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)

ANU Healthcare in Africa Seminar – Recap by Margaret O’Callaghan

Canberra members of AFSAAP were delighted to have the subject of Africa appear on the ANU agenda on the 6th May – an uncommon occurrence given the prevailing bias towards Asia and the Pacific. In order to promote discussion on maternal and sexual health, access to healthcare and education and Female Genital Mutilation the ANU Circle for Gender Equity held its second seminar for the semester with the discussion focusing on healthcare in Africa. About thirty-five ANU students (including four males) and others attended the seminar.

The programme included:

  • A presentation by Jacqueline Zwambila, former Zimbabwean ambassador to Australia provided a very comprehensive overview of health issues on the African continent. She  bemoaned the fact that although leaders at the AU had many appropriate policies little was actioned at the grassroots level – and that there was no mention of Gender issues listed on the African Union website. She also noted the role of women in power, with women now becoming presidents (two so far) and Rwanda having a requirement for 42% female representation in parliament, but that much more needed to be done in all countries to improve women’s participation.
  • A focus on the subject of Female Genital Mutilation. The audience was treated to a video by  Khadjija Gbla who puts across the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) story in a very personal and surprisingly humorous way which in no way lessened the seriousness of the issue. Khadija, a Sierra Leonean, is now living in Adelaide and is very active in raising awareness about the need to stop FGM in Australia – the need for which surprises many people.
  • Margaret O’Callaghan, former UNFPA representative and currently Visiting Fellow at the Crawford School, then commented on the subject of FGM, providing anecdotes from her UN days and putting the subject into  a multi-sectoral context. She highlighted the importance of looking at health issues from a psycho-social angle in order to really understand the reasons for why things were happening the way they were. In particular she recommended that the audience read this article in order to understand why it was that women were the major supporters in the continuation of the custom.
  • Jane Armstrong, Clinical Training Manager of the Aspen Medical Australia, then spoke about the management of emergency training and support of an Australian and New Zealand health personnel team. This emergency exercise was funded by DFAT as Australia’s contribution to addressing the recent epidemic in Sierra Leone. She noted that not only did they contribute to saving lives and providing palliative care to others who weren’t so lucky, but they helped to prevent the infection from spreading further. 

Unfortunately because of the very full programme there was insufficient time for audience participation, which always provides much added value to such an event.

Provided by Margaret O’Callaghan, former UNFPA Representative and currently Visiting Fellow at ANU’s Crawford School

ANU Circle for Gender Equity: Healthcare in Africa Seminar

The ANU’s Circle for Gender Equity is proud to hold its second seminar for the semester with the discussion focusing on healthcare in Africa! We will be promoting discussion on maternal and sexual health, access to healthcare and education and Female genital mutilation.

To facilitate this discussion we have talks from:
Jacqueline Zwambila, former Zimbabwean ambassador to Australia. She is noted for her activism on women’s rights and promotion of health and education.

Jane Armstrong, Aspen Medical Australia Clinical Training Manager. She has ran Ebola training as well as specific training around doctors working in Africa.

We will be showing the incredible TEDx Canberra video by Khadija Gbla, a highly recognised activist and influential leader in raising awareness about Female Genital Mutilation.

Please join us for an informative evening. Refreshments will be provided.

This event is open to all members of the ANU and Canberra community.

“The Contribution of Constitutional Courts to the Democratic Quality of Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa” 04/09/2014

Please see the below information on an informal presentation by RegNet PhD Visiting Fellow, Charlotte Heyl.  Charlotte is part of our DAAD Research Exchange Program with the GIGA Institute of African Affairs (Hamburg, Germany) led by Dr. Bjoern Dressel of the Crawford School.

