Penn African Studies Newsletter, Vol.1, No.1

Penn African Studies Newsletter, Sept./Oct./'95

African Studies Consortion Presents Third Annual Workshop "Circulations in African Culture"

On Friday, October 6, the African Studies Center will hold its Third Annual Workshop entitled "Circulations in African Culture." The workshop will run from 8:30am to 6pm in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall at the University of Pennsylvania. A roundtable discussion on the "Relation Between African Studies and African Studies" will be featured from 4pm to 6pm.

Scholars from the African Studies Consortium of Bryn Mawr , Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges and the University of Pennsylvania will attend. In addition, Africanists from Columbia, Temple, Loyola, Johns Hopkins, Boston, Bucknell. Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences, Franklin and Marshall, Penn. State, and SUNY Binghamton are scheduled to participate in panels.

A buffet lunch will be available for workshop participants during the noon break in Bodek Lounge. For lunch reservations, interested participants should secure a registration form from the African Studies Office and bring a check for $10 by September 29. The African Studies Center is also making dinner reservations at a local restaurant for participants who wish to socialize after the workshop. For dinner reservations, interested participants should also secure a reservation form from the African Studies Center.

8:30 - 9:45 am
The Political Economy of Gender and Work

"The World Bank's Fundamental Conception about Sub-Saharan Africa"
Sayre Schatz (Columbia University and Temple University)

"The Cost of Doing Business: Urban Women Micro-entrepreneurs and Adjustment in Zimbabwe"
Mary Osirim (Bryn Mawr College)

Discussant: Kate Crehan (New School)
Chair: Lee Cassanelli (University of Pennsylvania)

10:00 - 12 noon
The Limits of Order and Disorder

"Eating People: The Right to Dispose"
Achille Mbembe (University of Pennsylvania)

"Guerrilla and Government Struggles in Postwar Zimbabwe: State and Nation Formation"
Norma Kriger (Johns Hopkins University)

"The Breakdown and Restoration of Order in the African State: The Example of Angola"
Marilyn Silberfei (Temple University)

"Running Circles in the Courts? Never Ending Court Cases in Western Uganda"
Simon Heck (Boston University)

"Pushing the Limits for Profit: Zairian and Congolese in International Trade"
Janet MacGaffey (Bucknell University)

Modernity Inside Out: The Reordering of 'Tradition' in Yoruba Historiography"
Rick Shain (Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences)

Discussant: Tom Callaghy (University of Pennsylvania)
Chair: (Alwiya Omar (University of Pennsylvania)

1:00 - 2:30 pm
Circulations in Popular, Official, and Commercial Culture

"Fires, Tricksters and Poisoned Medicines: Popular Cultures of Rumor in Onitsha, Nigeria, and Its Markets"
Misty Bastian (Franklin and Marshall College)

"The Morality of Enslavement: Conflict Over the Export Slave Trade in Central Madagascar, 1785"
Pier Larson (Pennsylvania State University)

"So All May See What She Has Done at Night: Gender Politics and Photographic Gazes in Eastern Zambian Witchfinding"
Mark Auslander (Haverford College)

"Advertisements as the Intersection of Popular and Official Cultures: The Production of Multiple Modernities in Zimbabwe"
Timothy Burke (Swarthmore College)

Discussant: Steve Feierman (University of Pennsylvania)
Chair: Linda-Susan Beard (Bryn Mawr College)

2:30 - 3:45 pm
Literary and Symbolic Explorations of Aesthetic Experience

"Sensory Valuation in Anlo-Ewe Aesthetic Practices"
Kathryn Geurts (University of Pennsylvania)

"Henri Lopes' Le Pleurer-Rire: Post-Colonial and Post-Modern Novel"
Koffi Anyineta (Haverford College)

"A Writer Dies in the Congo: Ambiguous Tributes to Sony Labou Tansi"
Lydie Moudileno (University of Pennsylvania)

Discussant: Mildred Mortimer (University of Colorado)
Chair: Micheline Rice-Maximin (Swarthmore College)


4:00 - 6:00 pm
The Relation Between African Studies and Diaspora Studies

Participants: Isidore Okpewho (SUNY - Binghamton)
Houston Baker (University of Pennsylvania)
John Roberts (University of Pennsylvania)

Chair: Antonio McDaniel (a.k.a. Tukufu Zuberi)

African Studies Welcomes New Faculty

Prof. Steven Feierman joins Penn this fall with a joint appointment in History and Sociology of Science and History Departments. He comes to Penn from the University of Florida where he taught for six years and helped to build a graduate African history program and, earlier, the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he was a faculty member for over 20 years and supervised more than 25 Ph. D. committees. Almost all of his students are currently teaching at universities in the US and Africa. Feierman is a pioneer in using oral traditions and anthropological methods to re-construct the stories of peoples who left few written documents and who were spoken for and about in colonial documents. He has numerous publications, including The Shaamba Kingdom, Peasant Intellectuals and The Social Basis of Health and Healing on his major research interests of historical anthropology in northern Tanzania with emphasis on ritual, health and politics.

