2016 Graduate and Undergraduate Paper Awards and Honorable Mentions

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 AfAA Student Paper Awards. Once again, we received strong submissions for both awards. Thank you to all Board Members who submitted and recommended papers.

In particular, we would like to acknowledge the Macalester College Department of Anthropology on the consistently high quality of their submissions over the past several years. This year, a Macalester student will receive the Nancy “Penny” Schwartz Undergraduate Essay Award, and we look forward to recognizing the department in their home state of Minnesota. As a result, the undergraduate award winner should be able to attend the meetings in Minneapolis without any travel cost.

The names of the award winners and the honorable mentions are listed below.

Bennetta Jules-Rosette Graduate Essay Award
($500 cash award for winner)

Winner: Eduardo Santana (University of California San Diego), “The Black Roots of Argentine Tango: Embodied Identities in the Dancing Diaspora” (Nominated by Ivan Evans, University of California San Diego)
Eduardo Santana’s theoretically rich essay explores the African roots of Tango in terms of theories of embodiment and performance. He touches upon a broad range of literature on the Black Atlantic and problematizes Tango as seen from perspectives of global scholarship. He addresses the diasporic theories of Robert Farris Thompson and Paul Gilroy in juxtaposition with both the writings and performances of Argentinian and Angolan Tango masters. The broad theoretical scope of his research is noteworthy, and his innovative contributions to studies of communication, dance, and cosmopolitanism are commendable.

Honorable Mention: Carrie McLachlin Leslie (University of Oklahoma), “African Women’s Resistance and the Reclamation of their Environment” (Nominated by Betty Harris, University of Oklahoma)
Carrie McLachlin Leslie’s essay addresses African environmentalism, including Kenya’s Greenbelt movement, in terms of the contributions of women to environmental change and preservation across the African continent. Comparative examples are drawn from a broad range of countries, highlighting Kenya, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others. The paper also advocates approaches to sustainable energy reforms across the African continent. It offers a strong model of applied anthropological research.

Nancy “Penny” Schwartz Undergraduate Essay Award
($100 cash award for winner + conference registration)

Winner: Nana Charlene Elfreda Adubea Toa-Kwapong (Macalester College), “Alienation,(Re)integration or Something in Between: Return Migration to Accra, Ghana and Cultural Liminality” (Nominated by Olga González, Macalester College)
Nana Charlene Elfreda Adubea Toa-Kwapong, also known as Dubie, breaks new ground in her study of African migrants who return to their homes in Ghana. She draws upon extensive field research and in-depth interviews with returning immigrants, who narrate their experiences abroad and their perceptions of return. After returning to Ghana, they are often viewed as foreigners and outsiders who have to readjust to their home cultures. In summarizing their narratives, she states: “Return is about more than being in Ghana or Africa at all times – it is about reconnecting with the motherland.” The migrants return with a Pan-African perception of their experiences. This essay is an excellent exploration of diasporic studies seen from an innovative and original perspective that examines migration as a complete circuit.

Honorable Mention: Jamie Franzese (University of Oklahoma), “Democratization and Women’s Issues: A Comparative Analysis of Tunisia and Egypt” (Nominated by Betty Harris, University of Oklahoma)
Jamie Franzese’s essay examines women’s empowerment in relation to the Arab Spring protest movements of 2011. The essay provides a multifaceted comparison of political participation, occurrences of gendered violence, women’s health resources, and advocacy networks in Tunisia and Egypt. Jamie argues that, although democratic institutions are much stronger in Tunisia than in Egypt, this fact does not translate into noticeable improvements in gender equality. We commend this comparative approach to gender studies and political anthropology.

Congratulations to all the award winners and honorable mentions, and we look forward to seeing everyone in Minneapolis.

AfAA Awards for 2016!

Please consider nominating yourself, a colleague and/or student for an AfAA award. Contributions from all sub-fields of anthropology are welcome. The AfAA offers three annual awards:

  • the Elliott P. Skinner Book Award to honor a recent contribution that furthers the global community of Africanist scholars and the wider interests of the African continent, as exemplified in the work of Elliott P. Skinner.
  • the Bennetta Jules-Rosette Graduate Student Essay Award for outstanding graduate student essay in Africanist anthropology.
  • the Nancy “Penny” Schwartz Undergraduate Paper Award for outstanding undergraduate paper in Africanist anthropology.

