From the Secretary of the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP)

Africa in Transition: Governance, Society and Culture
Call for Papers
The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) cal ls for proposals for preorganized panels, roundtables, thematic conversations and individual papers for its 41st annual meeting to be held at UNSW, Sydney from November 21st to November 23rd 2018.

AFSAAP invites ‘papers that engage with, but are not limited to, the theme: Africa in Transition:Governance, Society and Culture. As always, we bring together scholars working in different disciplines. We invite participants to contribute theoretically innovative and empirically grounded papers, panels and presentations that enhance our understanding of these issues. Though the central focus will be on this broader theme, we also welcome contributions on other topics that consider Africa, or Africa/Australia/Pacific relations and Africans in the region.’

‘Abstracts of proposed papers, panels and roundtables should be sent by July 1st, 2018 to Dr. Anne Bartlett, International Studies, Morven Brown 230, UNSW, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia. Email:
A preliminary program will be announced by August 1st, 2018. Late
proposals for papers will be considered only if space is available. All proposals will be peer reviewed by the program committee. Registration and conference fees must be paid before presenters will beplaced in the formal conference program.’
Please check the AFSAAP website for more details:




14th FEBRUARY 2018

Panel 3d – Should Australian ODA re-engage in Africa?

Sally Moyle, CARE Australia

Fessehaie Abraham, Crawford School ANU
» view presentation  ( This can also be seen as an Appendix to his submission to the Senate Inquiry )

Bob McMullen of the Crawford School presented the introduction to the session, asking whether the 21st would be the African Century ? He said that If the aim of aid is to alleviate poverty, then aid has to go where poverty is, that is Africa. Australia stresses the importance of giving aid to ‘our region’. But how then does Mongolia qualify as being in ‘our region’ ?

There were a number of points that secured widespread agreement in the general discussion which followed: (1) Australia should only increase aid to Africa IF the overall size of the aid budget increases. (2) There are already too many European aid donors to Africa resulting in piecemeal aid. (3) Australia should only give aid in sectors where we have special expertise such as mining regulation and some areas of agriculture where ACIAR should lead the way. (4) Scholarships to Africa are a good form of aid and build expertise and important people-to people links.

The only people who spoke in favour of giving a larger share of the existing Australian aid pie to Africa were the Africans who commented, and  Professor Helen Ware who favoured reducing aid to the Pacific, which receives the highest per capita aid by several multiples, and of diverting the savings to assisting to reduce the harmful impacts of mining and to increasing agricultural outputs in dry land areas where Australia has specialised expertise in low technology improvements.


Why There is No Such Thing as Institutionless Politics: Lessons From Africa

ANU School of Politics & International Relations SPIR Seminar Series 2018

Why There is No Such Thing as Institutionless Politics: Lessons From Africa

Professor Nicholas Cheeseman
(University of Birmingham) will present the findings from his latest book, Institutions and Democracy in Africa: How the rules of the game shape political developments (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Many of his interviews and insights can be found on the website that he founded and co-edits,

Thursday 5 April 2018, 12:00 – 2:00 pm

L.J. Hume Centre, Copland Building (24), 1st Floor, Room 1171
(Closest Street: Corner of Childers Street and University Avenue)

Lunch will be provided at the seminar after the Q&A session.


Feodor Snagovsky:

Kirsty Wissing’s research on Water Sources in Ghana

Kirsty Wissing is a PhD student with the School of Culture, History and Language at the ANU. Her research looks at Indigenous religious affiliations to water sources and how introduced influences, including colonialism, Christianity and the hydro-power industry, have affected such affiliations. Her PhD field research will be conducted in the Eastern Region of Ghana and her thesis title is ‘Water is Life: Consistencies and Fluctuations in Religious Value Attributed to Water Sources in Ghana’.

For more information about her experience and publications see

From the January 2018 Newsletter of the Africa Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP):

‘Cherry Gertzel/AFSAAP Postgraduate Prize 2017

AFSAAP invited postgraduate essays for consideration for the Cherry Gertzel Postgraduate Essay for 2017. From all the brilliant entries received, Kirsty Wissing’s essay was judged to the best and thus claimed the Essay prize for 2017. The reviewers found that her paper entitled, ‘Environment as justice: Akwamu reflections on river justice in Ghana’, was original, insightful, interesting and well written, and based on primary research. Kirsty is a PhD student at the Australian National University. She is now working on submitting a revised version of the paper for consideration of publication to the editor of ARAS.’

