Call for Papers: Religion, Spirituality and the New African Diaspora

The Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, the publication of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion, is inviting expressions of interest for a planned special issue on the theme of “Religion, Spirituality and the New African Diaspora” to be published in 2021.

In contrast to the African diaspora created through the slave trade, the “new” African diaspora is the product of recent and voluntary human movement (Okpewho & Nzegwu 2009), as individuals, families and communities have sought asylum, education, employment and other opportunities outside Africa. Recognizing that continuities and changes in religious and spiritual practices are a foundational aspect of diasporic experience, and that religion can be the “motor” of migration and migrant identity formation (Adogame 2007), this special issue is open to research articles on all aspects of religion, spirituality and the new African diaspora. We are particularly interested in studies from the Asia-Pacific region, but welcome articles focusing on any part of the world.

Although the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion does not publish purely confessional articles, we welcome cross-disciplinary contributions from across the humanities and social sciences addressing the topic through various theories and methodologies. Representative (but not exhaustive) of the themes scholars may wish to address, we would welcome contributions engaging with: theories of the Black Atlantic, or more recent conceptualizations of the “Black Mediterranean” and “Black Pacific”; religion, spirituality and new expressions of racism and xenophobia; religion, identity, and the securitization of migration; indigenous African religions in the new diaspora; religion and spirituality as resources for individual and collective resilience and resistance; transnational religious networks; Pentecostalism and the new African diaspora; religion and the production of the local; religious music and popular culture in the new African diaspora; postcolonial and decolonial approaches to religion and spirituality in the new African diaspora.

Contributors should initially submit an abstract of up to 300 words and a brief biography by 31 July 2020 to both editors. Full papers will be due by 31 December 2020. Articles should not exceed 8000 words (including references).

Dr Ibrahim Abraham (Australian National University, co-editor JASR) ibrahim.abraham@anu.edu.au

Dr Victor Counted (Western Sydney University, guest editor JASR) v.counted@westernsydney.edu.au

References:

Adogame, A. 2007. “Raising Champions, Taking Territories: African Churches and the Mapping of New Religious Landscapes in Diaspora,” in T. L. Trout (ed.), The African Diaspora and the Study of Religion. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Okpewho, I. & N. Nzegwu (eds). 2009. The New African Diaspora. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

 

Lions of Khartoum: Sudan’s Wrestlers After a Revolution

Lions of Khartoum (29 minutes / Sudan / English subtitles) explores the role of Khartoum’s iconic wrestlers in the Sudanese revolution of 2019, through the voice of Mudawi, a childhood wrestler-turned-wrestling commentator. Until the 2019 Sudanese revolution, Khartoum’s local wrestling organisation was run by Islamist party acolytes (kīzān), who were more focused on making money from ticket sales than training the athletes or promoting the sport. During the horrific June 2019 massacre in Khartoum, one of the wrestlers was murdered by the Janjaweed, the former regime’s paramilitary forces. His face now adorns the wrestling stadium formerly controlled by the kīzān. Against the extraordinary backdrop of revolutionary change, however, the film shows us that the ordinary mundanity of life continues for Khartoum’s wrestlers. The film builds on the filmmakers’ 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork, living and training with Khartoum’s wrestling community prior to and during the Sudanese revolution.

WATCH HERE

FILMMAKERS

Paul Hayes is completing a PhD in anthropology at The Australian National University and has been an Associate Researcher at Centre d’études et de documentation économiques, juridiques et sociales (CEDEJ) in Khartoum since 2018. He completed 12 months of ethnographic research, living and training among Khartoum’s wrestling community, in the midst of the Sudanese revolution.

Mudawi Hassan is a commentator at Khartoum’s East Nile wrestling stadium, and has worked for numerous international researchers and filmmakers, in Khartoum and Darfur. In 2018, he graduated from Omdurman Islamic University with honours in communication and television. He participated in almost every major protest event in Khartoum during the revolution.

CO-FILMMAKER STATEMENT

This was a collaborative project between me, an Australian PhD student of anthropology, and Mudawi, a Sudanese wrestling enthusiast and community leader from Khartoum. The film, which focuses on Mudawi’s reflections after the revolution, will form part of my broader PhD thesis which explores the embodied material culture of Sudanese wrestling. For that, I spent over 12 months training and socialising with the East Nile wrestling community, while also living with Mudawi’s family. Unexpectedly, the fieldwork took place in the lead-up to, and during the start of the Sudanese revolution, which led to the army overthrowing President Omar Al Bashir in April 2019, after months of street protests. The footage for this film was shot only in December 2019, during a return visit to Mudawi’s family, precisely one year after the revolution began. The film tries to convey only a tiny taste of the lives of its interlocutors and their involvement in the revolution. It is a partial, tentative story, and one which I think raises more questions than it answers.
Paul Hayes, Canberra, March 2020

A History of the Impact of the Mining Boom in Zambia

Margaret O’Callaghan has posted her manuscript Copperfields: A History of the Impact of the First Decade of a Mining Boom in North Western Province Zambia, circa 2002-2015 online for free download.

“It has been a privilege to complete this task, although I know that not all will agree with my comments and some may even be offended,” O’Callaghan writes in the preface. “But as the North Western proverb says: ‘Mweenyi waleeta mupenyi waatwa’ (‘a visitor brings a sharp knife’).”

 

International Alumna of the Year Award – Angella Ndaka

Congratulations to Angella Ndaka, who has been awarded the 2020 ANU International Alumna of the Year Award for her important contribution to gender and social inclusion in Kenya.

After graduating from ANU in 2015, Angella formed the team that set up the Women in Leadership Network (WILN)-Kenya chapter. She is the current chairperson of the network and has led three Women in Leadership grants that have empowered women and girls in rural communities in Kenya.

Watch a video here.

All Public Events Cancelled at ANU

As a precautionary measure and based upon the advice from our expert panel, we will cancel all public and social events from Monday 16 March until the end of semester one, Saturday 20 June. This is a precautionary measure that we know will be disappointing for many, but our aim is to reduce opportunities for the virus to spread by limiting activity on campus without disrupting our essential teaching and research activities. 

Cancellation and postponement will extend to all discretionary events including ticketed and non-ticketed public events, public lectures and concerts.

Essential activities related to teaching and research, including tutorials, lectures, staff meetings and community services like childcare and cafes will continue as normal at this stage. 

Podcast: Truth and Trust

In this podcast episode, ANU’s Kirsty Wissing joins the Familiar Strange panel to explore ideas of truth and trust as related to her PhD research around water and purity in relation to the hydro-power Akosombo Dam in Ghana.

Who decides that water is pure? Who has the authority to decide? Is it a question of how water is packaged, or a question of spiritual values? How do ideas of cleanliness show us who is trusted and trustworthy?

Listen to the podcast here.

Canberra Multicultural Festival 2020

Canberra’s annual Multicultural Festival beings today (21 February) and runs all weekend! 

Details and program here: https://www.multiculturalfestival.com.au/

Africa Village
The Africa Village will be at Stage 5 across the 3 days of the Festival. The program will feature ‘One Spirit Africa’ an Afro-fusion band from Melbourne. Combining Ghanaian lyrics with English, they perform traditional African rhythms with vibrant percussive styling that will keep you dancing! One Spirit Africa will feature traditional West African drums, xylophone and flute along with contemporary keys, guitar, bass, drum kit and horns to present an authentic percussive performance. The Village will also feature Afro Zumba and a Drum workshop for all to participate in!

There will also be food for sale from Egypt, Ethiopia, Mauritius and Nigeria.