He earned a Ph. D. in African history from Northwestern University and a D. Phil. in Social Anthropology from Oxford University. With his appointment, the History and Sociology of Science Department will expand to include study of Africa and the History Department will expand its African history program. This semester, Feierman is teaching a graduate seminar on the social history of Africa. In the spring of 1996, he plans to teach an undergraduate course on health and healing in African history and an undergraduate seminar on women's resistance in colonial Africa.

Prof. Kwame Gyeke comes to Penn's Philosophy Department after more than 25 years as a faculty member and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ghana. He has also held several visiting professorships in the US at Howard University, the University of Florida and Temple University and a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Gyeke earned a B.A. in history from the University of Ghana. He earned both his MA and Ph. D. from Harvard University in Graeco-Arabic Philosophy. Since high school, he has been a scholar of Greek and Latin classics. He has written two books and many articles on Arabic philosophy and logic. For the past 20 or so years, Gyeke has concentrated his research on African philosophical thought. In 1987, Cambridge University Press published his book, An Essay on African Philosophical Thought. In 1995, Temple University published a revised of this book with a new introduction. His latest work, Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the African Experience is expected in 1996.

This semester, Gyeke is teaching two courses on African philosophical thought. In the spring, he plans to teach a course entitled "African Social and Moral Thought" and a seminar entitled "Ethnicity, Identity and Nationhood."

Dr. Alwiya S. Omar is coordinating the African Language Program this year and teaching Kiswahili. She comes to Penn from the University of Georgia, where she was a visiting professor in the Department of Comparative Literature, and Indiana University where she earned a Ph.D. in Linguistics in 1992. In addition to teaching for many years at Indiana, Omar has also taught at the University of Dar-es-Salaam in her homeland of Tanzania, at Kalamazoo College and in Madagascar and Grande Comore.

Omar's research interests include Kiswahili pragmatics, syntax, and second language acquisition. She has published numerous articles ranging from a recent essay entitled, "A Zanzibar's Woman's Realization of Her Mother's Dream," to "Conversational Closings in Kiswahili: The Performance of Native and Non-native speakers." An experienced workshop organizing, she is currently organizing teaching workshops for Penn's African language tutors, and developing skills for more effective proficiency testing.

Visiting Faculty

Dr. Moussa Bamba
Department of Linguistics
Dr. Laura Downing
Department of Linguistics
Dr. Dan Izevbaye
Department of Linguistics
(Spring Semester)
Dr. Alfred Kiema
Department of Folklore and Folklife and Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture
(Spring Semester)

African Studies Welcomes New Staff

Edda Fields, research assistant, is a graduate student in history.

Amanda Seidl, research assistant, is a graduate student in anthropology.

Eric Teinou, work study, is an undergraduate student majoring in economics and international relations with a minor in African studies.

Upcoming Events in African Studies...

October 6, 1995-
Third Annual Workshop: "Circulations in African Culture"
Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall, University of Pennsylvania
8:30 am - 6:00 pm

October 13, 1995-
Lecture Series: "A Rwandan Refugee in Zaire: The Long Road Home"
John Janzen, Department of Anthropology, University of Kansas
420 Williams Hall, University of Pennsylvania
noon - 1:30pm
1:30 - lunch with speaker (all are invited)

October 20, 1995-
Lecture Series: "Evaluating Tradition"
Kwame Gyeke, Visiting Professor, Department Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania and former Dean of Arts, University of Ghana
420 Williams Hall, University of Pennsylvania
noon - 1:30 pm

October 27, 1995-
African Studies Reception
location TBA

November 10, 1995-
Lecture Series: "When You Have Nothing to Eat, You Cannot Go Into a Party: Re-Examining Multipartyism in Africa in the 1990s"
Gretchen Bauer, Department of Political Science, University of Delaware
20 Williams Hall, University of Pennsylvania
noon - 1:30 pm
1:30- lunch with speaker (all are invited)

December 1, 1995-
Lecture Series: "The Passions and the Interests: The Synergies of Economic and Political Change in Tanzania"
Tom Callaghy, Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
420 Williams Hall, University of Pennsylvania
noon - 1:30 pm

Learning African Languages at University of Pennsylvania

This academic year the African Studies Center in conjunction with the Penn Language Center is offering courses in Kiswahili, Yoruba and Amharic and tutorials in Bambara, Mende, Oshiwambo, Shona, and Twi.

The African Studies Center welcomes language tutors for the 1995-6 academic year: Rev. Kobina Ofosu Donkoh teaching Twi, Mrs. Angela Jengo teaching Mende, Dr. Ben Shipanga teaching Oshiwambo, and Mr. Amson Sibanda teaching Shona.