The Contribution of Constitutional Courts to the Democratic Quality of Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa
Date/Time:  4th September, Thursday from 3-4:15pm
Venue:  RegNet Meeting room, level 3 Coombs Extension Building

Electoral processes in Sub-Saharan Africa are prone to electoral irregularities. Reoccurring and unsanctioned irregularities shake the confidence of voters and candidates in the electoral process and can thus jeopardize the voters’ willingness to participate in elections as well as the elections’ competitiveness and legitimacy. Impartial electoral contestation adjudication can however serve as an “institutional safety-valve” (Mozaffar / Schedler 2002) that compensates short-comings earlier in the electoral process. In Francophone Africa constitutional courts are the electoral judges of presidential and legislative elections. Which role do these constitutional courts play in reality in electoral processes? How do they contribute to the democratic quality of elections? The doctoral thesis analyzes in a first step the institutional structure and performance of constitutional courts in five African electoral democracies (Benin, Madagascar, Mali, Niger and Senegal) before it examines more deeply the dynamics of electoral adjudication in Madagascar and Senegal.

Charlotte Heyl is a Political Scientist and a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs in Hamburg (Germany) as well as at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany). She works in a research project on” Judicial Independence in New Democracies” led by Dr. Mariana Llanos. Her doctoral project deals with the role of African constitutional courts in electoral processes. She has field work experience in Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Senegal.

Humanitarian and skilled immigrants from Africa – Seminar, Friday 1 August

Friday 1 August 2014 2:30-3:30pm
Seminar Room A Coombs Building (9) Fellows Road ANU

Humanitarian and skilled immigrants from Africa: Their demography and human capital
To date our study of Africans in Australia has compared Humanitarian entrants from Africa with other migrant categories. This presentation seeks comments on the next step which will focus on Humanitarian entrants.

Dr David Lucas, Associate Professor (Adjunct)
Dr Barbara Edgar, Research Fellow (Adjunct)


For more information; Seminar-Lucas & Edgar

Public Lecture – Thursday, 26 June 2014 – Professor Michael Watts, University of California, Berkeley

Speaker/Host:  Professor Michael Watts, University of California, Berkeley
Venue:  Law Link Theatre, Fellows Lane, ANU College of Law, ANU
Date:  Thursday, 26 June 2014
Time:  5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
EnquiriesANU Events on 6125 4144

A Tale of two gulfs: The social space of the frontier
Professor Michael Watts draws upon events from two very different parts of the world – the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the the Gulf of Mexico and the rise of an insurgency in the Nigerian oilfields in the Gulf of Guinea. He will use these examples to explore the ways in which frontiers become not just sites of contestation but also particular sorts of social spaces in which their dynamics reside in the materiality and specificity of the resource itself as much as in the wider regime of accumulation. Using in particular the work of Henri Lefebvre, he will focus on comparative oil frontiers as a way of exploring frontiers in general and resource frontiers in particular

SSGM SEMINAR 3-4pm Tuesday June 24| Michael J Watts, UC Berkeley

SSGM Seminar Series
Comparing Small Wars: A Political Ecology of Two Insurgenices

Speaker: Michael Watts – Professor of Geography and Director of Development Studies at UC Berkeley
3-4pm Tuesday 24 June
Lecture Theatre 2, Hedley Bull Centre
Corner of Garran Rd and Liversidge St
The Australia National University