For more information about these awards, please visit the AfAA Awards page.

Submission information for 2016 Annual Meetings

2015 Elliot Skinner Book Awards

After careful consideration of many exciting contributions, AfAA is pleased to announce the winner and two honorable mentions for this year’s Elliot Skinner Book Award!

The winner of this year’s award is Daniel Jordan Smith’s AIDS Doesn’t Show Its Face: Inequality, Morality, and Social Change in Nigeria (2014, University of Chicago Press).  More information about the book

The two honorable mentions go to Cati Coe for her book The Scattered Family: Parenting, African Migrants, and Global Inequality (2013, University of Chicago Press) and to Pnina Werbner for her book The Making of an African Working Class: Politics, Law, and Cultural Protest in the Manual Workers Union of Botswana (2013, Pluto Press).

Congratulations to Dr. Smith, Dr. Coe, and Dr. Werbner!

AfAA @ AAA 2015: Business Meeting, Reception, and Distinguished Lecture by Jennie Burnet

Join us on Thursday evening from 7:45-10 pm at CCC-401 in the Convention Center for the annual AfAA Reception, featuring a Distinguished Lecture by Jennie Burnet.  The lecture is titled “Ethnography in the Age of Total Bureaucratization: Consent, Ethics, and the Familiar/Strange of Government Oversight.  Burnet is the 2013 winner of the Elliott P. Skinner Book Award for Genocide Lives in Us: Women, Memory, and Silence in Rwanda. Before the lecture and reception, join us for the Business Meeting in CCC-401 from 6:45-7:45.

See the attached flyer for more details: Jennie Burnet Distinguished Lecture 2015

Job Announcement: Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College Department of Anthropology invites applications for a tenure-track appointment in sociocultural anthropology at the rank of assistant professor.  We seek a scholar-teacher whose research contributes new theoretical perspectives on cultural processes of diaspora and dislocation, including but not exclusive to the effects of forced or voluntary migration brought about by political, gendered, and ethnic violence, development projects or economic policy, as well as identity politics and processes associated with diasporic communities. Geographic area of specialization is open but should complement those presently represented in the department. The successful candidate will be firmly grounded in ethnographic research and ready to contribute to a department that teaches a four-field undergraduate curriculum.

The appointment will begin July 1, 2016 and the candidate must have PhD in hand prior to that date. Review of applications will begin October 1, 2015 and will continue until the position is filled. Submit a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information of three references via Interfolio by following this link: apply.interfolio.com/30928

With parity between male and female undergraduate students and over one quarter of the students being members of minority groups, Dartmouth is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in New England. Dartmouth College is an equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer and has a strong commitment to diversity. We strongly encourage applications from a broad spectrum of people, including women, persons of color, gay, lesbian, and transgender persons, persons with disabilities, and veterans. Dartmouth offers health insurance and other benefits to same-sex domestic partners. Information about all of Dartmouth’s benefits is available at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~hrs/benefits/index.html

Job Announcement: Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Anthropology invites applications for a tenure track, Assistant Professor in sociocultural anthropology specializing in public health, development, and/or globalization in Africa or Asia starting in August 2016. The successful candidate will have an active research program, demonstrated scholarly productivity, a strong pedagogical commitment to undergraduate education, and the capacity to teach courses, including introduction to anthropology, research methods, and upper-level courses in candidate’s area of specialization.

UNH actively creates an educational environment that fosters diversity, inclusion and quality engagement for all.  A PhD in Anthropology or closely related qualitative field is required.  We seek a scholar who can offer hands-on applied learning opportunities, make significant research contributions including publications and securing external funding, who engages interdisciplinary questions and methods and can collaborate across disciplines with other departments and programs at UNH.  We welcome candidates with skill in creating and sustaining culturally diverse constituencies in the academic environment and the ability to cultivate external relations.

Please send curriculum vita, letter of interest discussing areas of research, teaching experience and prospective courses, and the contact information of three referees via email in PDF format to Department Coordinator,[email protected], not later than November 20, 2105.  Preliminary interviews will be conducted via Skype.

