The major innovation is the creation of the ACT Africa Expert Directory which currently lists 71 experts on Africa from institutions around the ACT, primarily the ANU. We will continue to expand and refine this list in the coming months and years, offering a key resource for media, government and non-government organizations seeking expert facts and opinions on Africa.
Another notable addition is the expanded directory of PhD theseson Africa produced in the territory’s universities, a solid measure of the vitality of the study of Africa in the city of Canberra.
Reviewing both directories, it is revealing to note that the vast majority of research on Africa is produced by disciplinary experts (environmental scientists, economists, demographers, etc.) rather than area studies experts. This means that the study of Africa is woven into the fabric of the research culture of the ANU and the ACT’s other universities in ways that are not necessarily apparent.
Arguing that the institution of the university has been broadly complicit with colonialism, the call to “decolonize” universities and academic practices has been heard across the world, from Cape Town to Oxford to Canberra. But what exactly does it mean to “decolonize” the university or to “decolonize” science or the humanities? This webinar will present a range of views on decolonization and the university by scholars from across the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities, focusing on local and global challenges to prevailing academic practices.
Conversations Across the Creek is an initiative of the Humanities Research Centre and the Research School of Chemistry. These events provide a space for continuing dialogue among scientists, social scientists, and humanities scholars, with the aim of stimulating and unearthing collaborations across the university and between the university and the community.
The Individual Deprivation Measure, or IDM, is an individual-level, gender sensitive measure of multidimensional deprivation—it measures deprivation at the individual rather than household level, and is designed to discern differences in the experiences of poverty between men and women. The IDM program was a partnership between the ANU, the International Women’s Development Agency and the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The ANU led a studies in Indonesia in 2018 and in South Africa in 2019. The IDM programme ran between 2016 and 2020, and related research is being taken forward as the Individual Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty at ANU.
In South Africa, 14 dimensions of deprivation were measured (shown in the figure below). Some of these are already partially covered in some existing surveys (e.g. food security and access to drinking water), but the IDM includes a range of economic and social aspects which are not usually covered (e.g. the relationships, clothing and footwear and voice dimensions). Further, several IDM dimensions include aspects beyond that which is typically assessed. For example, the work dimension covers not only issues around paid work, but also includes themes on unpaid domestic and care work and on the double labour burden that can arise when both paid and unpaid work are done.
The South African country study had two parts:
a national-level main sample, that interviewed 8,652 individuals, 16 years and older;
a purposive sample that interviewed 826 individuals with disabilities and their household members (2,311 individuals in total), in Gauteng and Limpopo provinces.
There are a wide range of resource available for those who are interested in the results of the survey and the methods used for the analysis.
A launch of the report was held in early August 2020, with Australia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Ms Gita Kamath, and the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in South Africa, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, which you can watch below.
AFSAAP Secretary Margaret O’Callaghan, has been sent this lecture recording by Nick Cheeseman this from the University of Manchester and comments, ‘it’s an hour long but well worth listening to with many country specific examples.’ In his co-authored book, How to Rig an Election, he argues “[c]ontrary to what is commonly believed, authoritarian leaders who agree to hold elections are generally able to remain in power longer than autocrats who refuse to allow the populace to vote.”
The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) calls for proposals for preorganized panels, roundtables, thematic conversations, and individual papers for its 43rd annual meeting to be held at the University of New England (UNE), Armidale, NSW, December 3-5th 2020.
If COVID 19 permits, there will be a physical conference at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW. If not, and for anyone who is not able to travel, there will be a ZOOM facility for presenting your papers and getting feed-back (UNE has more experience with distance education than any other Australian University).
60% of the population of Africa is under 25 – [sadly, this proportion may even increase if many older people die of COVID 19]. Whilst you are welcome to submit abstracts on any African topic you choose, we are encouraging you to think about youth and a brighter future.
We would welcome suggestions for panels. There will certainly be panels for peace/conflict, Afro-feminism, and environmental issues.
The deadline for abstracts is 01 September 2020. Abstracts should be 300 words maximum and cover question, methodology, findings. Paper presenters will be allowed 20 minutes for presentation plus 20 minutes for questions.
AFSAAP Postgraduate Day
A special feature of AFSAAP Conferences is our work with post-graduate students. PhD and other post-graduate students who submit a thoughtful abstract and wish to participate in the post-graduate day will be assigned an AFSAAP member with experience in their area as a mentor to help them work on their paper. Post-graduate work on African topics in Australia can be a rather lonely experience and it is good to be able to turn to a friend who can give you advice on how to get your ideas into shape and where you should be heading. December 3rd is post-graduate day and will be devoted to presentations in a warm and encouraging setting. Those presenting their work on that day will also be encouraged to submit their finished papers to a special post-graduate ARAS edition. Details forthcoming.
Abstracts of proposed papers, panels and roundtables should be sent by to Professor Helen Ware at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A preliminary program will be announced in October 2020. Registration and conference fees must be paid before the start of the conference.
The Town Hall Meeting on the ‘Introduction to the Regional Plan for Africa & the Middle East’ was held on May 28th, 2020 (See the post on this weblog dated 26 May). This was part of of the ANU’s Regional Plans Consultation process. See https://www.anu.edu.au/events/anu-regional-plans-consultation
Questions on Zoom were answered by Associate Professor Jo Ford, Associate Dean (International), ANU College of Law, Daniel Brown, Manager, International Partnership Development, International Strategy & Partnerships, and Professor Sally Wheeler, Pro Vice Chancellor, International Strategy. Most questions, asked by academic staff and one PhD student, concerned Africa.
REMINDER. On Friday, 12 June 2020 4:04 PM you may have received a message from Intl Strategy Regional Plans <Regional.Plans@anu.edu.au> signed by Anne Kelly, Executive Officer, Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International Strategy).
This email encouraged written feedback on the regional plan discussion papers through the Regional Plan SharePoint Site which is https://anu365.sharepoint.com/sites/ISPTest-RegionalPlans
It also encouraged recipients to forward this link to any ANU staff member who may have an interest in participating in this consultation process. (It might be easier to forward the email). Feedback can be submitted up to 30 June 2020, that is until Close of Business, Tuesday.
Professor Wheeler has advised that anyone in the ANU community can comment on the plans by either emailing the ‘email@example.com’ address or by emailing the panel chair, Jo Ford, or herself.
If you are from ANU, UC, or any other ACT institution or organisation and wish to share your research please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a piece from Ernest Akuamoah (School of Politics and International Relations, ANU)
“Across the continent, millions of people will be going to the polls to exercise their democratic rights this year. In theory, elections will provide avenues for citizens to hold their leaders accountable through either endorsing their legitimacy or replacing them if they have performed abysmally. In this regard, you would expect citizens to be enthusiastic and excited for the opportunity to vote, but this is not always the case. For the most part, election periods in many African countries are characterized by fear and panic because electoral contests are considered a ‘do-or-die’ affair . Even when incumbents are defeated, it is uncertain whether they will leave office. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic presents manifold challenges to democracy in Africa. This paper highlights some of these challenges and identify countries at high risk of contentious elections.”
Available at 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3596662 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3596662