David Coplan (Wits, Emeritus) takes us on a journey from New York to Soweto and into the making of his ethnographic studies of music and popular culture in West and South(ern) Africa. Coplan then turns to his recent book about The Bassline jazz club in Johannesburg. The interview concludes with insights from his new research on African borderlands and its contributions to global Border Theory.
Dr. Alcinda Honwana on the struggles of young Africans, the condition of “waithood”—a state of limbo between childhood and adulthood—and their creative engagements with everyday life. She reflects on the art and ethics of oral interviewing in Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia, and concludes with a hopeful vision of young women and men as a force for positive change in Africa and beyond.
Part of a podcast series in collaboration with the U.S. African Studies Association.
Anthropologist Rosemarie Mwaipopo (U. of Dar es Salaam) on artisanal and small-scale mining in Tanzania. She discusses the roles of women;grassroots dimensions, including cultural and gender dynamics; and government policies. The interview concludes with a comparative look at small-scale mining in Africa.
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.
Hlonipha Mokoena (Anthropology, Columbia U.) on her new book: Magema Fuze: The Making of a Kholwa Intellectual (2011). Explains the rise of a black intelligentsia in 19th- and early 20th-century South Africa through the remarkable life of Fuze, the first Zulu-speaker to publish a book in the language: Abantu Abamnyama Lapa Bavela Ngakona / The Black People and Whence They Came.
Dorothy Hodgson (Anthropology, Rutgers) on Maasai pastoralists in Tanzania, with a focus on the experiences and perspectives of women. She discusses the intersections of gender, ethnicity, and Christianity, and then turns to the subject of her new book, Being Maasai, Becoming Indigenous, which explores local activists’ engagement with the transnational indigenous rights movement.
Dr. Robert Hitchcock (chair of Anthropology at MSU) on San people’s struggles in southern Africa’s Kalahari region. Focus is on government-San relations; San communities’ local and international quest for empowerment and human rights; and images of the San in film. Hitchcock concludes with an assessment of the impact of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project on the region.
Anthropologist Mara Leichtman (MSU) on religion, migration, and politics. Leichtman unveils her new book New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal (co-edited with Mamadou Diouf). She then discusses transnational Shi’a Islam in Dakar among Lebanese migrants and Senegalese converts, and in London at the Al-Khoei Foundation. A fine example of why we cannot properly analyze “globalization” without including Africa.
Bill Derman (Anthropology, MSU) talks about his recent volume on Conflicts Over Land and Water in Africa (2007). He examines the role of government policies, local farmers, and chiefs in land reform in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Derman then shares his observations of refugee flows, and points to the sensitive position of researchers working in the changing political context of southern Africa.
Rita El-Khayat (University of Chieti, Italy) is an anthropologist, psychiatrist, novelist and poet from Morocco. Guest host is Professor Safoi Babana-Hampton (MSU). El-Khayat describes her work on North African women; the study and practice of psychiatry; and the importance of breaking down barriers through cultural mixing (métissage). The interview took place during the conference “Muslims, Race, and the Public Sphere” recently hosted by the Muslim Studies Program at MSU.