Newsletter, Sept./Oct.'96

Penn African Studies Newsletter, Sept./Oct.'96

Penn African Studies Receives NEH Grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Penn's African Studies Center a two-year grant for an educationally innovative project on "Teaching and Learning about Africa through Modeling, the Internet, and Distance-Learning." The $210,000 project focuses on East Africa and the Swahili language and peoples as focal points for building an interlocking and cohesive set of teaching materials, educational resources, instructional models, and interactive distance-learning TV broadcasts. The broadcasts will be beamed by satellite to school children across the United States, and educational resource materials will be made available through the Internet to the general public and to academics and educators at all levels.

The NEH project is therefore targeted to multiple audiences:

--For school children in the Philadelphia area, a year-long distance learning TV course in the Swahili language will be broadcast to students in the sixth through 12th grades. The course will be videotaped and disseminated nationally.

--For school students nationally, a series of model lessons broadcast live for TV audiences will be beamed by satellite connection. These broadcasts will focus on East African history, culture, arts, and literature.

--For the general public a "living library of educational resources" on East Africa and its Swahili-speaking peoples will be posted on the Penn African Studies Internet Web site.

--Finally, for Philadelphia school teachers, Africanist faculty from the Penn, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore African Studies Consortium will conduct curriculum enrichment seminars on East African history, archaeology, literatures, arts, and culture. The seminars will be held in 1996-97 and will prepare teachers for the broadcasts that are scheduled for 1997-98.

The grant will be carried out by faculty from Penn and its African Studies Consortium colleagues at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore colleges in collaboration with the School District of Philadelphia's Department of African and African-American Studies and its Division of Television, Instructional Media Technologies, and Distance Learning.

Fourth Annual Fall African Studies Workshop to be Held October 4th

The fourth annual workshop of the African Studies Consortium entitled Competing Epistemologies and Strategies about Africa will be held Friday, October 4th at the University of Pennsylvania. Three panels and two roundtables have been organized. The panels are The Epistemological Status of Academic Discourses as Applied to Africa: Theoretical and Practical Implications; Images of Local Knowledge from Daily Life in Contemporary African Societies; and Symbolic and Institutional Implications of Wars. The two roundtables are F(l)ailing States: Changing Patterns of Power and Authority, and Political/Economic Priorities in Africa: Favored and Unfavored States.

Contributors include professors and students from local universities including Penn, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Swarthmore, Temple, and West Chester as well as from universities farther away including Princeton, Harvard, University of Florida, NYU, Indiana University, and Johns Hopkins.

The workshop will be from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Bodek Lounge in Houston Hall. A lunch buffet is available for all workshop participants for $8.00. To make a reservation, please send a check, payable to the African Studies Center, along with your name, phone number, and e-mail address to Molly Roth, African Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, 642 Williams Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305. Reservations must be made by September 30th. For information call 215-898-6971 or e-mail

The African Studies Consortium

University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges




Friday, October 4, 1996

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM


Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall

PANEL I--9:00 TO 10:30

The Epistemological Status of Academic Discourses as Applied to Africa: Theoretical and Practical Implications

Paul Stoller "Epistemology and Embodiment Toward a Sensuous Scholarship"

Elisa Forgey and Wambui Mwangi "Of Prepositions and Propositions: Perspectives on Feminism and the Epistemology of Africanist Collaboration"

Philip Kilbride "Epistemology and Cultural Comparison, Plural Marriage"

Richard Waller "Making and Taking Time"

Chair: Steven Feierman; Discussant: Linda-Susan Beard

ROUNDTABLE--11:00 TO 12:30

F(l)ailing States: Changing Patterns of Power and Authority

Jeffrey Herbst, William Reno, Michael Chege; Chair: Tom Callaghy

PANEL II--1:30 to 3:00

Images of Local Knowledge from Daily Life in Contemporary African Societies

T. K. Biaya "Conceptualizing Everyday Life in Zaire: Social Practices from Below"

Niyi Akinnaso "Knowledge, Power, and Authority in Yoruba Divination"

