Maxine Beneba Clarke in Conversation with Zoya Patel

Award winning author, Maxine Beneba Clarke (editor of Growing Up African in Australia), will be in conversation with feminist author and editor, Zoya Patel, about her leadership journey as an Australian born black writer of Afro-Caribbean descent, creating space for other African diaspora voices, and empowering those who’ve been historically sidelined in Australian literature to tell their stories.

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the ABIA and Indie award-winning author of the memoir The Hate Race, the short fiction collection Foreign Soil, the poetry collection Carrying The World, and several critically acclaimed children’s books, including the Boston Globe / Horn Prize award winning The Patchwork Bike, and the recently released Fashionista. She is the editor of Growing Up African in Australia, and Best Australian Stories 2017. Maxine is The Saturday Paper’s Poet Laureate.

Zoya Patel is the author of No Country Woman, a memoir of race, religion and feminism, published by Hachette Australia.

She Leads In-Conversation events aim to provide the community with the opportunity to hear from women leaders from different backgrounds and industries, in a conversational format, followed by a live Q&A session, book signing and networking. Men are actively welcomed to attend.

The In-Conversation with Maxine Beneba Clarke will be at the Ann Harding Conference Centre, University of Canberra on Friday 20 September 2019 from 6:15–8:15 pm.

More details and ticket information here.

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

Augustus Panton receives VC’s Award for Excellence in Tutoring


Mr Augustus Panton, PhD Candidate in Economics, Crawford School of Public Policy, and Teaching Assistant, Research School of Economics, ANU College of Business and Economics, has received the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Education (Tutoring/Demonstrating). Before joining the ANU he worked as an Economist at the Central Bank of Liberia.

‘Augustus tutors undergraduate and postgraduate economics courses. Utilising his diverse expertise from his professional experience and ongoing PhD research, Augustus applies research-led teaching and the case-based learning method, with a focus on student engagement and intellectual stimulation and creativity at the heart of the teaching process.’

For more information and an excellent photo please see

See also:



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.


Cherry Gertzel Bursary: September deadline for applications

The Cherry Gertzel Bursary Award is an annual award to assist female post-graduate students to complete study or research in African Studies.

The information below is selected from the  AFSAAP website  which should be consulted for more detail.

About Professor Cherry Gertzel AM (1928 – 2015) She spent over twenty years researching and teaching in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Zambia before returning to Australia in 1975 where she worked at Flinders University and Curtin University. Her wish to establish this annual bursary is a generous legacy and testament to her lifelong dedication to advancing the field of African Studies. More information about Prof. Cherry Gertzel is available at


Women who are enrolled in an Australian or New Zealand University
who have embarked on a post-graduate degree of which the subject matter is the study of Africa and who are able to undertake travel to an African state to conduct fieldwork, research or study related purposes


One bursary of $10,000 will be awarded annually.

Funds can be used for conference attendance, purchase or hire of equipment, costs of study commitments or short-term assistance with living expenses in an African State, for the purposed of field work, research, or study.

Funds must be used within 12 months of the date of the award

Application process

Information about the Bursary and application forms will be available on the AFSAAP website and the Cherry Gertzel legacy website by May each year. The closing date for applications will be in September each year and the selected recipient will notified, with details made available on the website, in November of each year.

Applications, including supporting documents, should be lodged by email to Dr. Karen Miller ( before or on the closing date. Incomplete applications, or applications received after the due date, will not be considered.

For enquiries about the award and eligibility, please contact AFSAAP President Prof. Peter Limb or Dr. Karen Miller

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).

August 16:  “‘Just Exhaustion!’: Motherhood, Work, and Human Capital Investment in Senegal,” Kathryn E. McHarry (University of Chicago).

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)

23 August: Linguistics seminar – “After Shaka: IsiZulu language in ideology and social history,” Judith Irvine, 3:30pm, Basham Seminar Room, BPB Level 1.

August 28 (AM): “Dual Exposure: Transcendental Harm in the Islamic Ontology of Pollution in Tunisia.” Siad Darwish (ANU).

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).

September 03 (lunchtime): “The International Criminal Court: Fighting Impunity or Failing Africa?” Matthew Neuhaus (Australian Ambassador to the Netherlands). (full details announced soon)

September 03 (evening): “Putting Africa Back into the Politics of British Decolonisation,” Deryck M. Schreuder (ex-UWA and WSU).

September 04: “Fighting Ebola: Achieving Positive Social and Health Outcomes in Emergencies,” Presenters from ANU, Harvard, etc.

September 04: “Three Minute Thesis” final, feat. Ibidolapo Adekoya (Research School of Chemistry).

September 05: “Australia and Africa: a new friend from the South?” Nikola Pijović (Queen’s University, UK).

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 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)

“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.