African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships

Through fellowship competitions, regional workshops, and peer networking, the African Humanities Program provides support to the humanities in five African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The centerpiece of the program is the distribution of fellowships to African scholars in these countries for work on dissertations, research projects, and scholarly manuscripts. Postdoctoral awards are listed below; also see dissertation completion awards.The program is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 


Edem Adotey
Edem Adotey  |  Abstract
Boundary studies show continuity in political, economic and social relations between partitioned communities in spite of the boundary. In Nyive and Edzi, two Ewe communities astride the Ghana-Togo boundary, the international boundary has not prevented chiefs from performing recognized chiefly functions across the boundary, thus describing themselves as ‘international chiefs.’ The study examines the centrality of chieftaincy rituals in the reproduction of trans-border ethnic communities. It argues that chieftaincy relationships have changed, specifically from political hegemony to largely ritual practices. Relations have been transformed and reinvigorated through cultural practices and rituals which have sustained a sense of belonging to an Ewe nation that straddles international boundaries.

Research Fellow, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana  -  International Chiefs: Chieftaincy, Identity and Trans-Border Ewe Ethnic Communities on the Ghana-Togo Boundary, Precolonial – Present

Shepherd Mpofu
Shepherd Mpofu  |  Abstract
This qualitative study explores the creative ways which ordinary Zimbabweans use new media to construct national identities that challenge Zanu-Pf 's imaginations of Zimbabweanness. To do this the book highlights two critical aspects in identity construction debates. Firstly, I show how, through the use of state controlled media, Zanu-Pf has constructed and communicated its preferred monolithic version of identity between 2000-2016. Secondly I use the website to illustrate how everyday Zimbabweans have used new media to advance versions of identity that support or rail against the dominant discourses. The book offers a multi-dimensional and critical understanding of the conflictual nature of national identity project during crisis. These debates are explored through national identity and media theories. Methodologically I use interviews, virtual ethnography and textual analysis. Critical Discourse and Historical analysis are used to analyse the data whose core, largely, is to privilege voices of everyday people in salient debates.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Communication Studies, University of Johannesburg  -  Public and Diasporic Online Media and the Discursive Construction of National Identity in Zimbabwe

Chinenye Ogboo Amonyeze
Chinenye Ogboo Amonyeze  |  Abstract
This research examines how several young Nigerian novelists in the diaspora negotiate intersecting sexual desires and identities outside the main stream and in the process transform their works into fictions of cultural purposes. Intersectionality, exemplified by the sampled works of Jude Dibia, Unoma Azuah,Chimamanda Adichie and Chinelo Okparanta, interrogates Nigeria’s heterosexual ideology and substitutes homoerotica as a site of power. The sampled texts are critically read and analyzed through the socio-constructionist theories of Michel Foucault and Queer theory to reveal the link between social hierarchies and the portrayal of sexual identities. The research will evaluate the power model of social stratification and identity construction. It will underscore how Dibia and Azuah’s techniques of ‘showing’ generate concrete sexual reality and highlight the power relationships between culture, law, and religion and knowledge formation.

Lecturer I, Department of Theatre and Film Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka  -  Navigating Intersectionality: Same Sex Desire and Disidentification in Selected Nigerian Fiction

Asante Lucy Mtenje
Asante Lucy Mtenje  |  Abstract
This study investigates the contentious subject of sexualities as represented in fiction from selected Anglophone African countries which, even in the post-independence era, have tended to enforce authoritarian, heteropatriarchal control over citizens' bodies and sexualities. The study explores how contemporary African writers, writing in (or in relation to) repressive contexts, represent uneasy intersections between socio-cultural understandings of sexuality, gender, and desire, entailing varieties of relation such as control, reciprocity, negotiation and resistance. Such ambiguities attest to the complexity of understanding and representing sexualities in Africa, and that fiction, precisely because of its capacity to engage uncertainty, comprises an important mode of mediating repressive socio-political and cultural norms, showing the potential for fiction as a space which engages risky, even taboo, topics. The study argues that through the narrative spaces of fiction, contemporary African authors highlight the tensions and contradictions which shape sexualities, with regimes of sexual knowledge being always in a process of relational negotiation, even in coercive socio-political contexts.