African languages taught at the University of Pennsylvania fall under two categories: regular courses and tutorials. Regular Courses usually include Kiswahili, Yoruba, Amharic, and Hausa. Students must register in the Fall to be able to continue to the next level in the Spring semester. For the tutorials, students can register in the Fall or in the Spring semesters. Interested students need to inform the African Language Coordinator, the African Studies Center or the Penn Language Center, a semester in advance of their intent to enroll in a particular tutorial. The African languages and tutorials are cross-listed under Linguistics (LING), African Studies (AFST), Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES), and African American Studies (AFAM).

The study of African languages includes a cultural component. Students are exposed to African traditions and customs through video viewing, interacting with native speaking instructors and attending discussions about Africa given by scholars of Africa. Each semester students also participate in a cultural awareness event which includes social and cultural presentations, African music and African food. The date for this event will be scheduled and announced later this fall.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Alwiya S. Omar Ms. Lada Vassilieva
African Language Coordinator Assistant Director
Department of Linguistics Penn Language Center
619 Williams Hall 413 Lauder Fischer Hall
898-4229 898-6039
Ms. Lynette Loose
Program Coordinator
African Studies Center
642 Williams Hall

African Studies Offers Certificate Program for Graduate Students

A Certificate Program in African Studies for MA and Ph.D. students is now in place. Participants in the certificate program take a minimum of five (5) Africa-focused courses. Students can pursue a humanities track, a development studies track, a social science track. an African languages track, or an agreed upon combination. All students interested in the certificate program must contact the African Studies Program Coordinator, Lynette Loose, 642 Williams Hall (Telephone: 898-6971), who will then register them in the program, and professor Sandra Barnes (898-6989) who will assign them a faculty advisor. The faculty advisor will be responsible for determining completion of the certificate requirements.

Undergraduate Majors and Minors in African Studies

The African Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania offers both Undergraduate majors and minors. Undergraduate majors are required to take a minimum of sixteen (16 c.u.) course units. The requirements include an Introduction to African Studies Pro-Seminar (1 c.u.), a sequence of two years of an African language (4 c.u.) which also fulfills the undergraduate language requirement and an additional ten (10 c.u.) Africa-focused or Africa-related courses with either a humanities or social sciences emphasis or a combination of the two.

Undergraduate minors are required to take a minimum of seven (7 c.u.) course units which also includes an Introduction to African Studies Pro-Seminar and six (6 c.u.) Africa-focused or Africa- related courses which emphasize the humanities, the social sciences or a combination. Undergraduate minors also have the option to write a senior thesis under the supervision of an African Studies faculty member.

Undergraduates may apply at any time, including the beginning of their freshmen year, for a major and minor in African Studies. Interested candidates should make an appointment with the Undergraduate Chair of the African Studies Center who will select a faculty advisor according to the student's specific interests. Applications, program information and curriculum advice is available during regular office hours at the African Studies Center, 642 Williams Hall, or by calling 215-898- 6971 (or E-mail: for an appointment.

World Wide Web

The African Studies World Wide Web is the largest on-lone source of African resources on the Internet. The African Studies Web pages include articles and papers, audio-visual resources, bibliography books on-line, conferences and current events, government and political documents, grants and fellowships, job and travel opportunities, multi-media archives, and detailed information for each African country.

You can access the African Studies Web by using a web browser, such as Netscape, Mosaic, or MacWeb, or by using "Lynx" which will allow you to view the Web in a text-format only. After running Netscape, try the following steps:

1. Go to "File" menu and choose "Open Location."
To get to the African Studies WWW Home Page, type the following URL into the pop-up box: Studies/AS.html
2. Go to "Bookmarks" menu and "add" the African Studies Hope Page to Bookmarks. You can then return to the African Studies Home Page in the future without needing to remember the URL address.


The African Studies listserver is the most convenient and cost effective manner to notify faculty, students, and the Africanist community of upcoming events. If you have an e-mail account and have not yet subscribed to the listserver, please do so immediately.

To subscribe:
* Send an e-mail to:
* (leave subject line blank)
* In the body of the e-mail type: subscribe Africa-1 (then your e-mail address)

... be sure to check new bulletin boards in the African Studies Center
for research and fellowship opportunities and
course offerings and upcoming events.




642 Williams Hall
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Telephone: 215-898-6971


if you have any...questions, comments, complaints, compliments, suggestions or submissions for the newsletter, please direct them to Edda Fields in the African Studies Center, 642 Williams Hall, 898- 6971 or by e-mail at

African Studies Center Staff

Prof. Sandra T. Barnes, Director
Lynette Loose, Program Coordinator
Ali Ali-Dinar, Outreach Coordinator
Aliwiya Omar, Language Coordinator
Edda Fields, Research Assistant
Amanda Seidl, Research Assistant
Eric Teinou, Work Study


Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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