Category: African Studies

African Humanities Scholar Musila at UGA


Musila.pngThe intersection of current events that hold popular fascination with wider cultural truths and observations is a societal phenomenon tailor-made for our finest scholars and critics. What our stories, and the way we tell them, say about us can offer insights about the direction of a culture toward honesty about itself.

This week, the African Studies Institute will host one of the great young African cultural scholars, Grace Ahingula Musila, American Council of Learned Societies and African Studies Association Presidential Fellow:

Musila's visit to UGA includes a public lecture Nov. 12 at noon in Room 142 of the Tate Center.

The lecture, "Sex, Gender and the ‘Criminal State' in the Julie Ward Murder in Kenya," will focus on the 1988 murder of a British tourist at the Maasai Game Reserve in Kenya and "the multiple strands of ideas and interests that were inscribed on the Julie Ward murder and what these reveal about cultural productions of truth, knowledge and social imaginaries in Kenya and Britain," Musila said.

Musila teaches in the English department of Stellenbosch University in South Africa. She holds a doctorate in African literature, and her research interests include East African and Southern African literatures, popular culture and gender studies.

A great program that brings important scholars to campus, The African Studies Association Presidential Fellows Program was instituted in 2010 with the objective of inviting outstanding Africa-based scholars to attend the ASA annual meeting and spend time at African studies programs and centers in the U.S. 

This lecture will be a terrific opportunity to learn about the Ward case from a scholar who is untangling some of the deep complexities of the post-colonial era. 

Focus on the faculty: Akinloye Ojo


Ojo_Akinloye, with chalkboardA very nice Q & A feature on the UGA homepage with Franklin College associate professor of comparative literature and director of the African Studies Institute, Akinloye Ojo:

What are your favorite courses and why?
I love teaching the first-year Yoruba language and culture classes (YORB 1010 and 1020) because of the transformation that occurs in students’ language proficiency and cultural awareness. I particularly enjoy watching my students go from worried novice speakers to poised intermediate level speakers of the Yoruba language after just two semesters. In some exceptional cases, you end up with someone with near-native ability. We have had students who went to Nigeria in the summer after their first year in the program and were evaluated as being early advanced speakers by Yoruba language professors in Nigeria.
What interests you about your field?
My primary field is linguistics, and the most interesting thing about the field, I think, is the focus on one of the key capacities that makes us human—language—and its form, structure, acquisition, use, preservation and evolution over time. Growing up, I was always fascinated by language use, especially living in a home with a school teacher (my mother) and an author and broadcaster (my father) who both worked in the two languages that I speak natively—Yoruba and English. It was therefore exciting when the chance came to choose linguistics as a field of study in college.

If you've ever listened to African Perspectives on WUGA 91.7 FM, then you know Dr. Ojo and what a treasure he is. Great show, great man.

UGA Apero Africana lunchtime lecture series begins today



Washington_Freed.jpgLectures begin today at 12:15 in room 481 at Tate Center


Today is a special historical anniversary.  Fifty years ago today, hundreds of thousands of civil rights activists descended on Washington D.C. to call for civil and economic rights for African Americans.

In Washington D.C. today, a special series of events will mark the occasion. A website for the events,, sheds some light on just how significant the event is at this point in time.

But right here on the UGA campus, a series of lectures kicks off with one lecture that continues a necessary dialogue on civil rights and race relations—on a global and national scale.

Known as the Apero Africana lecture series, this brown bag lunch time event is co-sponsored by the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ Institute for African American Studies and Institute for African Studies.  The series was originally a project of the African Studies Institute, but has now evolved into a larger, collaborative event that’s been going strong since 2008 thanks to series co-directors Freda Scott Giles and Akinloye Ojo.

“It is a joint effort by African American Studies and African Studies to highlight the interdisciplinary nature of our scholarship, to let the campus know that African American Studies and African Studies are for everyone, to bring new insights to topics of general interest, and to bring together people from the campus and the community to interact and discuss the issues/topics in a less formal setting,” said Giles, associate director for the Institute for African American Studies.  