The University of New Hampshire is the state’s public research university providing high-quality undergraduate programs and graduate programs of distinction.  Its primary purpose is learning: students collaborating with faculty in teaching, research, creative expression, and service.  The University of New Hampshire has a national and international agenda and holds land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant charters.  From its main Durham campus and its college in Manchester, The University serves New Hampshire and the region through continuing education, cooperative extension, cultural outreach, economic development activities, and applied research. The University seeks excellence through diversity among its administrators, faculty, staff and students.  The University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, or marital status.  Application by members of all underrepresented groups is encouraged.

African Critical Inquiry Programme announces 2015 Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards

The African Critical Inquiry Programme has named George Emeka Agbo and Ruth Sacks as recipients of the 2015 Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards. Agbo is a Nigerian doctoral student in Visual History at the University of the Western Cape. Sacks is a South African pursuing her degree through the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) at the University of the Witwatersrand. With support from ACIP’s Ivan Karp Awards, Agbo will pursue research on Photography, Facebook and Virtualisation of Resistance in Nigeria, while Sacks will complete work for her dissertation on Style Congo, Art Nouveau: Links and Ruptures between Early Belgian Modernism, the African Colony and Postcolonial Zaïre.

Founded in 2012, the African Critical Inquiry Programme (ACIP) is a partnership between the Centre for Humanities Research at University of the Western Cape in Cape Town and the Laney Graduate School of Emory University in Atlanta. Supported by donations to the Ivan Karp and Corinne Kratz Fund, the ACIP fosters thinking and working across public cultural institutions, across disciplines and fields, and across generations. It seeks to advance inquiry and debate about the roles and practice of public culture, public cultural institutions and public scholarship in shaping identities and society in Africa through an annual ACIP workshop and through the Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards, which support African doctoral students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences enrolled at South African universities.

  About George Emeka Agbo’s project: Social media has changed the ways citizens relate with the state, impacting everything from electoral practices to the organisation of mass actions against governments. George Emeka Agbo’s research project, Photography, Facebook and Virtualisation of Resistance in Nigeria, proposes that in their involvement in this cyber culture, Nigerians have created an alternative form of resistance against poor governance and social injustice through the photographic practice of image production and circulation on Facebook. He will study the ways the boundary between professional and amateur photography is broken to challenge a sociopolitical order amidst a dearth of fundamental facilities, such as electricity, internet and digital resources. The research relies on photographs shared on the social networking site, including comments made on them by Facebook users, and interviews with those who posted them. It will focus on Facebook groups such as the Nigerian Global Awakening Day Protest and the Nationwide Anti-Fuel Subsidy Removal: Strategies and Protests, both of which emerged as part of protests against the Nigerian government’s fuel subsidy removal.  Agbo’s semiotic analysis of this material will define the challenges Nigeria grapples with and examine how online protest presents possibilities for socio-political transformation. He will consider how the ontology of the image as a virtual object reflects the capability of digital technology to condition how agitations of the masses are seen in the public domain of the Internet. The study is framed theoretically and conceptually through notions of civil discourse and “cyberdigital montage.”  While the photographic image plays as a site of resistance, the interactions it produces among people are contingent upon how is it digitally created, manipulated and disseminated.

 About Ruth Sacks’ project: Ruth Sacks will use support from the Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Award for a final research trip to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to complete her project Style Congo, Art Nouveau: Links and Ruptures between Early Belgian Modernism, the African Colony and Postcolonial Zaïre. Sack’s dissertation examines the complicated role of African aesthetics in shaping modernist forms still present in the public cultures of Brussels and Kinshasa. Starting in late 19th century Belgium, she describes the entanglement of the proto-modernist Art Nouveau movement with King Leopold II’s colonial regime in the Congo. She then traces the display of Congolese objects from the colonial exhibition into the modernist museum, in order to follow them to post independence Zaïre, addressing how modernity was articulated through aesthetics in the postcolony. Her first-hand research in Kinshasa provides ways to contextualize her arguments in Africa, splintering and recasting the European frame and orientation usually brought to Art Nouveau.  Sacks has already completed archival research in Belgium and preliminary research in Kinshasa. On her return to Kinshasa she will interview local artists, arts educators, architects and museum professionals in order to gain an in-depth perspective on how public art projects, entertainment sites and exhibitions constructed a theatre of modern Africanity. She will gather visual data and multiple perspectives on the manner in which international-style modernism housed not only traditional Congolese objects, but also contemporary art commissions and designs embedded with notions of pre-colonial culture. This will allow Sacks to explore the idea of monumental sites, like l’Echangeur (1974, today a contemporary art museum) and the Mont Ngaliema museum complex (1970s), as futuristic structures encasing interiors whose logics rely on recourse to generalized notions of tribal Africa.