P. Stanley Yoder "Discovering the Knowledge Relevant to Participants in Illness Episodes"

Chair: Timothy Burke; Discussant: Wyatt MacGaffey


Political/Economic Priorities in Africa: Favored and Unfavored States

Robert Mortimer, Harvey Glickman, Ahmed Shariff, Marja Hoek-Smit, Steve O'Connell

Chair: Ray Hopkins

PANEL III--3:30 to 5:00

Symbolic and Institutional Implications of Wars

Jendayi Frazer "The Institutional Legacy of Armed Struggle for the Military"

Siba Grovogui "African Political Thought: The Influences of World War I and World War II"

Norma Kriger "The Politics of Heroes in Post-War Zimbabwe"

Chair: Lee Cassanelli; Discussant: Stephan Miescher

Study Abroad in Africa

New Program in Senegal

Students will soon have one more African university to choose from when deciding where to study in Africa. The University of Pennsylvania is finalizing arrangements for a new study abroad program at the University Saint-Louis in Senegal. More details will be forthcoming. Students at Penn, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges, all members of the African Studies Consortium, currently have three African universities to choose from: the University of Ghana in Legon, the University of Nairobi in Kenya, and the University of Zimbabwe in Harare.

Swarthmore College is the lead institution for the program at the University of Ghana in Legon. Students attending the University will have the guidance of a university professor who works directly with Swarthmore and access to individual faculty tutors in their main areas of interest. They will be encouraged to develop independent projects with the advice and supervision of faculty members. They will also live with Ghanaian students at the University. Courses and projects are available in most areas of the social sciences as well as the humanities, including especially Ghanaian (and African) history and culture, literature, development, society and politics, music, theater, arts, and linguistics. English is the official language of Ghana and the instructional language at the University. Instruction in Twi, a principle Ghanaian language, is available and strongly recommended. For more information contact Steven Piker, Foreign Study Advisor, Swarthmore College at 215-328-7826 or

Bryn Mawr is the lead institution for the program at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. The host institution is the Institute of African Studies at the University of Nairobi. Courses will be selected from the University curriculum under the advice of the Director of the Institute and the students' academic advisors. Available courses include Ethnology of African Societies, Field Methods in Anthropology, Family and Kinship, Economic Anthropology, and Verbal Art (oral literature). Students will reside in hostels within walking distance of the University, which offer options from dormitories to private rooms. Staying with local families is also a possibility. For more information contact Elizabeth G. Vermey, Office for International Initiatives, Bryn Mawr College at 610-526-7921 or 7922.

Penn is the lead institution for the program at the University of Zimbabwe. Currently, undergraduate engineering and liberal arts students can take courses at the University. In addition, faculty from Zimbabwe will be teaching, doing research, and taking courses at Penn. Penn's School of Medicine is also negotiating with Zimbabwe's medical school to establish research and clinical relationships.

Penn students interested in studying in Africa may attend an introductory meeting on October 3rd, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Bennett Hall, Room 328. For information contact Patricia Martin, Office of International Programs at 898-1654, 898-9073, or

The Passing of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe

Nigeria's first president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, passed away on May 11th of this year at the age of 91. With his death, the world mourns a monumental figure in this century's decolonization and nation-building struggles. Penn played a part in Azikiwe's story as the institution where he completed a master's degree in Philosophy and Anthropology in 1933 and which conferred on him an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 1980, on the occasion of Nigeria's twentieth anniversary as an independent nation.