Workshop on Democratic Systems in Africa

Workshop: Friday 6 April at the ANU, 10am

From the School of Politics & International Relations

“Scholars, early career researchers, and post-graduate students are invited to join Visiting Fellow, Professor Nic Cheeseman (University of Birmingham) for a workshop exploring the opportunities and challenges of democratic systems in new and post-colonial democracies. As Professor Cheeseman’s core research interests lie in the area of comparative politics and democratization in sub-Saharan Africa, addressing themes including democratization, governance, political violence, election rigging, and the politicization of ethnicity, the workshop will explore these and related themes raised by participants.

For more information about Professor Cheeseman’s  publications,see his personal website:

Call for Participation (Due 15 March)
Participants: We invite short presentations of works in progress, ideas and theoretical concerns (between 5-10 minutes) from academics, including ECRs and post-graduate students from the ANU and other universities which address themes
noted above and/or other related concerns including research on democracy and governance based on the African continent as well as other regions, including but not limited to Eastern and Central Europe and across Asia and the Pacific.
Send a short biography (100 word max) and a 200 word abstract to Christina Kenny ( by 15 March 2018. Successful applicants will be notified by Monday, 19 March.

Audience members: Should you prefer to attend the workshop as an observer, please rsvp by 15 March 2018 for catering purposes.”


Atem Atem resumes work on the South Sudanese in Sydney


In April  Atem Atem will be returning to the ANU on a part-time basis to complete his PhD work on ‘Settlement Experiences of South Sudanese Families in Western Sydney’ while continuing to work at the Fairfield City Council as the Multicultural Officer

He came to Australia from Sudan in 2002 as a refugee. He completed a degree in Medical Sciences (Medical Laboratory) and worked as a Pathology laboratory technician for three years.  Atem has been working with refugee and migrant communities in various roles supporting them with settlement and adjustment to life in Australia..

His post on South Sudanese youth crime can be found at

In 2017 his article ‘Basketball, soccer, AFL:the path to Successful settlement’ was published in the Winter issue of Australian Mosaic.






In April Atem Atem will be returning to the ANU to continue his PhD work on ‘Settlement Experiences of South Sudanese Families in Sydney’

His post on South Sudanese youth crime can be found at

In April Atem Atem will be returning to the ANU to continue his PhD work on ‘Settlement Experiences of South Sudanese Families in Sydney’

His post on South Sudanese youth crime can be found at

In 2017 his article ‘Basketball, soccer, AFL:
the path to Successful settlement’ was published on the
Winter issue of Australian Mosaic.


In 2017 his article ‘Basketball, soccer, AFL:
the path to Successful settlement’ was published on the
Winter issue of Australian Mosaic.

Bonnie McConnell: Singing and Health Promotion in the Gambia

The ANU’s Research and Innovation News (March 2018) has reported that Bonnie McConnell has ‘been funded over $250,000 by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and Medical Research Council for the project ‘Developing a Community Singing Based Intervention for Perinatal Mental Health in the Gambia’.

An abstract of Dr McConnell’s article from the July 2017 issue of Ethnomusicology reads as follows:

‘Kanyeleng fertility society musicians have become an integral part of health promotion programs in the Gambia. Health workers have embraced kanyeleng performance in the name of making their programs more participatory and therefore more effective in combating persistent health problems.’

Dr McConnell also presented a paper at the annual African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific Conference held at University of South Australia in November, 2017. Her Abstract is from the conference website