Doctoral Candidate, Department of English, Stellenbosch University  -  Sexing the Subject: Fictional Representations of Sexualities from Authoritarian African Contexts

Joshua Alfred Amuah
Joshua Alfred Amuah  |  Abstract
This study traces the history of Ghanaian art choral music tradition from Ephraim Amu until the present. It examines generational factors in the development of Ghanaian art music; an aspect that has consistently been ignored in Ghanaian musicology. Selected compositions of major Ghanaian composers representing four generational groups will be examined.The study focuses on compositional styles, socio-cultural issues; impact of personal and generational ideologies and idiosyncrasies on composers' creativity as well as audience reception of their works. The study argues that although Western choral music composition tradition with its fixed canons has influenced much of Ghanaian art music, generational modifications and re-interpretations which are reflective of changing socio-historical and cultural realities of the Ghanaian society cannot be undermined. The study is significant for the generational map which it will develop as well as contribute to discourses on continuity and change in the ethnomusicology of contemporary African music.

Senior Lecturer, Department of Music, University of Ghana  -  From Ephraim Amu to Newlove Annan: Generational Factors in Ghanaian Art Choral Music Tradition

Tawanda Mukwende
Tawanda Mukwende  |  Abstract
My research at Khami has debunked long-held narratives that argued for a Great Zimbabwe-origin of Khami (Mukwende 2016). It has now been established that Khami was a local development, most likely related to the Leopard's Kopje. Further, a tentative developmental sequence has been developed that saw the site initially centred around the Hill Complex and later expanding to other areas. However, more work is needed to test these conclusions. This will involve surveying, mapping and excavation of additional areas to collect datasets that will help refine our spatial understanding of the site, develop further the chronology of the site and also provide material culture for comparison with other parts of the site in order to expand perspectives on de-centralised commodity production. Additionally, legacy collections curated in the Zimbabwe Museum of Human Science will be examined, particularly from other Leopard's Kopje sites for comparison with Khami. Overall the research will add clarity to the origins of Khami and refine detail on the organisation of the town and its chronological development.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, South Africa  -  An Archaeological Study of the Zimbabwe Culture Capital of Khami, South-Western Zimbabwe

Foreman Bandama
Foreman Bandama  |  Abstract
This study focuses on pre-colonial gold mining and metallurgy in southern Zimbabwe because of this area relevant to the Iron Age archaeology of southern Africa at large. Key issues to be explored include the antiquity, technology and consumption/distribution of pre-colonial gold in the region. Existing but untested wisdom on this subject comes from research undertaken at regional elite centres that occur outside the gold rich areas. The present study also begins with a systematic study of gold production at the World Heritage site of Great Zimbabwe (this is already on-going) before broadening the area to include the gold-rich Mzingwani catchment area. The latter is home to both pre-colonial and on-going alluvial gold mining. As a critical trade commodity of the pre-colonial period, gold metallurgy is central to Iron Age studies related to the rise of social complexity, long-distance trade and craft technologies in this region.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Archaeology, University of Cape Town, South Africa  -  Pre-colonial Gold Mining and Metallurgy in Southern Africa

Yunusy Castory Ng'umbi
Yunusy Castory Ng'umbi  |  Abstract
Africa as a geo-political space has been experiencing a number of challenges in exercising its autonomy. Among those challenges include the continued civil wars, different forms of instability and their accompanied mayhems such as migration, exile, refugeeism, and fragmentation of the institution of the family. Through such underlying forces, the post-colonial subject is subjected to various intersecting dilemmas in terms of socio-cultural identity. This proposed study, using African feminism and post-colonial framework, aims at examining how literature enters such socio-cultural and political spaces in order to interrogate the dynamics of identity construction in the post-colonial state. In a monograph form that comes from my Ph.D thesis, the study will specifically examine how twenty-first century African women writers from East and West Africa represent the institution of family in a way that challenges their older generation counterparts and Chikwenye Okonjo Ogunyemi's theory of black womanism.

