ANU African Studies Reading Group

This report is from Ernest Akuamoah, Convenor, ANU African Studies Reading Group

Last Friday afternoon the revived ANU African Studies Reading Group held its first meeting at the Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) Building.

This resumption of the group’s activities was successful in many ways. We had fifteen (15) people in attendance, including staff and postgrads, from a pleasing wide range of academic disciplines such as Anthropology, Astrophysics, Demography, Development Studies, Environment, Engineering, History, Linguistics, Political Science and Public Policy. Perhaps for the first time, participants  came from University of Canberra (UC) and the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA). The majority of participants were from Africa, representing a good spread of African countries. 

Central to the discussion was the best way to promote African studies at ANU. Some attendees emphasized the need to engage in more academic-related activities (e.g., introducing more African-related courses) rather than social events. On the other hand, others were of the view that the two should not be mutually exclusive—noting that such strict dichotomy may be problematic. With regards to academic activities, there was a suggestion about proposing panels on African studies for conferences held at ANU. 

Attention was drawn to the weblog at  https://africanetwork.weblogs.anu.edu.au/ and to the 2022  report on Studying Africa in Australia by Ibrahim Abraham and Rocco Weglarz. See

https://africanetwork.weblogs.anu.edu.au/2022/05/16/studying-africa-in-australia-report-and-public-lecture/

It is our hope that we can work together to move African studies forward. 

More info about our next meeting will be communicated soon. Have a great week!

 

Best, Ernest

 

Background

This is background information for the resumption of the Reading Group on the 12th August. See the post at https://africanetwork.weblogs.anu.edu.au/wp-admin/post.php?post=10310&action=edit 

Basically  generally Africa at the ANU has gone backwards over the past decade 

The quote below is from the AAUN Annual Report
(see http://aaun.edu.au/annual-reports/ )

‘Australia Africa Conference 2014 July 15-16 2014.
The Australia Africa Conference 2014 was held at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, with the theme “Promoting Strategic Engagement and Partnership between Government, Academic and Business.” It was jointly hosted by the African Diplomatic Corps in Canberra, the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN), the Australia Africa Business Council (NSW and ACT chapters) and the Crawford School at the Australian National University. More than 150 participants attended, including representatives from government and business in both Australia and Africa.’

Looking at the hosts (in bold above) in reverse order:

The Crawford School. The 2014 conference was the last conference when the ANU received financial support from AusAID (now DFAT). The Crawford School was unable to provide a convenor in 2015.

Another funding source for functions was PARSA which no longer exists.

The Australia Africa Business Council (NSW and ACT chapters)
These Chapters no longer exist

African Diplomatic Corps in Canberra
There are 16 African missions in Canberra (see https://africanetwork.weblogs.anu.edu.au/diplomacy/ ) Visits by ANUASA (ANU African Students’ Association) to these missions have ceased. ANUASA  no longer functions.\ T

In the past the ANU has benefited from the Head of Missions, for example  the previous High Commissioner of Kenya, His Excellency Mr. Isaiya Kabira, formerly the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps. 

The ANU no longer holds a lunch for African Heads of Missions.

Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN). The AAUN is not a member of the AAUN, and filled the gap created by the lack of interest by the Crawford School in 2015. However, the ANU will be co-hosting the AAUN Annual Forum in October, and will be sponsoring part of the program. See
http://aaun.edu.au/2022/01/aaun-annual-australia-forum-and-agm-2021-2/

Reading Group Resumes

From Ernest Akuamoah

‘Hi all,

After a long break, the ANU’s African Studies Reading Group resumes with its first meeting dubbed “Meet and Greet”. The goal is to bring together researchers across various academic disciplines and others with an interest in Africa, to engage in exchanging ideas and networking.

In line with this, we will have David Lucas leading a discussion on the future of Africa at the ANU while Adegboyega Adenarin will talk briefly about the importance of networking. It’s our hope that this interaction will result in future collaborations and mentoring.

This initial meeting will also consider plans for this semester. Tentatively future meetings are planned for the second Friday of each month (more details will be provided soon).

There will be light refreshments and tea, coffee and soft drinks, at the beginning and during the meeting.

Looking forward to seeing you all. Feel free to invite others.

Date and Time: Friday August 12 4:30-6PM

Presentation: Room 2.56, RSSS Building, ANU, 146 Ellery Crescent, Acton

Inquiries to: ernest.akuamoah@anu.edu.au or 0499347397

Transport and Parking: Pay Parking until 5pm is required for those who don’t have ANU parking permits.
One convenient option is the Baldessin Parking station: walk down to Ellery Crescent. https://www.anu.edu.au/files/advisory/ANU%20Campus%20Map%202019.pdf

Best wishes,
Ernest

DFAT short course on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Africa

This is a DFAT Professional Short Course. Although applications for this course have already closed, Additional courses (soon to be advertised) will be open to participants from other African countries in 2023.