Information about the 2016 Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards for African Students enrolled in South African Ph.D. Programmes will be available in November 2015. The application deadline is expected to be 1 June 2016, but please check the November announcement for confirmation. For further information, see http://www.gs.emory.edu/about/special/acip.html and https://www.facebook.com/ivan.karp.corinne.kratz.fund.

2015 Graduate and Undergraduate Paper Awards and Honorable Mentions

After careful review of many great submissions, we are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 AfAA Graduate and Undergraduate Paper Awards.

Bennetta Jules-Rosette Graduate Essay Award

The winner of this year’s Bennetta Jules-Rosette Graduate Essay Award is Apostolos Andrikopoulos of the University of Amsterdam.  Apostolos’ essay, “The Process of Kinship in a Setting of Civic Inequality: West African Migrants Struggling Over Scarce Resources in Europe,” is an insightful examination of kinship patterns and international migration. The paper utilizes an ethnographic and humanistic perspective to analyze the contemporary phenomenon of transnational mobility, which is often examined primarily through a macro-sociological lens. Drawing upon ethnographic studies of African migrants in Greece, Andrikopoulos analyzes kinship patterns as a counterbalance to institutional structures of civic inequality. This paper offers strong potential for linking the history of anthropological theory with studies of migration and social change in contemporary society.

Additionally, an Honorable Mention for the Graduate Essay Award goes to Dominic Granello of the University of Oklahoma. Dominic’s paper, “BRICS, the New Development Bank, and South Africa: A Look at Changes in the Global and Regional Development Structure, and South Africa’s Role as a Regional Power,” provides an anthropologically-inflected study of international political and economic relations. Focusing on South Africa’s position in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) coalition, Granello outlines new pathways of lending and new frameworks of international partnership. BRICS elevates South Africa’s level of political influence and opens financial channels to the New Development Bank. This holds the promise of separating African and regional development from the Bretton Woods institutions. The paper makes an interesting contribution to economic anthropology.

Nancy “Penny” Schwartz Undergraduate Essay Award

Sara Yukimi Saltman of Macalester College is the winner of this year’s Nancy “Penny” Schwartz Undergraduate Essay Award.  Sara’s honors thesis, “The Grass that Grows on Top of Bodies: Women, Marriage and the Construction of Collective Narratives in Rural Rwanda,” draws upon extensive ethnographic fieldwork in southern Rwanda. Saltman presents the narratives of Rwandan women who formed an economic cooperative in the aftermath of the genocide. The research is emotionally powerful and theoretically rich. Saltman argues that women in the collective narrativize the “social idiom” of marriage in the wake of extreme social and political upheaval: “the women fulfill responsibilities as female-heads of households in the physical absence and narrative presence of husbands.” Sara has also applied her social justice focus beyond the classroom. She co-founded STRIVE, a campus group promoting classroom inclusivity and a more diverse faculty, staff, and administration.

Anna Yamamuro of the University of California, San Diego, will receive an Honorable Mention for the Undergraduate Essay Award for her paper “Student Activism in South Africa: Apartheid-Era Challenges and Lasting Effects.” Anna’s paper examines student activism in South Africa from 1976 to 2014. The study innovatively connects grade-school activism, including the well-known Soweto uprising, with activism in higher education and beyond. The paper’s theorization is solid and complex for an undergraduate essay. Yamamuro employs a dialectical model to present student activism as a cyclical process of thesis-antithesis-synthesis. She ends the paper with an examination of the current situation and the lessons that historical activism offers to the ongoing cycles of racial and educational reform and equality in South Africa.

Congratulations to all our awardees on their great work!

Putting Africa back on the map