African Popular Music, Politics, and Belonging in Australia – Bonnie McConnell, School of Music, The Australian National University
Australian political and media discourse frequently presents African cultural difference as a
problem that prevents people of African descent from integrating into Australian society.
While research has drawn attention to the problem of negative representations of Africans
in Australian society (Nolan et al. 2011), the cultural strategies that African Australian
communities use to challenge these representations have not been adequately explored.
This research examines two African Australian cultural festivals as important sites of self representation and political action, challenging the negative representations of African
Australians in the media. Drawing on ethnographic research with musicians and festival
organisers in Sydney and Melbourne, I examine the way African Australian performers
negotiate and communicate notions of history in order to articulate a sense of place and
belonging. I show that popular music in particular provides a powerful site for negotiating
multi-layered identities and plural histories, challenging one-dimensional representations of
African Australian people. By focusing on popular music, this research seeks to draw
attention to “hidden histories” (Hall 1990) of African Australian communities, as well as
cultural strategies for maintaining a sense of coherence in the face of displacement and


Sudan Embassy Exhibition

The above link reports a statement by Dr Baroudi, who became Ambassador for the Republic of Sudan in 2017, when he described an exhibition that opened on Monday at the Embassy.

“Sudan is seeking all the time for the common interests on a bilateral basis,” he said.

“That means if Sudan has good relations with Russia it doesn’t mean it should have bad relations with US and in this context also Sudan is seeking to have good relations with Australia in the international arena.”

Part of changing the way Australians see the country is an exhibition of Sudanese art and artefacts at the embassy in O’Malley, which will be opened on Monday night. A ceremony celebrating the inauguration of the embassy will include a Sudanese band and Sudanese cuisine. The exhibition includes a recreation of a traditional marriage ceremony, photos of the pyramids in Sudan dating back to the Kush era and other Sudanese artefacts. The ambassador and his wife, who made some of the artworks, are encouraging members of the public to visit the exhibition during business hours.”

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan
23 Numeralla Street
O’Malley ACT 2606
Tel: (02) 6290 2635

Deaths in DRC

Speaker: Professor Helen Ware (UNE)
Date & time
Thu 15 Feb 2018, 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Seminar Room A, Coombs Bldg #9, Fellows Road, ANU

“But How Many Actually Died ? Counting Civilian Deaths in Recent Wars”
This seminar covers two areas. The first is a 10 minute introduction to The Demography of Conflict based on the author’s new chapter for Beginning Population Studies (3rd Edition) demonstrating how changes in the nature of warfare since the end of the Cold War have altered both the demography and geography of war. The second is a 30 minute discussion of one of the most politically controversial areas in demography: the numbers of deaths of the military on the battlefield, versus direct deaths of civilians from military violence, and the ‘excess’ civilian deaths which occur as an indirect result of war. Whilst it has become a worn-out cliché to say that recent wars have produced more civilian casualties than military deaths during fighting, the actual ratio is much contested. Estimates of the percentage of ‘excess’ deaths due to indirect mortality as a proportion of all deaths due to war vary from 30% to 95% (Wise 2017). This presentation endeavours to untangle some of the mysteries involved in determining levels of ‘excess’ mortality, including why it is that francophone demographers include babies who were never born among the victims of war.

Helen Ware is Foundation Professor of Peace Studies at the University of New England. As a humanitarian and former Australian diplomat she regrets the current belief that slanting the statistics of war may be acceptable in a good cause. As a demographer trained by the late Professor Jack Caldwell at ANU, she has a special interest in the demography of peace and war on which she has written a chapter for Beginning Population Studies which is in part the basis for this seminar.

The Annual Australasian Aid Conference is on at the Crawford Building ANU until 14th February and is fully booked. For more details, including the program, see

Wednesday 14th at 8am is of particular interest to Africanists:

Panel 3d – Should Australian ODA re-engage in Africa?

Should Australian ODA re-engage in Africa?
Acton Theatre
Chair: Bob McMullan, ANU
Australia’s official development assistance to African countries has shrunk by 85%
since 2013-14, making it the biggest loser in the rounds of aid cuts since the Coalition
government came to power. This is despite persistently high levels of poverty on the
continent. Meanwhile, many Australians donate to development NGOs working in the
region, and Australian businesses make efforts to build ties. Australia has expertise
in key areas such as mining and agriculture that could be invaluable for African
developing countries looking to use resource wealth as a pathway out of poverty, and
while not in the current government’s area of geographic focus, the continent presents
many opportunities for partnership. In this submitted panel, speakers will discuss the
arguments for and against Australian aid moving back into Africa.
Fessehaie Abraham, ANU
Jacqui de Lacy, Abt Associates
Sally Moyle, CARE Australia