Peter Limb (Michigan State University) on the life and writings of Dr. Alfred Bitini Xuma, President-General of the African National Congress (1940-49) and first black physician in Johannesburg. Limb discusses his just published book bringing together Xuma’s autobiography, correspondence, essays and speeches on health, politics, crime, beer, the pass laws, and the rights of African women.
Tom Turner (DR Congo country specialist, Amnesty International USA) on the politics of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, focusing on The Congo Wars and their complex political, economic and international dimensions; the obstacles to peace; and the ambiguities of the “Kony 2012” campaign.
David Newbury (Smith College) on the historical dynamics of kingship, legitimacy and violence in Central and East Africa, focusing on Alison Des Forges’s Defeat is the Only Bad News: Rwanda under Musinga, 1896-1931 and The Land beyond the Mists: Essays on Identity & Authority in Precolonial Congo & Rwanda. He deconstructs static views of royal dynasties/chronologies, comments on the legacy of Des Forges, and discusses changes in the writing of African history.
Anthropologist Richard Werbner (University of Manchester) on the similarity between Freud and African wisdom diviners, ethnographic filmmaking in southern Africa, and the place of ‘Holy Hustlers’ (pentecostal churches and prophecy in Botswana) — the subject of his latest book – in the public sphere.
Historians Gwendolyn Midlo Hall and Walter Hawthorne on Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network — a digital history project of Matrix and the MSU History Department funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. They discuss the origins of the ASDN, intellectual and technological challenges, and the wider significance of building a freely accessible web database on the identities of enslaved people in the Atlantic World.
Jacob Dlamini, South African author, journalist, and historian, on his best-selling book Native Nostalgia, a memoir that challenges conventional struggle narratives. He also discusses the social and political history of Kruger National Park and a new research project on collaborators of the apartheid security forces.
Aili Mari Tripp (U. of Wisconsin – Madison and ASA President) on African women’s movements and paradoxes of power in Museveni’s Uganda. Includes discussion of democratization and highlights the need for the African Studies Association to challenge the U.S. government’s draconian cuts to international education. With guest host Prof. Kiki Edozie (International Relations, Michigan State).
Eddie Daniels and Christine Root on spending a lifetime working for African liberation; Daniels in South Africa, where he was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island (1964-79), and Root in the U.S. as Associate Director of the Washington Office on Africa in solidarity with such struggles. The African Activist Archive preserves records and memories of ordinary Americans’ support for Africans’ fight against colonialism and apartheid.
Dr. Gary Morgan, MSU Museum Director, on African masks and the Great Dance (Gule Wamkulu) in Chewa society, Malawi. Discusses origins and characters of Gule Wamkulu, and gender, political, educational and health aspects of masks and their future in a globalizing world. Accompanies MSU exhibition on masks and the first major book on Gule Wamkulu with Claude Boucher of KuNgoni Centre of Culture and Art, Mua, Malawi.
Photo: Greya character (copyright Gary Morgan)
Derek Peterson (University of Michigan) on the politics and practice of archives in East Africa, the precarious state of some archives, and exciting possibilities of preservation and digitization at Mountains of the Moon University in Uganda; “homespun” historians in Recasting the African Past and Mau Mau prisons in Kenya; and his forthcoming book Pilgrims & Patriots: Conversion, Dissent, & the Making of Civil Societies in East Africa.