Lecturer, Department of Literature, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Politics of the Family in Contemporary East and West African Womens' Writing in English

Elgidius Ichumbaki Bwinabona
Elgidius Ichumbaki Bwinabona  |  Abstract
A key issue in historical studies that has not been critically examined is what constitutes 'cultural heritage sites'. Archaeologists continue perceiving heritage and monumentality using western concepts paying attention on variables such as scale, visibility, permanence, centrality and ubiquity (Hildebrand 2013). Consequently, some interpretations of 'material remains' at 'cultural heritage sites' remain problematic. The proposed study seeks to go beyond East African coastal structures, focusing on a tree species which, overtime, assumes size regarded as 'monumental'. Using a landscape approach, it investigates the interactions of local communities with baobab trees (Adansonia digitata) from the remote past to modern times in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. The preposition this proposed study intends to make is that, as they grow, sacred baobab trees become monuments, hence, 'living heritage remains.' Particularly, I want to redefine 'cultural heritage sites,' hence, contribute in changing the misconception of heritage and decolonize historical studies in Africa.

Lecturer, Dept. of Archaeology & Heritage Studies, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Heritage and Monumentality in Eastern Africa: an Archaeology of [Baobab] Trees in Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Oliver Nyambi
Oliver Nyambi  |  Abstract
Post-2000 Zimbabwe is marked by heightened hegemonic attempts by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front party to use its liberation struggle credentials to justify the party's exclusive re-construction of liberation as 'the' ultimate site for political legitimacy in Zimbabwe. The memory of the liberation struggle and the political capital it wields in the present is therefore the prerogative of the ruling party. However, this study argues that this conception and (mis)appropriation of liberation for hegemonic ends has of late been contested and problematized in ways that influence our imagining of other, more inclusive notions and experiences of liberation in Zimbabwe. Through a study of political autobiographies by (mainly) former liberation struggle heroes, and informed by the postcolonial theory, the proposed monograph will highlight the importance of alternative memories in re-imagining liberation and its political implications for constructions and de-constructions of power, especially during Zimbabwe's politically tumultous post-2000 period.

Lecturer, Department of English, University of the Free State  -  Versions and Subversions of Liberation: the Political Autobiography in Zimbabwe post-2000

Sewoenam Chachu
Sewoenam Chachu  |  Abstract
Several middle class francophone Africans have migrated to Ghana for economic, political and social reasons. This research project aims at exploring how this category of francophone migrants in Accra, the capital city, manages their language repertoire and the reasons underlying their choices. Several studies in migration have focused on migration outside the African continent (Billiez, 1985; Dustmann, 1999; Haque, 2011). These have mainly been carried out within the domains of sociology, geography and economics with little attention given to the linguistic and sociolinguistic aspects. However, research shows that language plays an important role in the migration process as it contributes to identity, adaptation to a new environment, and even the economic success of the immigrants. In this study, we will explore the language practices of parents and their children and their language choices in the various linguistic spaces (school, work, home, religious and social environments, etc.).

Lecturer, Department of French, University of Ghana  -  Language Practices of Middle Class Francophone Migrants in Accra, Ghana

Tinashe Nyamunda
Tinashe Nyamunda  |  Abstract
My monograph will provide a first sustained examination of colonial Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)’s troubled transition from colony to independent state from a financial history perspective. Fully covered by sterling from 1890, Rhodesia's currency was established in 1966 after its Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) a year before. The rebellious colony then established a post-sterling monetary system to facilitate continued economic activity. In spite of Britain’s punitive financial measures and United Nation (UN) economic sanctions, the colony’s central bank machinery, exchange control regulations and Salisbury inter-ministerial financial co-ordination supported economic development. Zimbabwe attracted global attention in recent history as it recorded the first hyperinflation in the twenty first century and one of the worst in global history. My monograph will examine a key moment in Zimbabwe’s late colonial history in which its decolonisation was crucially shaped by financial and economic arrangements that were ultimately inherited by the post-colonial state.

Postdoctoral Fellow, International Studies Group, University of the Free State  -  Decolonization and African Economic Transitions: The Rhodesian Rebellion, Financial Policy and Exchange Control, 1962 to 1979

Anusa Daimon
Anusa Daimon  |  Abstract
The project explores the making and sustaining of an historically important diasporic community: Malawian migrants, first in Southern Rhodesia and then in Zimbabwe, looking at the roots and continued existence of this enduring but changing; resilient but vulnerable; minority group. The research is organized around experiences and processes of identity articulation, marginalization and agency, within the changing context of regional and national formations. It examines how identity and belonging shapes diasporic experiences and everyday survival/resistance overtime. In the process, it analyses the role that this friable migrant group has played in Zimbabwean socio-economic and political landscape in the past, in order to explain an ever-shifting and critical relationship to the state (both under the colonial white minority rule and post-colonial black majority government), and ordinary Zimbabweans. It also illuminates how the Malawian diaspora made their own history, exerting individual and collective agency against challenges in a foreign space.

