Decolonizing the University: Conversations across the Creek

Friday, 09 October 2020, 1–2pm, Online webinar (registration required)

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.

Register here

Speakers

Dr Ibrahim Abraham (Humanities Research Centre)
Dr Karo Moret Miranda (School of History)
Ms Maeve Powell (Crawford School)
Mr Sam Provost (Fenner School)

ANU Africa Network Website Relaunch

Featured

Seven years after this website was created by David Lucas, the ANU Africa Network website has been renovated and relaunched as part of the DFAT-funded project to increase awareness of Africa and African studies in the ANU and the ACT.

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 theses on 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.

As the project to increase awareness of Africa and African studies in the ANU and the ACT continues into next year, this website will be an important tool in organizing and promoting the study of Africa.

Cheeseman on How to Rig an Election and Get Away with It.

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.”

Nic Cheeseman visited the ANU in 2018.

ANU International Strategy: Africa and the Middle East

Updates in Bold

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 ‘regional.plans@anu.edu.au’ address or by emailing the panel chair, Jo Ford, or herself. 

Bryce and Gillard on Women and Leadership by Gillard and Okonjo-Iweala

ANU/CANBERRA TIMES MEET THE AUTHOR

‘In this virtual Meet the Author live event, Julia Gillard and Quentin Bryce discuss Julia’s new book, co-authored with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Women and Leadership.

An inspirational and practical book written by two high-achieving women, sharing the experience and advice of some of our most extraordinary women leaders, in their own words.
 

Jul 15, 2020 06:00 PM in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney’

To register see  https://www.anu.edu.au/events/virtual-live-event-in-conversation-with-julia-gillard

 OR https://anu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nGk8DDYyR0yLvAnBz-lKFA

Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s 2017 MITCHELL ORATION at ANU 

“Development: towards 21st century approaches

Head of the ANU’s Department of Demography.

 

 

 

The Year 2020, COVID-19 and Elections in Africa

If you are from ANU, UC, or any other ACT institution or organisation and wish to share your research please send details to david.lucas@anu.edu.au

Here is a piece from Ernest Akuamoah (School of Politics and International Relations, ANU)

Abstract

“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

AFRICA THE CONTINENT OF THE FUTURE

This report is from Mrs Maureen Hickman, President of the Royal Commonwealth Society (ACT Branch) who took over from Colin Milner (History, RSSS ANU) earlier this year. Maureen is also the Editor of the RCS Newsletter from which this piece is reproduced.

“By 2050, Africa will have 2.4 billion people, a middle class of one billion, and every fourth person on earthwill be in Africa, figures that might ‘excite or frighten—
but cannot be ignored’, according to H.E. Isayia Kabira,
High Commissioner for Kenya. Speaking at the Commonwealth Dinner in March, Mr
Kabira added, ‘if you are thinking about the future, you should be thinking about Africa.’
‘Our challenges today are the opportunities of tomorrow.’

Describing Africa as ‘the continent of the future’
whatever you read or hear about it, Mr Kabira said
That many people have asked him where he gets ‘all
this optimism about the Dark Continent’. But what he
sees is opportunity to find alternate ways to deal with
problems such as providing clean renewable energy
where there is no electricity, and, at a
local level, where there are no credit
cards, teaching people how to use their
mobile phones to transfer money.

Having achieved ‘the political kingdom’
of freedom, with the majority of African
nations under democratic rule ‘with a
smooth handover of power and a zero
tolerance of military coups’ what Africa
is now seeking is ‘the economic kingdom’.
He continued,
‘Africa today is home to 30 per cent of
the world’s natural resources; Australia
has invested over $40 billion in 700 projects
in the extractives sector, and, to
further consolidate our economic gains,
the African Continental Free Trade
Agreement is now in its operational
phase, making it much easier to trade
with ourselves and with the world.’
Mr Kabira acknowledged that in 30 years time, a
population of 2.4 billion people would need to be fed.
But this, he sees as yet another opportunity to satisfy
that need and ‘get more money into the pockets of
farmers’, encouraged by the Kiswahili saying: Mfuata
nyuki hakosi asali—one who follows the bees will
never fail to get honey (never mind the occasional
sting).”

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.