55-ая Конференция Ассоциации африканских исследований (Филадельфия, Пенсильвания)
“Research Frontiers in the Study of Africa”
Program Committee Chairs:
Staffan I. Lindberg, University of Gothenburg Sweden; University of Florida
Tejumola Olaniyan, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Local Arrangements Committee Chair
Richard M. Shain, Philadelphia University
The ASA Annual Meeting is the largest gathering of Africanist scholars in the world. With an attendance of almost 2,000 scholars and professionals, the conference offers more than 200 panels and roundtables, scholarly and professional plenary and institutional events, awards and prizes, as well as discussion groups, an international exhibit hall, and an on-demand film to appreciate the teaching, research, and professional results of Africanist scholars and that of their colleagues. The Annual Meeting is held in cooperation with major colleges, universities and museums in different regions of North America and attracts participants from North and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe.
A few years ago, the ASA marked a half-century of its active devotion to the production and dissemination of knowledge on and about Africa. This year, the Annual Meeting recognizes that the study of Africa has become immensely rich and varied. All achievements and challenges considered, the study of Africa has matured.
Maturity, however, is not a destination but a point of departure. It is that most consequential moment at which a truly (re)defining quest begins. Let us boldly engage this task and therefore think big and beyond—beyond the attractions of the scholarship of immediacy and near-vision, the comfort of easy oppositions, the satisfaction with basic-level breakthroughs, and the cultivated fear of optimism or of pessimism. It is with this mindset that we task you, our colleagues, to set out to explore what are and should be “Research Frontiers in the Study of Africa.”
Studying Africa often comes with an acute consciousness of challenges both in the societies we study, and in the immediate institutional contexts in which we do our work. That consciousness is justified, but it often consigns us to onlymuted joys when we in fact ought to allow ourselves more. Africa continues to be compelling as both subject and object of knowledge, thanks to the composite of the profound transformations currently going on, the immense creativity of the people, and the innumerable challenges of diverse local and global origins that frame those developments. This dynamism has tasked and frayed our theories, not because the continent is strange or abnormal but because our theories and methods could be much more supple, more vibrant, and more educated. This situation calls for thinking at the limits, at the frontiers, and beyond, and here are some questions to start with:
Where are the research frontiers in our different fields today?
Which frontiers have only just been opened and will soon emerge as major researchfields?
What is a research frontier and under what academic, funding, social, and political contexts is it created?
How are research frontiers consolidated, made hegemonic or subordinate, and disarticulated?
By which means are we advancing the frontiers in developing our methods of data collection and analysis?
How do we work—and thrive—at the frontier at a time of diminishing resources?
Let us collectively begin to explore these issues and many more at the 2012 ASA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.
Please contact the African Studies Association secretariat at email@example.com.