Postdoctoral Fellow, International Studies Group, Centre for Africa Studies, University of the Free State  -  Native Aliens: The Malawian Diaspora in Zimbabwe c.1895 to 2008

Stephen Toyin Ogundipe
Stephen Toyin Ogundipe  |  Abstract
This project appraises the tension between the ideal of the Islamic tradition and the commodification of Islamic music in southwestern Nigeria. In the past one decade, Islamic music in this context has experienced dramatic increase in patronage and audience expansion beyond its traditional boundary. This popularity emerged because the entanglement of Christian gospel tunes, hip-hop sound and the re-rendering of indigenous folksongs have become a salient public presence in Islamic music in southwestern Nigeria in recent years. The monograph anticipates the new development as re-articulating a transformation in the social constitution of Islam in southwestern Nigeria.

Lecturer I, Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University  -  Syncretism and the Commodification of Islamic Music in Southwestern Nigeria

Nonhlanhla Dlamini
Nonhlanhla Dlamini  |  Abstract
Expressions of Black masculinities are coerced to transform. This work examines how contemporary black South African novels critique the major sites of dominant masculinities' reproduction, in order to engage in ongoing debates and to offer insights on contemporary South African masculinities’ (re)creation. Not only does this study concern itself with the extent to which core elements of dominant masculinities are being transformed, it maps the trajectories in literary figurations of men, and is interested in the alternative masculine identities that these novels proffer. This works’ search for alternative identities is predicated on the primacy of a symbiotic relationship between strategies of self-re-presentation, personal agency and the power of social structures. It suggests that the central codes of dominant black masculinities are forced to change because their legitimising narratives are put under scrutiny. However, the structural and economic conditions under which these masculinities are situated yield to frustrated masculinities or masculinity interregnum.

Postdoctoral Fellow, The Humanities Postgraduate Centre, University of Johannesburg  -  Contemporary Masculinities Black South African Novels

Abayomi Oluseyi Ogunsanya
Abayomi Oluseyi Ogunsanya  |  Abstract
The study focuses on the processes and nature of media flows and consumption among Hausa migrants in Sabo locations in southwestern part of Nigeria as part of what I regard as ‘place-making strategies’ and the production of Hausa ethnic-religious identity in a diasporic context. My work interrogates in part Hausa identity in southwestern Nigeria and how this idea is fostered by the flow and consumption of such media artifacts as Kannywood movies, Hausa music CDs/VCDs/DVDs, recorded tafsir (Qu’ranic exegesies), published narratives (novels, plays, poems), and Hausa programmes aired on portable radio. The study demonstrates, a là Kiliçkiran (2003), that people who are physically separated from places they know as ‘home’ have a profound desire to re-create a home-place (called place-making) in order to produce a distinct cultural diaspora, and that the flow and consumption of media artifacts play a pivotal role in this. The study is based on ethnographic fieldwork.

Research Fellow, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan  -  Media Flows, Media Consumption and the Production of Cultural Diaspora Among Hausa Migrants in Southwestern Nigeria

Thembani Dube
Thembani Dube  |  Abstract
This project seeks to examine the intricate processes of identity formation, struggles and shifts over two centuries in the southwestern parts of Zimbabwe. It seeks to engage with various forms of Kalanga precolonial identities such as religion, language, chieftaincy and material culture, which shaped and crafted Kalanga ethnic identity between 1800 and 2015. It argues that the Kalanga were one of the early inhabitants of the Southwestern parts of Zimbabwe, although their identities were multiple, flexible and dynamic. The project will argue that the interpretation and construction of a Kalanga ethnic identity was made possible by various actors such as chiefs, colonial rulers, Kalanga elites and the ordinary men and women. The project will further reveal how intriguing historical factors led to shifts in Kalanga identities after the arrival of missionaries and colonial officials on the Zimbabwean plateau. This project is to be developed into a book manuscript and empirical evidence will be drawn from a historical research and triangulation of archival research, interviews and secondary sources. The project contributes in understanding how identities are formed, articulated sustained, challenged and change overtime.