"Zik of Africa" was born in Zungeru in northern Nigeria in 1903 under a British rule that he would work tirelessly to cast off. Returning to Africa after his studies in the U.S., Azikiwe went first to Ghana (then the Gold Coast) where he worked for the cause of national independence throughout West Africa with fellow Lincoln University and Penn classmate Kwame Nkrumah. Having served in the opposition Western House Assembly, Azikiwe was made first prime minister of Eastern Nigeria before becoming the president of an independent Nigeria in 1963. Scholar, journalist, and poet as well as politician, Azikiwe governed for three years before being ousted in a military coup that ultimately led to civil war. Criticized by the Biafran leadership, Azikiwe advocated a return to the federation when he saw the suffering wrought on his fellow Igbo people, and helped to end the bloody conflict.

Nnamdi Azikiwe survived his wife Flora and is survived by children and grandchildren. He will be missed by all partisans and friends of African liberation struggles.

Penn African Studies Center

Fall Lecture Series

October 9th

Publishing in African Studies

Janet Rabinowitch

Senior Editor for Africa

Indiana University Press

4:00 p.m.

October 25th

The Invisible Continent: US Policy Toward

Africa at the End of the Millennium

Salih Booker

Fellow for Africa Studies

Council on Foreign Relations

Washington, D.C.

12:00 noon

November 15th

Tales of Remembering and Forgetting

Nozipo Maraire, M.D.

Neurosurgeon and Novelist

Yale University Medical School

12:00 noon

Lectures will be held in Room 421

Williams Hall, University of Pennsylvania

Chinua Achebe to Speak

A conference entitled Across Languages and Cultures: Creative Writing in English by non-Native Speakers will be held October 24, 25, and 26 at West Chester University with keynote speaker Chinua Achebe. The conference aims to explore how non-native speakers of English, especially Africans, use the language in their creative writing. Writers will discuss the challenges of writing across cultural and language barriers, with emphasis on the intra-personal processes involved in using English and/or African vernaculars to mediate and articulate experiences, thoughts, and artistic creations. It also seeks to encourage scholars to examine the cultural and linguistic features of the English language as used by Africans in their creative writing during the past 50 years. A final aim is to place African creative writing and poly-lingualism in the context of multi-culturalism and poly-lingualism elsewhere (e.g. among the African-American diaspora), and in other situations produced by conquest, immigration, or exile. Special features of the conference are the presentations by various writers in which they discuss their works and the challenges they face in writing across the language divide.

The conference opens Thursday, October 24th at 9:00 a.m. After welcoming and preliminaries, Steven Kellman, Ashbel Professor of Modern Languages at the University of Texas-San Antonio, will lecture at 10:00 a.m. on Translingualism as a Worldwide Phenomenon. Various panels occur throughout the day. Chinua Achebe will speak at 7:30 p.m., and a reception will follow. On Friday, October 25th, panels focus on such topics as national literatures, Africanization of English, and representations of women. Houston Baker leads off on Saturday, October 26th at 9:00 a.m. speaking on Everybody Knows the Real Thing, But Magic Brings Us Home: Multicultural Notes. Panels will follow on African-American and Caribbean translingual/transcultural creativity. A forum comprising Achebe, Baker, Okpewho, Chinodya, Lindfors, and Kellman will wrap up the conference on Saturday afternoon.

Registration for the conference is $70 for professionals and $35 for students; it covers attendance at all conference events and a continental breakfast each day. Early registration, before October 11th, is available for $60 and $30. For more information contact Dr. T. Obinkaram Echewa, Dept. of English, West Chester University at 610-436-2822 or

African Dissertation Workshop Held

The University of Pennsylvania Population Studies Center and the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health collaborated to produce a "virtual" African Dissertation Workshop that took place between May 28 and June 3, 1996. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the workshop was designed to enhance research skills through identifying compelling research questions; formulating significant hypotheses; and developing rigorous, systematic methodological frameworks. Seven faculty members from the two organizing universities and 14 graduate students from various U.S. and Canadian universities worked on the workshop topics for a week without leaving their home towns.