“Having a dialog is vital to enhancing communication and developing in-depth understanding of issues,” she added.  “The speakers really appreciate the feedback they receive from the audience--they are talking about subjects they are passionate about, and they want to share that passion effectively.  The audience enjoys interacting with the speaker and developing ideas based on the material presented.”

The first lecture in the series this fall is “Unscripted Anxiety, Amnesia, and the Complex Duplications of Black Identity.” David Olali, from the T’fori-Atta Institute for the Study of Religion Heritage of the African World in Atlanta, is the scheduled speaker.

Here’s a list of all of the upcoming lectures in the series.  Take a look. The topics run the gamut and are likely to produce some lively discussion and dialogue.

The lecture series is also a blue card event.  Fulfill those 10 events by the October 30 deadline and get the added benefit of registering for classes early.

Image: Copyright Estate of Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos via Brigitte Freed

ASI hosts Burkina Faso ambassador Seydou Bouda


As part of its 'African Diplomat on Campus' series, the African Studies Institute presents a public lecture by HE Seydou Bouda on Tuesday, April 9 at 4 p.m. in room 480 of the Tate Student Center:

His Excellency, Ambassador Seydou Bouda has served as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Burkina Faso to the United States of America August 2011. A Development Economist, Ambassador Bouda has worked in the government of Burkina Faso in various capacities for almost 30 years. His positions have included, but are not limited to: Minister of Health, Minister of Public Service and State Reform, and Minister of Economy and Development. The Ambassador has a specific interest in economic and political development in Africa, as well as poverty reduction strategies.
Ambassador Bouda will be delivering the lecture on some of the significant development challenges facing African nations in the 21st century.

For more information, please contact Loretta Davenport at the African Studies Institute.

25th Anniversary of African Studies Institute


African continent, with colors and designs.Beginning Nov. 1, the University will mark the 25th anniversary of the African Studies Institute with a conference, theatre performances, film screenings and lectures to showcase the richness and diversity of the continent:

"The political, economic and cultural importance of Africa continues to grow, which makes this an especially opportune time for faculty, staff and students as well as community members to learn more about the continent and its people," said Akinloye Ojo, director of the UGA African Studies Institute and associate professor of comparative literature and African studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

The 25th anniversary celebration will include an international conference Nov. 8-10 in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. The conference, titled "Africa and its Diaspora: Expressions of Indigenous and Local Knowledge," will encourage and document the ongoing conversation on the paradoxical dynamics of preserving the unique identity of African indigenous and local knowledge in an increasingly globalized and westernized world. The conference will offer a forum for intensive exchanges between scholars, researchers and technocrats from various disciplines who study Africa, the African Diaspora, the U.S. and other parts of the globe.

The conference also will bring several ambassadors from African nations—including Cote D'Ivoire, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Zimbabwe—together to discuss the African continent and the African diaspora on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. in Masters Hall of the UGA Hotel and Conference Center. Renowned poet and scholar Tanure Ojaide, professor of Africana studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, will deliver the keynote address on Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

Cape Verde Lectures



The Ambassador from the island nation of Cape Verde to United States, Maria de Fatima Lima da Veiga, will be the guest of the UGA African Studies Institute on April 4 and 5 to deliver a series of lectures and meet with faculty and students. The African Studies institute would like to highlight two public lectures in particular to be given by the ambassador:

On April 4 at 5 p.m. in room 480 of the Tate Center, she’ll deliver a lecture titled “International Relations and African Diaspora: The Case of Cape Verde.”

On April 5 at 8 a.m., also in room 480 Tate, she will be the keynote speaker at the Global Education Forum and will deliver a lecture titled “Education, Sports & Development in Cape Verde.”

Dunning to present Snyder Lecture


Former UGA vice president for public service and outreach Art Dunning returns to campus in March to deliver the 20th annual Darl Snyder lecture:

Dunning, vice chancellor for international programs and outreach at the University of Alabama System, will deliver the 20th annual Darl Snyder lecture at the University of Georgia March 6 at 10 a.m. in the Mahler Auditorium of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel.

The lecture, titled "The University of Georgia and Africa: A Future with a Past," is free and open to the public.