Lecturer, History Department, University of Witwatersrand  -  Struggles for Self-identification Amongst the Kalanga of Zimbabwe: The (Re)construction and Transformation of the Kalanga, 1800 to 2015

Rogers Orock
Rogers Orock  |  Abstract
The proposed project focuses on elites in Cameroon and Gabon, two countries in West/Central Africa that were formerly part of the French colonial empire, to explore Freemasonry as an object of popular suspicion against elites in Francophone Africa. It will explore these elites as objects of popular anxiety and suspicion over their presumed affiliations with Freemasonry, a global esoteric secret society. Elites in these settings are scrutinized socially and politically through discourses and practices associated with transparency-making (journalistic work, digital “leakings”, rumor, gossip, etc.) to show them to be dangerous agents of an illegitimate, globally dark and secretive power structure (Freemasonry) that constitutes a “para-state”, a state within states. Examining the specific trajectories of elite suspicion in these Francophone African settings will show how they resonate with and differ from the current global anxiety over elite power and conspiracy theorizing against elites.

Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Witwatersrand  -  Enchanting Politics: Elites, Freemasonry and Conspiracy Theories in French Central Africa

George Kodie Frimpong
George Kodie Frimpong  |  Abstract
The interface between register and dialectal variation has received little scholarly attention. Using parallel corpus data (ICE Ghana and ICE Great Britain) I intend to investigate aspects of the language of eight registers/genres with the hope of uncovering what functional impetus influences grammatical choices across native and non-native varieties of English. The central argument of register theory is that "speakers using the same register are doing similar communicative tasks; therefore in most basic respects the characteristic language features used in a given situation are similar across speakers from different dialects" (Biber & Conrad 2009: 12). Using the two frameworks of register theory by Biber & Conrad (2009) and Halliday & Matthiessen (2004); the dynamic model of Schneider (2003; 2007) and the ideational metafunction of systemic functional linguistics, I explore the functional motivation behind the distribution of sentence and clause patterns; the structure of the noun phrase and transitivity patterns across the registers.

Lecturer, Department of English, University of Ghana  -  Functional Investigation of Registers Across Genres from Native and Non-Native Contexts

Annel Helena Pieterse
Annel Helena Pieterse  |  Abstract
In South African communities, belief in and engagement with the supernatural often subtend the ways in which people interact with the phenomenal world and, socially, with each other. This “occult cosmology” thus emerges as a powerful organising principle in South African society. Moving away from a persistent tendency to reduce the occult to a form of “tradition” and “superstition,” this research builds on established work that shows how animist worldviews and autochthonous networks of meaning comfortably exist in tandem with the fruits of modernity. The occult, as a knowledge paradigm with its own logic, inhabits and sometimes exceeds the forms that seek to contain and represent it. The current research thus seeks to explore how these issues are mapped in examples from South African literature, television and film, media and jurisprudence.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of English, University of the Western Cape  -  Texts Bewitched: Reading the Supernatural in South Africa

Elizabeth Kilines Sekwiha Gwajima
Elizabeth Kilines Sekwiha Gwajima  |  Abstract
This study examines the Zanzibarian myths as a branch of oral prose in relation to the twenty first century’s Indian Ocean link. The study argues that, the ancient influence of the Indian Ocean to Zanzibarian oral literature might have changed due to the forged new interactions between Africa and Asia, hence, the need to examine and document them. By studying the oral myths, we embark on a search of realizing the meaning contained in the myths and discover our collective philosophy of life and the way we view the world as a people. This is a qualitative study that will employ interviews to collect myths and get people's views about the myths. Library and archival data will also be used. Findings are expected to generate insights related to new imaginaries of the Indian Ocean, interrogate historical and current issues related to Africa-Asia relations and establish the cultural link between Africa and Asia.