The Workshop was facilitated by the distribution of videotaped lectures and accompanying lecture notes, teleconferences, and workshop web sites with group e-mail. On their own time, participants viewed a total of eight videotapes covering a range of topics regarding the design of research on issues of African population and health. Sets of two videotapes were the subject of group teleconferences led by the faculty who gave the lectures. Internet connections on the Penn African Studies Web site allowed participants to have regular, real-time interaction and gave graduate students access to distinguished scholars in Demography and Public Health.

The two web sites created for the workshop have been left in place as public resources and a base to build on for the future. Check them out at and


African Studies Association

The African Studies Association 39th annual meeting will be held at the Hyatt Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, California, from November 23-26, 1996. Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley are hosting the event. The National Panels Chair for the conference is Toyin Falola of the University of Texas at Austin. The conference theme is The Challenges of Renewal in Africa. For information on the program and registration contact the African Studies Center Web Page (hhtp://

Wharton Executive MBA

Students from the Wharton School's Executive MBA Program will be traveling to South Africa for one week in October. The students, comprising some 100 distinguished executives, selected South Africa as their country of choice for this year's International Seminar, an annual trip to a foreign country to study and observe the economic and business environment. The group will tour South Africa and meet with top government officials and corporate executives to discuss issues related to international business policy and strategy. The seminar takes place during the final semester of the two-year program and caps a curriculum that places great emphasis on global business. The choice of South Africa reflects the opinion of these executive students that the country will play a key role in the business world and regional development.


The Penn African Students Association is opening the year with a potluck dinner on September 22, 1996 at 6:00 p.m. It will be held at the Greenfield Intercultural Center, 3708 Chestnut Street. Please bring a contribution to the potluck.

PASA holds its general meetings on the first Tuesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. The first general meeting will be October 1, 1996, and the second will be November 5, 1996. PASA also organizes a social event each month. PASA is currently planning a formal dinner with CASA and Dessaline. Keep posted for more information. If you have questions, contact Temilayo Okeowo at

Academic Career Conference:

Funding Research

Dr. Rebecca Huss-Ashmore, an Africanist from the Anthropology Department, will participate in a panel entitled Applying for Dissertation and Postdoctoral Fellowships. Dr. Huss-Ashmore will discuss how to write a strong funding application and what funding organizations want to see. The panel, which will meet on September 24, 1996 from 4:15 - 5:15 p.m. on the second floor of Houston Hall, is part of an Academic Career Conference organized by the Career Planning and Placement Center and the Vice Provost for Graduate Education. If you plan to attend or want more information, send a message to or

What's New on the Web

Look in the "What's New" link on the African Studies Web site ( for these and many other current postings:

Great Lakes: New Documents, 8/26/96

New documents available from the UN

Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

Africa: US Aid Decision Nears, 8/27/96

(from the Washington Office on Africa)

The Bank of Ireland Research Fellowship

in Development Studies

Call for Papers: "Social Education"

(Journal issue to focus on Sub-Saharan Africa)

Calendar of Events

September 22, 1996

PASA Potluck Dinner

6:00 p.m.

Greenfield Intercultural Center

3708 Chestnut, University of Pennsylvania

September 24, 1996

Academic Career Conference

Panel on Applying for Dissertation

and Postdoctoral Fellowships

Dr. Rebecca Huss-Ashmore, Africanist panel member

4:15 - 5:15 p.m.

Houston Hall, Second Floor

University of Pennsylvania

October 3, 1996

Meeting for undergraduates interested in

studying abroad in Africa

3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Bennett Hall, Room 328

October 4, 1996

W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices

Louis Massiah presents his 1995 film

7:00 p.m.

International House, 3701 Chestnut St.

The film will also be shown

Oct. 4th at 1:00 p.m.

Oct. 5th at 6:00 p.m. and Oct. 6th at 3:00 p.m.

October 9, 1996

Publishing in African Studies

Janet Rabinowitch, Senior Editor for Africa

Indiana University Press

4:00 p.m.

Williams Hall, Room 421 West

University of Pennsylvania

October 10, 1996

Cannibalism and Class Struggle:

Story-Telling and History Writing on the

Copperbelts of Zaire and Zambia

Luise White, Smithsonian Institution

7:00 p.m.

