Intra-Party Politics and Conflict in Ghana

African Studies Reading Group, Thursday 24 October, 6pm.
Lady Wilson Room, Sir Roland Wilson Building, 120 McCoy Circuit, ANU.

Recent studies on democratization and conflicts in Africa have largely focused on civil wars, as well as national, sub-national and local elections. Little attention has been given to conflict and violence as a result of internal processes of political parties. The dynamics of intra-party conflicts differ from those at the national or sub-national levels, and therefore should be treated as a subject in its own right. Political parties in Ghana are beset by intra-party conflict, which poses a significant threat to the democratic development of the country. Drawing on elite interviews and ethnographic observations, this presentation will argue that the struggle for power, the lack of internal democracy, ethnicity, factionalism, and patronage have contributed to intra-party conflicts and violence within Ghana’s two dominant political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP).Ernest Akuamoah is a PhD student in the School of Politics and International Relations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies (First Class Honours) from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana) and a Master of Philosophy in Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon. His PhD project examines the impact of term limit relaxation on electoral violence.

All welcome, refreshments provided.

Early Career Research Small Grants Scheme

ANU’s Herbert & Valmae Freilich Project for the Study of Bigotry is welcoming applications for the 2019 round of the Early Career Research Small Grants Scheme (for activities to be undertaken in 2020).

Three grants of up to $5000 each will be awarded to emerging scholars to assist research into the causes, the histories and the effects of ethnic, cultural, religious and sexual bigotry and animosity. Applications are open to all Early Career Researchers and PhD Scholars working in Australia, and are due on 15 November.

Full details of the Scheme are available here on the Freilich Project website.

Seminar: “Dual Exposure: Transcendental Harm in the Islamic Ontology of Pollution in Tunisia”

Wed 28 Aug 2019, 9.30–11am
Marie Reay Teaching Centre, Kambri/Room 3.03, Building 155

Exposure to harmful substances typically occurs through the entanglements of bodies and materials in late industrialism. How this exposure is measured depends as much on the sensory perception of these materials, as on knowledge and technologies that reveal unperceivable substances, and assess their effects on a given organism. In Western toxicology harm from exposure therefore emerges between perceivable and hardly perceivable worlds. This is also true of North African Islamic epistemologies of pollution. Here harm is constructed in the relationship between the physical world (alam al-shahada) of humanity, and the spiritual world (alam al-ghayb) inhabited by the angels and jinn. Based on 15 months of ethnographic research in Tunisia during a waste crisis in the aftermath of the revolution, this paper explores how exposure and harm are shaped by ontologies that organize the relationship between people, materials, and the unseen. It argues that certain materials can pierce the veil between the physical and sprit world in North African Islam, thereby removing the protecting of guardian angels, and attracting evil forces. Exposure from pollution in Tunisia can therefore be seen as ‘dual’ in that it renders the individual vulnerable to potentially harmful substances as well as vulnerable to the harmful effects emanating from the spirit world.

Dr. Siad Darwish is a sessional academic at the School of the Humanities and Social Inquiry at the University of Wollongong. He holds a PhD in anthropology from Rutgers University and an MA in the Anthropology of Development from the University of Sussex. His research traces waste flows and unequal chemical relations between cells, bodies, the micro-ecologies of his field sites, planetary ecology, and sometimes the otherworldly. Using this approach, his first book manuscript is an exploration of the environmental politics of the Arab Uprisings in Tunisia. Find out more on sdarwish.org.

Ibidolapo Adekoya – Three Minute Thesis Final

PhD candidate Ibidolapo Adekoya will be a finalist in ANU’s Three Minute Thesis competition on 4 September, and her research has just been profiled in The Canberra Times:

When Ibidolapo Adekoya first got the opportunity to research malaria proteins she “couldn’t say no”. The Australian National University PhD student, who grew up in Nigeria, has had the disease several times and knows how horrible it can be.

Tickets for the final are free and available here. Good luck Dola!

Linguistics Seminar – “After Shaka: IsiZulu Language in Ideology and Social History”

Fri 23 Aug 2019, 3.30pm 
Basham Seminar Room, BPB Level 1, ANU

IsiZulu, a major language of South Africa, is not a static monolith, except as some people’s ideologies of language have so imagined it. This presentation traces some major historical events and changes, starting in the early nineteenth century, that have affected Zulu ways of speaking and in which they have been entangled, including the identification of “Zulu” as a unity distinct from cognate linguistic varieties in the region.

Judith Irvine first considers the dramatic expansion of a powerful Zulu kingdom under Shaka Zulu, from 1818. Shaka’s language policy was tied to the centralization of the Zulu state, and had consequences for dialectology, standardization, and ethnicity, especially as interpreted by missionaries in their own linguistic projects. Judith then turns to the forms of respect vocabulary and honorific utterance, with their specific principles of linguistic construction.

These deference forms were entwined with the role of language in the Zulu army, and involved both men and women. Yet, after the British annexation of Zululand in 1887 and the subsequent intensification of colonial rule, the colonizers identified these forms of verbal deference with folklore and gendered social roles. Comparing indigenous and colonizers’ varying conceptions of what language is and how to enlist it in social projects – their ideologies of language – can help bring out some sociolinguistic aspects of the colonial encounter and its aftermath.

More details.