Lecturer, Department of Literature, University of Dar es Salaam  -  Zanzibarian Myths in Oral Literature and the Indian Ocean Complex

Emmanuel Saboro
Emmanuel Saboro  |  Abstract
The aim of the project is to produce a monograph from my PhD dissertation which explores Memories of the Slave Experience in Ghanaian Folklore and focuses on late nineteenth century internal slave trafficking. Although previous studies on memories of the slave trade in Ghana have been rich and insightful, these studies have often relied on the use of conventional historical methodology such as shipping records, missionary and traveler accounts and the perspectives of colonial officials often ignoring the experiences of the descendants of those who were mostly considered as victims of the slave experience. Drawing largely from fieldwork through the recording of songs and traditonal performances within two communties in northern Ghana: the Bulsa and Kasena, this project, by contrast adopts an interdisciplinary approach and engages with the oral tradition and aims at shifting the focus from the use of only written sources as a basis for continual reflection and reconstructing memories of the slave experience in Ghana.

Lecturer, Department of English, University of Cape Coast  -  Memories of the Slave Expereince in Ghanaian Folklore

Mehitabel Iqani
Mehitabel Iqani  |  Abstract
The proposed research project for this fellowship aims to explore the cultural politics of the marketing of high-end luxury consumer goods (many of which are designed, if not also produced, in Europe) in African markets. The research will seek to understand how luxury European brands perceive African markets and to critically analyze their marketing approaches on the continent. This work will be done in order to gain deeper insight into certain practices of media production, to contribute to more nuanced theories of aspiration and consumption in Africa, and to explore the links and tensions with these ideas and more “traditional” research on African political-economies and cultures.

Associate Professor, Media Studies, University of Witwatersrand  -  Luxury Consumption in Africa: Aesthetics, Markets and Politics

Musa Sadock
Musa Sadock  |  Abstract
This study examines the Mbozi society`s responses to the plight of marginal groups attributed to HIV/AIDS for the past three decades. The groups in question include: people suffering from and or living with HIV/AIDS, AIDS related widows and orphans, and the elderly caring AIDS orphans. Rather than focusing synchronically on the responses from the international community, government and Non-governmental organizations as has been done by many studies, this study concentrates on the ordinary people`s responses at the grass-root level. It argues that human beings have agency and coping abilities to the plight. By drawing on documents and interviews of people at the grass-root level, this study not only brings to the fore the voices of the marginalized and people`s agency and resilience in the context of HIV/AIDS pandemic but it also adds to the growing body of knowledge on social exclusion in Tanzania in particular and Africa as a whole.

Lecturer, Department of History, University of Dar es Salaam  -  HIV/AIDS and Social Exclusion in Mbozi District, Tanzania 1980s to 2016

Sharlene Khan
Sharlene Khan  |  Abstract
My research engages the notion of ‘postcolonial masquerading’ in the South African visual arts as a creative strategy where the donning of costumes and enactment of characters can be used to contest social categorisations and boundaries. I aim to understand why so many artists are drawn to this visual strategy and the potentials for critique (‘play’/critical pleasure) that it offers them by looking at South African women-of-colour visual artists employing masquerading practices. I also note problems that are manifesting in postcolonial masquerading particularly with the re-emergence of the blackface stereotype in South African visual arts and popular culture.

Senior Lecturer, School of Fine Art, Rhodes University  -  Masquerading as a South African Postcolonial Visual Arts Strategy Post-1994

Daines Sanga
Daines Sanga  |  Abstract
At present, there is a new custom of young people reconstructing Tanzanian ngoma performances by borrowing from different sources within and outside Tanzania. This new trend is perceived by the elderly generation as nothing other than an act of damaging ngoma which have been preserved by our ancestors for decades. Using the concept of third space coined by Homi Bhabha in (1994) and the concept of cultural identity, the study examines how Tanzanian youth use ngoma to gain a space as active producers of ngoma performances and how this assists them to create a sense of place in their country.

Lecturer, Department of Creative Arts, University of Dar es Salaam  -  The Struggle for Space: Youth Participation in 'Ngoma' in Globalizing Tanzania

Jimam Timchang Lar
Jimam Timchang Lar  |  Abstract
The African post-colonial state has largely retained colonially-created boundaries and has been policing them using various state and non-state actors to ensure compliance and security. However mobility across the borders using official and non-official channels has continued to flourish showing Africans’ resistance to the modern state borders. This project examines the construction of order and security on the Nigerian-Nigerien borderlands in the period of neoliberal reforms (1986-the present) in the context of plural policing. The project will innovatively highlight historical, contemporary, and emerging tensions between the states’ and their need to provide security and the peoples’ and their need to continuously and freely move across the borderlands. The emphasis of the study will be on the provision and maintenance of security in the borderlands and across the borders. I will also attempt a systematic linking of different scales; the ‘local’, ‘national’ and ‘sub-regional’ are explored not as differing poles but rather as the intersections of connectedness. Drawing on the historical context and studying the contemporary dynamics of the tension between security and mobility will provide us with relevant insight on how visions of the borderland and borders are changing, or being re-constituted.