Kohlberg, Room 115, Swarthmore College

October 24-26, 1996

Across Languages and Cultures: Creative Writing in English by non-Native Speakers

Speakers include Chinua Achebe and Houston Baker

West Chester University, West Chester, PA

(For details, see page 4)

October 25, 1996

The Invisible Continent: US Policy Toward Africa

at the End of the Millennium

Salih Booker

Fellow for Africa Studies

Council of Foreign Relations

Washington, D.C.

12:00 noon

Williams Hall, Room 421 West

University of Pennsylvania

November 2, 1996

The More Things Change: Health and Healing

in East and Southern Africa

Kathleen Ryan

Research Specialist, MASCA

Dr. Rebecca Huss-Ashmore

Penn Anthropology Professor

University of Pennsylvania Museum

33rd and Spruce Streets

$7.50 fee

Call 898-4890 for required preregistration

November 11, 1996

Localizing Modernity

Kwame Anthony Appiah

Harvard University

12:00 - 2:30 p.m.

History Lounge, Room 329A

3401 Walnut St.

University of Pennsylvania

November 15, 1996

Tales of Remembering and Forgetting

Nozipo Maraire

Neurosurgeon and Novelist

Yale University Medical School

12:00 noon

Williams Hall, Room 421 West

University of Pennsylvania

November 17, 1996

Concert in Museum Gallery

African Rhythms

Penn African drum and dance troupe

The troupe performs rhythms and dances from

West Africa, the Caribbean and

South America

2:30 p.m.

University of Pennsylvania Museum

33rd and Spruce Streets

New and Visiting Faculty

Professor Josef William Wegner is a new faculty member at Penn in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. He is Acting Curator of the Egyptian Section, and this fall he is teaching a course in Ancient Egyptian History. Professor Wegner received his doctorate from Penn this Spring with a dissertation entitled An Archaeological Examination of the Senwosret III Mortuary Complex at Abydos. He has published and presented a number of papers, primarily focusing on his archaeological work in Egypt and Nubia.

Dr. Yiwola Awoyale is a visiting researcher at Penn's Linguistic Data Consortium. He is preparing a lexicon base for both a general dictionary of modern Yoruba, as well as a full dictionary of Yoruba ideophones. He is also assisting Professor Mark Liberman in his Linguistic Field Methods class as a consultant on the Yoruba language. He will be at Penn until the end of 1997. His area of specialization in Linguistics is the syntax of language and the application of linguistics to discourse. In addition to the study of ideophones, he has also worked on verb serialization, nominalization, and language policy and planning. Professor Awoyale is on a sabbatical leave from the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria, where he has been Professor and Head of the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages for many years.

Professor James Kimani is a visiting faculty member this semester in the Cell and Developmental Biology Department in Penn's School of Medicine. Professor Kimani will teach Gross Anatomy to the medical school students. He is a professor at the University of Nairobi and Director there of the Student Welfare Authority. Professor Kimani has taught this course at Penn for several years.

Dr. Stephan Miescher is a new faculty member at Bryn Mawr. He is an Assistant Professor whose specialty is West African social history. This semester he co-teaches the Consortium undergraduate Introduction to African Studies with Harvey Glickman of Haverford. He will be receiving his Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University with a dissertation entitled Becoming a Man in Kwawu: Gender, Law and the Construction of Masculinity in Colonial Ghana.

Professor Jurgen W.W. Heinrichs, who is completing a Ph.D. at Yale University, is teaching classes this year at Swarthmore College. This semester he is teaching a course on African-American art and on "primitivism" and modern art; next semester he will teach a course on African art.

Graduate Certificate in African Studies

The African Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania offers a Certificate in African Studies to its MA and Ph.D. students. Participants in the certificate program take a minimum of five Africa-focused courses, including the required seminar in African Studies (AFST 701). Students can pursue a humanities track, a development studies track, a social science track, an African languages track, or an agreed upon combination.

