Category Archives: News

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!

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:

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

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,, 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 and

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!

2014 Elliot Skinner Book Award

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

The winner of this year’s book award is Jemima Pierre’s The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race (2013, University of Chicago Press).

This year’s honorable mention goes to Wyatt MacGaffey’s book Chiefs, Priests, and Praise Singers (2013, University of Virginia Press).

Congratulations to Dr. Pierre and Dr. MacGaffey!

2014 Graduate and Undergraduate Paper Awards and Honorable Mentions

After careful review of many great submissions, we are pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 AfAA Graduate and Undergraduate Paper Awards.

The winner of this year’s Bennetta Jules-Rosette Graduate Essay Award is Uwa Oduwa of Georgetown University.  Uwa’s master’s thesis, “Rethinking Study Abroad: Academic Exchange in Developing Nations and the Case for Nigeria,” is an insightful examination of study-abroad programs and their assessment by educational professionals. The thesis focuses on programs hosted in Nigeria and draws upon a wide range of scholarship: from Africanist and diasporic studies to network theory, cosmopolitanism, and education research. Uwa synthesized survey data with a contextual study of Nigerian higher education to conclude that raising the prominence of Africa-based faculty also increases student and educational exchanges. The study offers great promise for expanding the role of African centers of higher education within academic and global networks.

The winner of this year’s Nancy “Penny” Schwartz Undergraduate Essay Award is Alexis Coopersmith of the University of California, San Diego, for her honors thesis “Pathways to Power: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Wangari Maathai, and the African Woman’s Pursuit of Political Power.”  Alexis’ thesis is an impressive work of anthropological, sociological, and political analysis. She develops an innovative grounded-theory approach for the study of women’s political power and methodically applies her theory to the life stories of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Wangari Maathai. The thesis offers new models of social change applicable to Africanist anthropology, feminist and gender studies, political sociology, and beyond. The strength of the thesis resulted in Alexis being offered an internship with a UN task force. She is currently working with a the UN in Malawi, collecting ethnographic data, and putting her theories to practice. Alexis’s thesis also won awards from the African and African American Studies Research Center (AAASRC) and the Department of Sociology at UCSD.

Sarah Rayzl Lansky of Macalester College is the recipient of this year’s undergraduate paper honorable mention for her paper ” My Brother Before Me: The Role and Experience of Local Humanitarian Aid Workers In Eastern Cameroon.”  Sarah Lansky’s piece contains a strong and extensive fieldwork component, including interviews and participant observation of humanitarian workers in Cameroon. The thesis shines an ethnographic lens upon humanitarian work, and the ways in which aid workers shape global flows, international relations, refugee cultures, and migration. Sarah also explores how local agents of humanitarian organizations contribute to building the African middle class.

Congratulations to all our awardees on their great work!

Submit your nominees for the AfAA 2014 Graduate and Undergraduate Paper Awards!

The Association for Africanist Anthropology requests submissions of outstanding graduate and undergraduate papers for our annual awards, to be presented during the 2014 AfAA reception at the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association, Dec. 3-7, 2014 in Washington, D.C.  This year’s deadline for submissions is June 30.

Details about each award and how to submit can be found here.

We look forward to reading your (and your students’) submissions!

Job openings in African Studies at the University of Florida

Search committees in African Studies at the University of Florida are looking to hire senior faculty for three positions, one in comparative politics/Africa and two in Public Health and Social Change in Africa.  See full posting below from Leonardo Villalón and Michael Bernhard.


Dear Colleagues:

We are jointly writing to you as the chairs of two search committees looking to hire senior faculty in African Studies at the University of Florida.  The first of these positions is a comparative politics/Africa position in the UF Department of Political Science.   The second committee seeks to fill two positions in the thematic area of “Public Health and Social Change in Africa,” as part of a package of preeminence hires at the university.   We seek to hire two senior scholars in Political Science, History, Anthropology, Sociology, or Geography.

We are looking to hire associate or full professors with active and highly visible research agendas, a history of fieldwork in Africa, and the ability to direct PhD dissertations.  With regard to the general position we are open to candidates with a broad range of interests in African Politics and a variety of research methods.  For the two positions in Public Health and Social Change we seek senior scholars who work on the impact of social change on public health, or vice versa.  Among the potential areas of interest could be the impact of disease, climate change, war or other forms of conflict, migration, natural disasters, globalization, state-building, or regime change on public health.  Similarly scholars looking at public health policy and how that has affected African development are also welcome.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is home to one of the nation’s leading Centers for African Studies, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center program.  The Center has over 100 affiliated teaching and research faculty in a wide variety of fields, across several colleges and departments spanning the width and breath of the sciences, professional schools, the social sciences and the humanities.  The hiring of three senior scholars in the field of African Studies represents a significant commitment by the University of Florida to maintain a position of leadership in the study of Africa globally and in the United States.

If you are interested in learning more about the jobs please feel free to contact us for further information.  Additionally, if you would please circulate our letter and the attached ads to colleagues whom you think might be interested, we would be appreciative.

Comparative Politics/Africa (rank open):

Public Health and Social Change in Africa (Aso/Full Prof):



Leonardo Villalón

Dean of the International Center and Professor of Political Science


Michael Bernhard

Ehrlich Professor of Political Science



Department of Political Science University of Florida

PO Box 117325 Anderson Hall

Gainesville, FL 32611

tel: 352.273.2387 fax: 352.392.8127

2013 Elliot Skinner Book Award

After careful consideration of many exciting contributions, AfAA is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Elliot Skinner Book Award!  We received so many great submissions this year that we have decided to award two prizes.
Steven Feld’s book Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra: Five Musical Years in Ghana (2012, Duke University Press), is an ethnography documenting the importance of Ghanian musicians in relationship to the world jazz scene. The $1,000 award money will go to the musicians in Accra with whom Dr. Feld works.
Jennie Burnet’s book Genocide Lives in Us: Women, Memory, and Silence in Rwanda (2012, University of Wisconsin Press) traces the roles of women in the processes of memory, silence, and justice involved in the reconciliation processes following the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Congratulations to Dr. Feld and Dr. Burnet!