Lecturer, Department of History and International Studies, University of Jos  -  Plural Policing,Trans-Border Security, and Mobility on the Nigerian-Nigerien Frontier in the Neoliberal era (1986 to the present)

Samaila Suleiman
Samaila Suleiman  |  Abstract
The proposed book project advances a new reading of the making of history in postcolonial Nigeria – conceived as a complex knowledge-policy regime encompassing the National Archives, National Universities Commission and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments. I see this as a “history machine” through which the Nigerian state regulates the discursive parameters of local histories outside the exclusive control of professional historians. Deploying archival and museum ethnography and in-depth interviews with policymakers, historians, archivists, archaeologists and publishers, the publication will reveal how the Nigerian history machine, initially designed to produce a national meta-narrative, broke down into a multitude of ethnic and regional counterdiscourses, animated by politics of marginality and resentment. The project focuses on the Middle Belt region where a group of local intelligentsia produces "dissident histories" to reassert the significance of ethnic minorities and reclaim their discursive agency against the hegemony of the Nigerian history machine.

Lecturer I, Department of History, Bayero University Kano, Nigeria  -  Policing Local Histories: The Nigerian History Machine and the Production of Middle Belt Historiography

Godfrey Maringira
Godfrey Maringira  |  Abstract
While scholars have presented the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) war as 'Africa 's Great War' (Prunier, 2009), in which soldiers emerged as perpetrators of violence (Baaz & Stern, 2013), there has been little focus on soldiers as victims of and in the same war in which they were deployed. Hence this book manuscript focuses on the ways in which Congolese soldiers (as local forces) and Zimbabwean soldiers (as intervening forces) became victims of the war in which they fought in. The book manuscript will reveal that soldiers were not mere 'killing machine', but they lacked food, combat clothing, logistical support, and witnessed the death of their compatriots in the war trenches., burying them in shallow graves. The book manuscript will draw on an ethnography of war, i.e. observations on, and conversations with fellow soldiers at a time when the author was a soldier deployed in the DRC war. In addition, life story interviews and focus group discussions were employed to gather data among former Congolese and Zimbabwean soldiers living in South Africa.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology & Sociology, University of the Western Cape  -  Soldiers as Victims of War: Congolese and Zimbabawean Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (1998 to 2002)

Rebecca Swartz
Rebecca Swartz  |  Abstract
The proposed monograph argues that schooling and education were foundational in constructing racial difference in the British colonies. Rooted in in-depth Southern African archival research, used in comparison with other colonial cases, the book argues that schools were sites of contact between different groups, including Indigenous people, missionaries, colonial officials and interested researchers. Schools were used to ‘discover’ Indigenous people: to find out about racial difference and examine the effects of colonial encounters on Indigenous people. Schools were also sites of ‘humanitarian’ interventions. They were places in which Indigenous children could be remoulded into imperial subjects - through exposing them to correct regime of Christianity, civilisation and labour. The book indicates the utility of studying histories of education to deepen understandings of race, labour and gender as they related to life stage.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Historical Studies, Stellenbosch University  -  Colonial Education in the British Empire, 1830 to 1880

Zintombizethu Zethu Matebeni
Zintombizethu Zethu Matebeni  |  Abstract
It is often understood that sexual and gender non-conformity are foreign to Africa, to the extent that popular notions such as 'homosexuality is unAfrican' even go unchallenged. The claims that Africa is heteronormative, and that discourses of non-heteronormativity and non-conformity are Western (European and North-American) should both be challenged. This project aims to address these discourses, not necessarily to prove/disprove their merits, rather to resurface ways of being and speaking about gender and sexual non-conformity in Southern Africa. At the same time, new terms are developing, many being brought into popular discourses by cultural activists or practictioners. ?In South Africa alone, the project tracks at least five vernacular terms that are no longer in circulation (mainly because of language loss, or influence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (lgbt) discourses) and investigates the underlying meanings of these terms and how they were made use of in earlier times, as well as the ways in which they speak to current terms. Through oral histories, popular culture, interviews and archival research this project tracks vernacular terms of gender and sexual non-conformity and returns them to everyday discourses.