For more information on the program and Africa-focused courses, contact Lynette Loose, the African Studies Program Coordinator, at 898-6971 or

Kwa herini na Karibuni

The African Studies Center at Penn was ably assisted this past year by two graduate students, Edda Fields and Amanda Seidl-Friedman. We greatly appreciated their talent and hard work and wish them all the best in their future endeavors. The Center also welcomes two new graduate assistants. Molly Roth is a fourth-year anthropology student, and Anne Marie Stoner-Eby is a first-year history student. Our new work-study student is Jon Kraybill, a sophomore from Australia.

African Studies Center

Important Names and Numbers

University of Pennsylvania

642 Williams Hall

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

215-898-6971 Fax: 215-573-8130

Director and Staff

Prof. Sandra T. Barnes, Director


Dr. Alwiya Omar, Language Coordinator


Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Outreach Coordinator


Lynette Loose, Program Coordinator


URL for African Studies

World Wide Web:

Dept info:

Internships and Fellowships

The Washington Office on Africa/

Africa Policy Information Center

The WOA has undergraduate internships available for legislative assistant/research assistant positions. Specific intern tasks include: tracking and analyzing Africa-created legislation, sharing information with congressional staff and media outlets, working with coalition partners, researching and drafting background text for upcoming publications, and assisting with community education and grassroots initiatives. Internships are non-paying and are available on a full-time or part-time basis. The application deadline for internships in the spring semester is December 1, 1996. For information contact Vicki Lynn Ferguson, Associate Director for Legislative Affairs, WOA/APIC, Washington, D.C., 202-546-7961, fax: 202-546-1545, or

International Dissertation Field Research Fellowships

The Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies announce a major new initiative in support of field research at the dissertation level. The International Dissertation Field Research Fellowship Program provides support for social scientists and humanists to conduct dissertation field research in all areas and regions of the world. The program will award up to fifty fellowships in 1997.

The Fellowship Program promotes scholarship that treats place and setting in relation to global and transnational phenomena as well as particular histories and cultures. The program operates on the premise that societies and cultures, from isolated villages to entire world regions, are caught up in processes that link them to events, which -- though geographically distant -- are culturally, economically, strategically, or ecologically quite near. At the same time, an integrated understanding of transnational and global phenomena (past and present) cannot be acquired without reference to the numerous specific places which give shape and substance to those larger processes.

The application deadline is December 2, 1996. For further information contact the Social Science Research Council, New York City, 212-377-2700, fax: 212-377-2727,, or

International Predissertation Fellowship Program

The Social Science Research Council and the American Councils of Learned Societies will continue their International Predissertation Fellowship Program established in 1990 to increase the flow of the most talented students of social science into careers in advanced research on the developing world and to encourage departments of social sciences to more effectively promote and facilitate interdisciplinary preparation for research in developing countries.

The program provides an opportunity for the most promising graduate students in discipline-based doctoral programs to pursue training that will prepare them to conduct theoretically sophisticated dissertation research on the developing world that is informed by knowledge of local language, history, and culture.

The application deadline for Penn is January 2, 1997. For further information contact Dean Walter Licht, 16 College Hall or Ellen Perecman, Social Science Research Council, 810 Seventh Avenue, New York, New York, 10019, 212-377-2700, fax: 212-377-2727.

Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Some thirty Fellowships are awarded each year by the Spencer Foundation to support doctoral candidates in a variety of fields whose dissertations promise to contribute fresh perspectives to the history, theory, or practice of education. Although the dissertation topic must concern education, graduate study may be in any discipline.

Requests for required application forms must be received by October 11, 1996, and completed applications must be postmarked by October 23, 1996. For further information, contact Catherine A. Lacey, Program Officer, The Spencer Foundation, 900 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 2800, Chicago, IL 60611-1542, 312-337-7000.

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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