 

August and September Events

August 14: “The Good Migrant: Gender, Race, and Naturalisation in Early Twentieth-Century South Africa and Australia,” Rachael Bright (Keele University, UK). https://history.cass.anu.edu.au/events/rachel-bright-keele-good-migrant-gender-race-and-naturalisation-early-twentieth-century

August 16:  “‘Just Exhaustion!’: Motherhood, Work, and Human Capital Investment in Senegal,” Kathryn E. McHarry (University of Chicago). https://africanetwork.weblogs.anu.edu.au/2019/08/13/just-exhaustion/

23 August: “Becoming a Wrestler on the Outskirts of Khartoum, Sudan.” Paul Hayes (ANU) 3-5pm, Milgate Room, Level 2, A.D. Hope Building (#14) https://africanetwork.weblogs.anu.edu.au/2019/08/14/becoming-a-wrestler/

23 August: Linguistics seminar – “After Shaka: IsiZulu language in ideology and social history,” Judith Irvine, 3:30pm, Basham Seminar Room, BPB Level 1.
https://slll.cass.anu.edu.au/events/coedl-linguistics-seminar-judith-irvine-after-shaka-isizulu-language-ideology-and-social

August 28 (AM): “Dual Exposure: Transcendental Harm in the Islamic Ontology of Pollution in Tunisia.” Siad Darwish (ANU). https://archanth.cass.anu.edu.au/events/dual-exposure-transcendental-harm-islamic-ontology-pollution-tunisia

August 28 (PM): Film screening: “Sculpting the Spirits,” a documentary on the Bijagós Islands of Guinea-Bissau. 4pm-6pm, The Tea Room, Ground Floor of the Banks Building (#44). https://africanetwork.weblogs.anu.edu.au/2019/08/26/film-screening-sculpting-the-spirits/

September 03 (lunchtime): “The International Criminal Court: Fighting Impunity or Failing Africa?” Matthew Neuhaus (Australian Ambassador to the Netherlands). https://freilich.anu.edu.au/events/upcoming (full details announced soon)

September 03 (evening): “Putting Africa Back into the Politics of British Decolonisation,” Deryck M. Schreuder (ex-UWA and WSU). http://bellschool.anu.edu.au/node/7176

September 04: “Fighting Ebola: Achieving Positive Social and Health Outcomes in Emergencies,” Presenters from ANU, Harvard, etc. https://www.anu.edu.au/events/fighting-ebola-achieving-positive-social-health-outcomes-in-emergencies

September 04: “Three Minute Thesis” final, feat. Ibidolapo Adekoya (Research School of Chemistry). https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/anu3mt-3-minute-thesis-competition-final-2019-tickets-60389227806

September 05: “Australia and Africa: a new friend from the South?” Nikola Pijović (Queen’s University, UK). https://nsc.crawford.anu.edu.au/news-events/events/14981/australia-and-africa-new-friend-south

September 09: “Prosecuting South Africa’s Apartheid-Era Crimes: Helping or Hurting Reconciliation?” CANCELLED

September 20:Maxine Beneba Clarke (editor of Growing Up African in Australia) in conversation with Zoya Patelhttps://africanetwork.weblogs.anu.edu.au/2019/08/26/maxine-beneba-clarke-in-conversation-with-zoya-patel/

September 27: “Human Rights in the Age of Inequality: Xenophobia, Exclusion and the Myth of the Strong Leader,”  Kostis Karpozilos and Dimitris Christopoulos (Panteion University, Greece) https://freilich.anu.edu.au/events/upcoming

“Becoming a Wrestler on the Outskirts of Khartoum, Sudan”

Date and time: Friday 23 August, 3–5pm
Speaker: Paul Hayes (PhD Candidate in Anthropology, ANU)
Location: Milgate Room, Level 2, A.D. Hope Building (#14), ANU

This post-fieldwork seminar examines the bodily practices and related material culture of young men in Khartoum, Sudan, who practice ‘Nuba wrestling’, a combat sport indigenous to Sudan. Based on 12 months of collaborative photography and first-hand sporting apprenticeship with wrestlers, I attempt to understand the magnetism of the sport through its concrete corporeal practices and material relations. I analyse the wrestlers’ material and bodily repertoires, not only for what they might mean as symbolic rituals or communicative signs, but also for what they do to the wrestler-subject. Through a microphysics of becoming a wrestler, I show how the doing of ‘corporeal-matter-in-motion’ leads to the creation of a specific being: an uneasy subject, caught between Sudan’s nascent pan-ethnic neoliberal modernity, and the racist vestiges of the Sudanese Islamist state.

“Just Exhaustion!”: Motherhood, Work, and Human Capital Investment in Senegal

Date &Time: Friday 16 August, 3pm-5pm

Location: Milgate Room, A.D. Hope Building #14, Australian National University

Abstract: Over the past two decades, the Senegalese state has reimagined national commitments to care for children and families as a politics of investment. Senegalese families today have unprecedented state support for their children following the creation of Senegal’s national early childhood care and education system in 2000. Case des Tout-Petits centers offer an array of public education and child welfare activities, including heavily subsidised preschool for children aged three to six. Development specialists, education theorists, and feminists have widely argued that affordable childcare helps “relieve” women of unpaid domestic work and “empower” them to pursue opportunities outside the home. Why, then, have many Senegalese mothers claimed that little children are now more exhausting than ever? This talk explores the problem of women’s fatigue by investigating how human capital investment projects like Senegal’s preschool system complicate motherhood in unexpected ways. Rather than presume that motherhood inherently entails forms of work, the presentation examines how attempts to naturalise motherhood into mothering work are negotiated and contested, with broader implications for how anthropologists might theorise neoliberal interventions into family life. 

Speaker: Kathryn E. McHarry is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on global childhood policymaking and post-millennial transformations of age, care, and labor in Africa. Her dissertation, Entrepreneurs of the Future: Speculative Care and Early Childhood Education in Senegal examines the politics of human capital interventions and the economisation of family life.