Senior Researcher, Insitute for Humanities in Africa, University of Cape Town, South Africa  -  TALASI: Queer Vernaculars of Non-Conformity in Southern Africa

David Ekanem Udoinwang
David Ekanem Udoinwang  |  Abstract
The autobiographical form of literature in Africa serves as a useful medium for re-creating memories of African past towards explaining the postcolonial reality. However, little attention has been given to the autobiographies of participants in African liberation struggles. This study investigates the strategies by which nationalist autobiographers vividly capture colonial domination and its effects on African societies. Nine autobiographies by leaders of liberation struggles, including Nkrumah’s, Odinga’s and Mandela’s, which portray the oppression and abuses of colonial rule and African responses to them, are read critically and analysed. Through ‘eye-witness’ narrative device, the texts portray concrete illustrations of European appropriation of African resources and acts of provocation, racism, segregation and abuse of human rights to show the negative effects of colonialism on African societies. This study will highlight nationalist autobiographies as a powerful tool for re-memorialising the experiences and the adverse effects of colonialism on African societies.

Lecturer II, Department of English, Akwa Ibom State University  -  Anglophone African Autobiographies on National Liberation Struggles and the Memories of Colonial Experience

Khwezi Mkhize
Khwezi Mkhize  |  Abstract
A Home Made Empire will the first book length study on South Africa that places empire at the center of the recovery of intellectual, literary and political practice in South Africa. By focusing primarily on the period between the 1880s and the 1930s I argue that the form of nation-state that South Africa inherited in 1910 is one that extended forms of empire and imperial rule. I argue that in during this period South Africa became an empire within an empire. Black political actors and intellectuals, often these processes were bound up with each other, were operating out of this matrix and as such I take seriously the importance of British imperial liberalism in their engagements with colonialism. The project begins to re-imagine how we think about South Africa’s colonial pasts and gestures towards different horizons of interpretation other than (though not against) Apartheid and to work with alternative archives and historical frameworks for making sense of colonialism and its contestation.

Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature, University of Cape Town, South Africa  -  A Home Made Empire: South Africa and the Imperium Before World War II

Chidi Ugwu
Chidi Ugwu  |  Abstract
Filiation is a sphere in which culture greatly outflanks biology. Across the Igbo culture area, southeast Nigeria, custom may confer paternity of a child on a person that did not actually sire the child. Only one Igbo community, Enugwu-Ezike, is on record as having a filiation custom that is exclusively biological. This difference is what excited my curiosity about that village group’s kinship system. Besides, studies that recorded such exclusively biological filiation procedure elsewhere did not analyze how this might shape other aspects of the kinship system. This ethnography is designed to explore the filiation custom of the Enugwu-Ezike, aiming to determe: how their filiation procedure affects other aspects of their kinship system; why and how their filiation procedure came to differ from the general Igbo pattern which is largely socially constructed; and the place of their filiation custom within contemporary nation-state realities, in terms of prospects of change and/or continuity.

Lecturer II, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka  -  “We do not Father another’s Child”: An Exceptional Filiation Practice among the Igbo of Southeast Nigeria: The Enugwu-Ezike Village Group

Susana Molins Lliteras
Susana Molins Lliteras  |  Abstract
This project aims to transform my dissertation entitled “ ‘Africa starts in the Pyrenees:’ The Fondo Kati, between al-Andalus and Timbuktu,” into a monograph book, which has already been accepted for publication by the prestigious German academic publisher, De Gruyter. The dissertation presents a biography of the Fondo Kati archive, a private family library from Timbuktu that has positioned itself apart from other libraries due to its claim to a unique historical heritage linked to al-Andalus and present-day Spain. It is built upon two cornerstones: the genealogical project—the claim to uninterrupted “originally” Spanish ancestry for the Kati family—and the project of the marginalia—the archive as a family collection, built by generations of family members.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Historical Studies Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa  -  Africa Starts in the Pyrenees: The Fondo Kati, Between al-Andalus and Timbuktu