FOR INFORMATION ONLY

This forthcoming course is available to participants from the following countries  from region 2 : Algeria, Burundi, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda

Conveners: Dr Steve Crimp & Dr Matthew Colloff

‘Africa is highly sensitive to both existing climate variability and projected climate change. As a result, governments, industries and communities throughout Africa will be increasingly required to respond to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.’

The ANU Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions (ICEDS) has developed this intensive 6‑week online course to provide professionals employed in government, non-government organisations (NGOs) and the private sector in Africa with a synoptic and contextual understanding of climate change adaptation and mitigation options.

 

 

ANU’S Africa Collection

Bernie Baffour and David Lucas recently visited Claire Sheridan, Senior Collections Advisor, ANU, and she has given this update on the largely forgotten ANU African Collection:

‘The ANU Collections team recently re-located the London Collection of African Artefacts (primarily containing material from Nigeria, Ghana and Benin, collected between 1901-1920 by Arthur London) from Kioloa Coastal Campus to the ANU Campus in preparation for conservation work, cataloguing and re-boxing. Our next step will be to start a research project on the Collection’s provenance and assess the significance of this material so that we can determine the future of this Collection at the ANU.’

 

African Languages at ANU

From the webpage for Dr Rosey Billington https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/billington-r

‘I have also undertaken research on the phonetics and phonology of Lopit, an Eastern Nilotic language of South Sudan.’ ‘I maintain an interest in research on the phonetic characteristics of English varieties in Australia, and in creole languages of the Pacific and Africa.’

Her publications include Moodie, Jonathan & Billington, Rosey 2020, A grammar of Lopit: An Eastern Nilotic language of South Sudan , Brill, Leiden ; Boston.

Dr Billington “welcomes proposals for Honours/Masters research’ .. ‘including “Phonetics and phonology of Nilotic languages of East Africa

Current student projects include Shubo Li, Honours Thesis (in progress), The phonetics and phonology of the Kufo language, 

More about the work of Shubo Li and Keira Mullan on the Kufo language is available at: https://www.dynamicsoflanguage.edu.au/news-and-media/latest-headlines/article/?id=pursuing-a-long-held-dream-of-language-preservation

Dr Liang Chen returns to the University of Botswana

ANU alumnus Dr Liang Chen has returned to the University of Botswana in mid-July. He spent the first semester in Gaberone teaching four courses in the Chinese Studies program there. In the second semester he plans to undertake anthropological research on in-migrants and immigrants in the Gaberone District. 

Details of Dr Liang’s ANU seminar on ‘God, Development, and Technology Transfer: Medicated Ethics between Chinese and Ethiopians’ were posted on this blog in 13/4/2021. 

His spouse Naijing Liu is completing her doctorate in linguistics at the ANU, Her research interests, which she hopes to continue in Botswana, include the documentation of endangered languages. 

David Pocock elected to Senate

‘Senator Pocock is the first territory senator not from one of the two major parties.

The ACT has two Senate seats.

‘When announcing his candidacy, he said the choice to run as an independent, rather than join an established party, was an easy one, hinging his campaign on person-led politics intended to support Canberrans over political parties.’

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-14/david-pocock-independent-wins-act-senate-unseats-zed-seselja/101149606

From https://www.davidpocock.com/bio

‘David grew up on a farm outside of Gweru, Zimbabwe and began playing rugby at school at the age of 8. In 2001, at 14, David and his family relocated to Brisbane after their farm was taken in Zimbabwe government’s land reform.’

In 2008, ‘David co-founded EightyTwenty Vision, a charitable foundation in partnership with a rural Zimbabwean community development organisation with a focus on improving maternal health, food and water security for the underprivileged community of Nkayi in Zimbabwe. ‘

‘In 2017 David took a year long sabbatical away from Australian rugby. This was the year EightyTwenty Vision handed over their partnership to a larger NGO who had the capacity to scale up the project. He played two seasons with the Panasonic Wild Knights in the Japanese Top League. Between these two seasons David and Emma spent seven months living and working on a farm in rural Zimbabwe, exploring the potential for a project that could sit at the intersection of agriculture, conservation and community development.’

‘Also during 2020 David and his youngest brother, Steve, co-founded Rangelands Restoration Trust – a regenerative agriculture project working to build nature-based climate solutions, adaptation and resilience in rural southern Zimbabwe. The Rangelands Restoration Trust works to restore ecosystems and partner with people who depend on them to improve their livelihoods. During the pandemic, David spent much of 2021 on the ground in Zimbabwe helping implement the early stages of Rangelands work toward an ambitious model that could be implemented at scale across sub-Saharan Africa. The model would secure space for wildlife, improve degraded landscapes and ensure the benefits flow to the communities living within and alongside these remaining wild places. ‘


Town Hall – ANU International Strategy Update (26 May)

The ANU held a Town Hall style meeting on 26 May 2022 to discuss The ANU’s International Strategy Update. The new website was most impressive but is currently only available internally.

One question on  the Zoom chat was put to Brooke Logan who had said  that some updated regional plans had been sent to Regional Institutes. The questioner pointed out  Africa does not have an Institute or a Centre.

From the graphics could be seen that Africa was lacking in many areas, including an absence of student exchanges.