About the Seminar
This paper compares two insurgencies in contemporary Nigeria: the radical Salafist Islamism of Boko Haram in the north, and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a secular movement for resource control emerging on the oilfields of the southeast. Two regions with differing histories, cultures and social institutions bathed in the same political order have given birth two seemingly different insurgent politics. Tijani Naniya, a historian who was Kano State’s Commissioner for Information and Culture, makes the point that against the backdrop of forty years of corruption and military rule in Nigeria, the return to civilian rule in 1999 was seen as a great opportunity. What was on offer was a range of political projects from the redefinition of Nigeria federation, to regional autonomy and resource control, to a return to shari’a. If Boko Haram invokes a return to a republic of virtue and the ideals of dar al-Islam, MEND proclaims the rhetoric of a renovated civic nationalism, of a new federalism and of community rights. Both are instances of what Nancy Fraser (2000) calls “the politics of recognition”. Each also reflects a common relation to the state: in both cases pre-existing armed groups were deployed (and armed) at a crucial juncture by the political classes for violent electoral purposes, but in each case the militants felt betrayed when their goals (implementation of religious conviction, payments for services rendered and so on) were not met. But each took form on the larger canvas of the political ecology of an oil state and what Dan Slater calls the “provisioning pacts” constituted by the operations of what I call the “logics of oil” (nationalization and fiscal federalism) both which have operated to produce a vast class of alienated youth excluded by all forms of authority: from the market order, from the state, from customary (chiefly) rule, and religious authority. It is from these dynamics that the two insurgencies emerged and took form.

About the Speaker
Michael J. Watts is Professor of Geography, and Director of Development Studies at the University of California, Berkeley where he has taught for thirty years. He served as the Director of the Institute of International Studies at Berkeley from 1994-2004. His research has addressed a number of development issues especially food security, resource development and land reform in Africa, South Asia and Vietnam. Over the last twenty years Watts has written extensively on the oil industry, especially in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea; his most recent book is “The Curse of the Black Gold: Fifty Years of Oil in the Niger Delta” with photographer Ed Kashi. Watts has focused on the political ecology of oil in West Africa and on the relations between oil – understood materially, biophysically, socially and symbolically – and the field of conflict in Nigeria in particular. One aspect of this research program is to understand the relations between oil and the rise of an insurgency across the Niger delta oilfields. He was a Guggenheim fellow in 2003 and was awarded the Victoria Medal by the Royal Geographical Society in 2004. He has consulted for a number of development agencies including the United Nations and other development organizations and has provided expert testimony for governmental and other agencies. He was educated at University College London and the University of Michigan and has held visiting appointments at the Smithsonian Institution, Bergen, Bologna, and London. He serves on the Board of Advisors of a number of non-profits including Food First and the Pacific Institute. He is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Social Science Research Council.


Why the war ended in Somaliland but continued in Somalia

Why war ended in Somaliland but continued in Somalia: A political settlements approach
Sarah Phillips – University of Sydney
Lecture Theatre 2, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
Tuesday, 6 May, 2014 – 15:00 to 16:00
The case of Somaliland offers insights into why some domestic power struggles – including violent ones – build the foundations for relative political order while others perpetuate cycles of economic malaise and political violence. This session will look at why large-scale violence was resolved in the internationally unrecognised ‘Republic of Somaliland’ but not in the rest of Somalia. It will argue that there were three particularly important factors at play: a domestically-funded peace process that motivated cooperation among elites; Somalilanders’ conscious desire for an enclave of peace within the surrounding turmoil; and the fact that there was a history of quality secondary education being available to at least some within Somaliland, which helped to provide critical leadership skills among select elites.

Seminar, Friday, 2 May 2014 at 2.30 in Seminar Room A, Coombs, ANU



Integrating work and family life in sub-Saharan Africa

Zitha Mokomane

Chief Research Specialist

Human and Social Development Programme

Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa


The challenges of integrating work and family life are part of everyday reality for the majority of working families across the world. However much of the research and policy dialogue in this area has been taking place in Western countries, resulting in paucity of cross-cultural and comparative work on the subject and limiting the extent to which generalisations can be made based on conclusions of Western studies. Drawing on one of the first systematic efforts to bridge this research gap—a book entitled Work-Family Interface in sub-Saharan Africa:  Challenges and Responses (Z. Mokomane (Ed.), Springer, 2014)—this seminar will present insights into the opportunities and constraints of workers with family responsibilities in sub-Saharan Africa. Specific focus will be on factors underlying work-family conflict in the region; impact of the conflict on families; and current coping strategies. . A plausible roadmap for future research and policymaking in the area of work-family interface in the region will also be discussed.